Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What I'm Reading -- The Third Brother by Nick McDonell

Warning: I'm going to ruin the end of this book and tell you too much.
This is the second novel by McDonnell, whose first book was the great Twelve, which garnered the author comparisons to a young Hunter S. Thompson. I enjoyed Twelve, so was looking forward to this book.

The first half is great. 19-year old Mike is going to work in Hong Kong for his father's friend. Mike is quickly sent to Bangkok, where he is expected to write an article with a senior journalist about drug-taking backpackers. Mike is quickly left to do everything alone and he meets a host of great, creepy, untrustworthy and confusing characters. Mike is also supposed to find his father's and boss's other best friend who disappeared in Bangkok years ago for no apparent reason. This part of the book is absolutely facsinating and intriguing.
Then, McDonnell moves the book forward a couple of years to 9/11 in New York. Here we find that Mike's mom went psycho, killed his dad and then herself. This makes his older brother go psycho and he burns down the house with his parents in it and then creates a fictional brother that he claims burned down the house and killed his parents. All of this make Mike go crazy and he starts acting creepy around everyone, especially when his brother freaks and flings himself off of an apartment building in NY.
So, basically this book started great and then decided to be completely depressing and stinky. This is a disappointing sophomore effort by McDonell.


Jackie said...

I don't see the connection between the first half of the book and the second. Was there one, and was that part of the problem?

Vin Swanson said...

Nope, it completely jumped ahead for no apparent reason. It was weird.

Jackie said...

Hey - you should read "The Fate of the Artist" by Eddie Campbell. It comes out May 2nd. I just read a review, and I'd love to hear what you think of it. (It's a Graphic Novel - starred in PW & BL)