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The Dead Man?s Brother
Roger Zelazny
Hard Case Crime 2009
258 pages paperback

Six-time Hugo Award winner and legendary science-fiction writer Roger Zelazny penned one thriller, The Dead Man’s Brother. The manuscript was recently found in his archives and has just been released by Hard Case Crime. The Dead Man’s Brother is an interesting read that will certainly please Zelazny fans and entertain the casual mystery / thriller fan. It would also make an interesting movie.

Zelazny’s The Dead Man’s Brother is not a case of the estate trying to suck every possible dime out of a man’s literary inheritance. It is a pretty decent if somewhat convoluted thriller. Had Zelazny gone back to it, assuming he hadn’t, my guess he would have tightened the tale a bit.

Ovid Wiley is a mildly successful art gallery owner with a shady past as an art thief. One night, he discovers the body of an old friend on the floor of his gallery, is accused of the murder, and told he can make the accusation go away in exchange for a little favor for the CIA. The favor is to find a Vatican priest and accountant who stole three million dollars from the Holy See.This involves a lot of investigating and travelling on Ovid’s part, a few shoot-em-up and escaping the baddies moments, an interesting and hot female companion, many shady characters who are shadier than most, a lot of adventures, and, this being Zelazny, some interest in alternate societies.

Zelazny throws in a tertiary bit about Ovid being a very lucky man and some kind of CIA project into the nature of luck. This is not an element readers of The Dead Man’s Brother should pay much attention to. All lead characters in thriller and mystery novels are unbelievably lucky and the author is not using this bit as a crutch to explain things away.This is a fun book to read.

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