I love the western genre but for some reason I never explore it. If there is a film on, I will watch it gladly, if there is a short story, I devour it, but for some reason I never go out of my way to get into the genre.
The Sisters Brothers was recommended by Niall over at the Speculative Scotsman. No disrespect to Niall but I never read his reviews if I haven’t already read the book. I read his last paragraph and if he liked the book then that is good enough for me.
The book centres on Eli and Charlie Sisters. Two notorious brothers sent on a mission to assassinate Hermann Kermit Warm. It is one job in a line of many that have come before. Just another job for two men who know there business and are good at it.
From the premise I thought I could gather what was going to happen. The job wasn’t going to go as planned and it would be the fallout of this that would make up the bones of the book.
However, the Sisters brothers is so much more than that. For a start the relationship of Eli and Charlie is excellent. At times they hate each other but are still compelled to stand by each other. The story is told from Eli’s perspective which is the right choice as he is the more sympathetic of the two.
Whilst Charlie is a ruthless killer, short tempered and interested in whores and money, Eli is full of doubts, craves the love of a woman and if he can help it won’t kill. This is all portrayed expertly so that Eli is never annoying and Charlie has more depth to him than first meets the eye.
The banter between the two is witty and doesn’t come across as forced. You really get a sense that the brothers know each other inside out and would die for each other.
Like the Reapers are the Angels, the book is made up of a series of events at various locations on the journey giving the book an almost episodic feel. Each bringing something different with new colourful characters introduced. Bizarrely one relationship that stands out is Eli’s relationship with his injured horse. Their mutual loathing of each other is amusing as their loyalty is touching.
The Western setting feels authentic and well researched. Importantly though you always get the sense the plot is progressing along.
When the brothers finally catch up with Hermann they begin to question their lives and that of their employer. The mystery of just what Hermann is up to is intriguing and trying to second guess what the brothers will do adds to the enjoyment of the book.
The end is satisfying although one part of it was a little rushed for my liking. This didn’t impede my enjoyment of the book though and Patrick DeWitt is an author I will be following. My rating: 8.6