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The Dead Man's Brother (Hard Case Crime…

The Dead Man's Brother (Hard Case Crime Novels) (original: 2009; edição: 2011)

de Roger Zelazny (Autor)

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A former art smuggler is enlisted by the CIA to track down a priest who has stolen millions from the Vatican. The search leads to the deadly depths of the Brazilian jungle.
Título:The Dead Man's Brother (Hard Case Crime Novels)
Autores:Roger Zelazny (Autor)
Informação:Hard Case Crime (2011), 256 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:to-read, crime-detective

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The Dead Man's Brother de Roger Zelazny (2009)



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"Dead Man's Brother" was an unfinished mansuscript, perhaps written in 1971, and never published until after Zelazny's passing. Although it has a few hardboiled elements (particularly in the first chapter), the book is primarily a spy thriller that takes the protagonist Ovid through three continents as an unwilling agent of the CIA. In that respect, it is fairly typical of sixties or seventies paperbacks, many of which jumped on the spy v. spy bandwagon made popular by Ian Fleming.

The story begins with a very hardboiled feel. Ovid wakes with an awful hangover only to find his former partner in art thievery dead in his house. How his former partner, who Ovid hasn't seen in years, got there, he hasn't a clue and how he died or why, he hasn't a clue either. The book opens with the line: "I decide to let him lie there, since he was not likely to bother anyone, and I went to the kitchen and made coffee." And, indeed, since very few people knew when Ovid's alarm goes off, he "figured he could be allowed to get a bit stiffer." After getting rid of the hippie-types who lived in the back house, Ovid calls the police, who, of course, put him through days of grueling interrogation before releasing him to the custody of the CIA, who purportedly will fix things if Ovid, who speaks three languages and has the genome for luck, will investigate millions of dollars that have been embezzled from the Vatican by a rogue priest and spirited off to Brazil.

Keeping in mind that this was merely a rough, unfinished manuscript that Zelazny never saw fit to publish in his lifetime, it was an okay read. There were a few parts like the beginning sequence that shined, but overall it was an effort to slog through it and a true disappoint as compared to my expectations for this work. It has produced some rather mixed reactions among other reviewers. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
Being a bit of a Zelazny fan, I was pretty intrigued by the idea of this book. Zelazny is known for his science fiction and fantasy but here he ventures into the realm of pulp crime fiction.

According to the Afterword, this was an unpublished manuscript found lying around an office. Well, there might be a reason for that—I don't think it's one of his best. It felt like it needed a good editor to come along and say, "Take these parts out; they drag a bit," and "Punch up the character's motivations; they don't make a lot of sense."

It wasn't a disaster but it didn't have that certain something that makes some of his other works memorable. In other words, I'll probably forget almost everything about it other than the fact that Zelazny wrote at least one story in this genre. ( )
  TadAD | Feb 23, 2011 |
“You’ve got to read this!” is the most common phrase in any conversation of which I am a part. Frequently recommended to me are books of which I’m unaware or titles that wouldn’t usually interest me. I tend to read a lot in the SF, mystery, horror and contemporary lit genres, so it always surprises and occasionally delights me when someone tells me I have to read, say, a regency romance. I’ve made it a mission to read some of these recommended books.

Thomas suggested The Dead Man’s Brother, a “trunk” novel by the late Roger Zelazny. Zelazny wrote in several genres but is best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels and short stories, most notably Lord of Light and the ten-volume “The Chronicles of Amber”. The Dead Man’s Brother is a novel of international intrigue. It’s a spy novel very much in the late ‘60s mold, the era in which it was likely written.

Ovid Wiley, the wonderfully named hero of the book, is a well-educated (this is a Zelazny story), reformed art thief. When his former partner-in-crime shows up dead on the floor of his NYC gallery, the CIA uses his apparent guilt to force Ovid into an investigation into missing Vatican funds. The investigation draws him back into the criminal circles he’d left behind and into the arms of Maria Borsini, his former partner’s beautiful girlfriend.

According to Zelazny’s son Trent, who penned the afterword, this book was written in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s. My only criticism of The Dead Man’s Brother is that as a trunk novel by a dead author, he isn’t around to help edit and the editors apparently didn’t want to alter the manuscript. It compares favorably to other such books of the time, so if you enjoy Lawrence Block, Donald Hamilton or Richard Prather you’ll like this. - Scott ( )
1 vote handeebks | Jul 14, 2010 |
Honestly, I'm not sure about this one.

I picked it up on a whim; an unpublished Zelazny book - and a spy thriller to boot! - it seemed to good to pass up, for sheer uniqueness if nothing else.

The plot follows the protagonist, Ovid Wiley - an ex art thief turned gallery owner - as he is strong-amed by the CIA to look into possible case of swindle in the Vatican fiscal offices. I won't go into detail of it here, not as much to avoid spoilers, but instead simply because I didn't care for it that much.

The story is complicated in that way that spy stories often are, but in a vague, noncommittal sort of way that doesn't really get your heart pumping. There's no sense of a web of deceit, or secrets, or anything, really There's just a lot of blanks that are gradually filled in, with few twists and no real surprises. It's rather oddly paced, and you get no real sense of urgency or danger, even when the character's are supposed to fear for their lives.

The protagonist is also a bit odd, since he, most of the time, does what he does for very vague reasons, and at times makes very little sense.

Stylistically it's a mixed bag, but mostly good. the narrative is highly subjective to the protagonist, and some of his internal monologue rants are rather nicely done. Other parts, however, is a bit more lacklustre: milieus are reasonably well described, but rather coldly so, and characters are most of the time also rather vague.

I might make the book seem a bit worse that it is; it's actually a fairly decent read, but it's mainly unremarkable. I wouldn't have picked it up if it wasn't for the name on the cover, and that'll probably be the reason I'll remember it in a few years, if I do. It's a curio, and a funny thing to have read, but not much of a story on it's own. ( )
2 vote Jannes | Oct 21, 2009 |
I'm a real fan of Zelazny & to read a new book by him 14 years after his death is just fantastic. My hopes were set very high & I hoped they wouldn't be dashed as they have been with other books of his finished by or written with others. They weren't. This is pure Zelazny.

As his son, Trent, notes in the afterword, their best guess as to the date this was written is in the early 70's, about the time "My Name is Legion" & "Today We Choose Faces" was written. "Doorways in the Sand" was published in 1976. All of these books are mystery thrillers with SF elements. So a pure mystery thriller from him is a delight, but no huge surprise.

I was quickly captured by the book, re-reading the first chapter (sample chapter online at http://hardcasecrime.com/books_bios.cgi?title=The Dead Man's Brother ). It opens with a thrilling mystery & just gets better all the time.

The style is definitely Zelazny's. Many off hand references to the classics, art & there are several places where if you can't translate Latin, you'll want to or you'll lose a bit of the story. You don't have to know classical art to get the story, but if you have a reference handy, it does add to the story. Luckily, my wife has 2 degrees in art, so we have several good references.

The wrap-up was a bit of a disappointment. The plot was more complicated than is normal for him which made sorting it all out at the end a little rushed & confused. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't the simple, elegant finish of his that I've come to expect. The very end is quite chilling & - IMO - perfect!

I highly recommend this to any Zelazny fan. My copy arrived from Amazon in the mail yesterday & I read the entire book last night, so it's a fairly quick read (260 pages). I really hated to put it down for dinner! ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Sep 25, 2009 |
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A former art smuggler is enlisted by the CIA to track down a priest who has stolen millions from the Vatican. The search leads to the deadly depths of the Brazilian jungle.

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