Review: The Brotherhood by Y. A. Erskine


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Random House Australia, 2011. Kindle edition. 578 KB. ASIN: B005CMEKC0.

During a burglary in progress John White, a sergeant in the Tasmania Police Service, is stabbed by one of the thieves and dies. What seems an open and shut case soon becomes convoluted given the identity of the main suspect. Through independent chapters in snapshots mode, each one follows a different character directly involved in this tragic event. And thus, colleagues, friends, family, enemies and even the suspect himself, will offer us their own story.

I’ve always found original and attractive the narrative technique used to shape this tale. I love to hear different versions and perspectives of the same story. Therefore I have truly enjoyed reading this book. The characters are beautifully drawn and the story revolves around such interesting topics as loyalty, corruption, betrayal and prejudices that it’s well worth reading it. Highly recommended.

Yvette Erskine spent eleven years in the Tasmania Police Service. She was active in front-line policing and served as a detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch, CIB. She is also an historian with an honours degree in Early Modern History. The Brotherhood (2011), is her debut novel, and has just published The Betrayal (2012), her second novel. 

My rating: 4/5.

I’ll count this book for my participation in the 2012 Global Reading Challenge (Australasia / Oceania).

The Brotherhood has been reviewed by Bernadette at Fair Dinkum Crime, Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, Maxine at Petrona, Sarah at Crimepieces, among others.

Random House Books Australia

Y. A. Erskine

First Tuesday interview with Y A Erskine


La hermandad de Y. A. Erskine

Durante un robo en curso, John White, un sargento del Servicio de Policía de Tasmania, es apuñalado por uno de los ladrones y muere. Lo que parece un caso sencillo pronto se convierte en complicado dada la identidad del principal sospechoso. A través de capítulos independientes, a modo de instantáneas, cada uno sigue a un personaje diferente directamente involucrado en este trágico suceso. Y así, compañeros, amigos, familiares, enemigos y hasta el mismo sospechoso, nos ofrecen su propia versión de los hechos. 

Siempre me ha parecido original y atractiva la técnica narrativa utilizada para dar forma a este relato. Me encanta escuchar diferentes versiones y perspectivas de la misma historia. Por lo tanto, realmente he disfrutado de la lectura de este libro. Los personajes están muy bien dibujados y la historia gira en torno a temas tan interesantes como la lealtad, la corrupción, la traición y los prejuicios que vale la pena leerlo. Altamente recomendado.

Yvette Erskine pasó once años en el Servicio de Policía de Tasmania. Desempeñó un papel policial activo como detective en la Rama de Investigación Criminal, CIB. Es también historiadora, licenciada en los primeros años de la Historia Moderna. La Hermandad (2011) es su primera novela y acaba de publicar La Traición (2012), su segunda novela.

Mi calificación: 4/5

17 thoughts on “Review: The Brotherhood by Y. A. Erskine

  1. José Ignacio – I too found this a powerful character study as well as a fascinating look at different perspectives on the same crime. There are so many themes in the novel too that Erskine weaves through the story. I’m glad you recommend this novel; I do too.

  2. I agree that this book is an excellent debut – I don’t know if Australian books are eligible for the new blood dagger but if so this one should have been on the shortlist for the relevant year, I think. Your review reminds me of how much I liked the book.

  3. This book presents a dilemma for me: The writing and characterization are excellent. Yet, I did not like one character and was uncomfortable throughout my reading of it. I kept waiting for one, just one alternative voice of someone to combat the hostility and bigotry and have some understanding and human kindness. Yet I found no one to answer this description.
    This is something that excellent Australian writer, Angela Savage, raised in her radio discussion of The Betrayal, Yvette Erskine’s second book. I couldn’t put my finger on what was lacking to me, but Angela Savage said it.
    I find it hard to read unrelenting hostility and negativity and prejudices without one redeeming character or redeeming voice.
    I’m sure that what the writer portrayed here is realistic, but I found it relentless and disheartening; there was no hope anywhere.

  4. I think your 4/5 rating hits the spot Jose. It’s interesting what Kathy D says about the unrelenting bleakness although I didn’t particularly notice it at the time. I did find that I preferred some of the narrative voices over the others. But I thought the characterisation very strong and can remember some of them now very clearly.

  5. I think what an esteemed blogger has said is true: We don’t all read the same book. Also, we don’t all have the same taste or likes and dislikes in our reading. I think the author is very talented and I want to read The Betrayal, her second book.
    But, as I said, I find it difficult to read a book with bitterness and no hope.

  6. I’m glad you liked this one Jose Ingacio. I think the structure is great – like you I enjoy seeing the same events from multiple perspectives – it reminds you how often the “truth” is not an absolutely black and white thing. I have the author’s second book here but my reading has slowed down so much this year I’ve no idea when I’ll get to it.

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Y. A. Erskine’s novel The Brotherhood. It was a book that I found hard to put down. A brilliantly written and authentic story written from the author’s personal experience. I have also read her second novel The Betrayal. I enjoyed this book even more. A powerful, brilliant novel! Once again an extremely realistic story based on the author’s personal experience.

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