Review: “Brother” by Ania Ahlborn

Brother_9781476783734_80da8Brother isn’t a book for the faint of heart. I felt completely lost most of the time, yet unable to turn away. I wanted… no, needed to know the end.

The Morrows live just outside of Dahlia, West Virginia on their farmhouse with next to no neighbors around. They are poor and the children have no education whatsoever. Momma and Wade have three kids, well four if we’re counting the eldest who no longer lives with them. Ray, or Rebel as he likes to call himself, is the oldest of the children at home, followed by Misty Dawn and Michael. We find out early in the book that Michael was “adopted.”

Let me stop for a minute and tell you that the Morrows are crazy. Not “adventurous” crazy, but actually certifiable. Michael’s adoption was actually Ray and Wade picking him up off the side of the road because Ray wanted a new pet. Then there’s Momma who likes girls. She likes to bring them home, torture and kill them. As Ray and Michael get older, they are forced to become accomplices to these murders. Ray by choice and Michael by manipulation.

It was unclear to me for most of the book the motivation of these killings. Was Momma just sick and the rest of the family forced to deal with it? Apparently she had a rough childhood filled with rape and molestation which starts to explain why every girl she kills looks the same… the same as she did growing up. But to me that still didn’t make sense. Michael’s job in the killing process was disposing of the body, but we do not discover this until more than halfway through the book. It’s at this point we find out motive. The Morrows are poor. If they can pick up stray girls without family to miss them out in the boonies, Momma gets her fix and the family gets their protein for dinner. Cannibalism.

I rooted for Michael when he finally began to get out of the family. I was hoping that the girl he met in town would take him away like he wanted. They could be happy together and Michael’s life would be easier. But do all books have happy endings?

Brother by Ania Ahlborn (Gallery Books | 9781476783734 | September 29, 2015)