Cover image for Sins of the brother
Sins of the brother
Stewart, Mike, 1955-
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Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [1999]

Physical Description:
294 pages ; 24 cm
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It's six months since lawyer Tom McInnes opted out of the billable-hours marathon at his tony Mobile, Alabama, law firm. His private practice isn't exactly flourishing, but his spirits are--at least compared to how they'd fared when he was under the thumb of Higgins & Thompson's senior partners. But Tom's peaceful, if unprofitable, semiretirement is shattered by a phone call summoning him home after his younger brother, Hall, has been murdered.Tom's return to Cooper's Bend puts him too close for comfort to his bullying father, who's used to running the mill and therefore half the town. He's soon at odds with local law enforcement as well as the town toughs. And he gets involved with his dead brother's flirtatious girlfriend. No one seems quite as dedicated to finding Hall's killer as Tom is. So on his own, he arranges a meeting with the thugs' quasi-respectable, big-city boss--only to find himself disastrously set up. Tom manages to dodge arrest--barely--and delves deeper into the mystery of Hall's killing. Before long, he's connected too many dots, putting himself in even greater jeopardy.With pitch-perfect dialogue and plot twists to send the reader (as well as Tom) scrambling, Sins of the Brother marks the debut of a talented new writer.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Tom McInnes is the "smart son," the older brother who made a good life for himself as an attorney. Tom has opened a private practice in Mobile, Alabama, where he is joined by Joey, the not-so-gentle giant who acts as his investigator, and Kelly, his resourceful secretary. Tom's brother, Hall, is the black sheep of the family, a drug smuggler who ended up murdered. Their father, Sam, who owns a big chunk of their hometown of Cooper's Bend, Alabama, asks Tom to get to the bottom of Hall's death, but the path to discovery is strewn with corpses, racism, and ugly little secrets. First-novelist Stewart has developed solid senses of both place and character. Sam is cold and distant but a man of honor. Their adversary is mobster Mike Gerrard, as cold-blooded and well connected a sociopath as ever graced a country club. An impressive debut for a promising sleuth. --George Needham

Publisher's Weekly Review

Introducing Tom McInnes, an Alabama attorney who quits a high-profile Mobile law firm in favor of solo practice, this slick, intelligent debut seeks to bring some Grishamesque thrills to the mystery form. Six months after establishing his modest practice, Tom learns that his ne'er-do-well, drug-dealing younger brother, Hall, has been murdered. Tom goes to his hometown of Cooper's Bend, Ala., where his powerful father, Sam McInnes, is the local lumber-mill tycoon. There, he learns that the sheriff, an African-American war hero named Nixon, is on the take from the elder McInnesÄand may be shielding a bookie connected to "the most dangerous man in Alabama," Mike Gerrard, godfather of the statewide underworld. Tom sets out to avenge his brother's murder with the help of a hulking PI of mythic prowess known as Joey. The convoluted trail takes the two men from Alabama to New Orleans and back, as they dodge bullets and hired thugs along the way. Tom's feisty girl Friday, Kelly, is just one of several women he leers at in the novel's all too frequent and rather goofy cheesecake scenes, which are the weak links in an otherwise taut effort. The brooding presence of the Alabama River provides ample obligatory southern gothic ambiance, while the New Orleans and Alabama settings lend pungent atmosphere to a satisfyingly labyrinthine plot. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Once he hears of his younger brother's murder, narrator Tom McInnes, a hard-nosed Mobile, AL, lawyer, vows to find the culprit. Back home with his wealthy, distant parents, he learns about his brother's gambling debts, cocaine habit, "trailer-park" girlfriend, run-ins with the law, and ultimate death on the river. Tom abruptly becomes a target, too, as thieves trash his computer and attempts are made on his life. Familial conflicts, rural Southern characters, big-city lawyer tactics, and a slightly convoluted but intriguing plot round out this debut mystery by a Birmingham attorney. For all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.