When Kyle Gordon hears that his mother is terminally ill he makes the journey back to his hometown for the first time in nearly two decades, only…home isn’t what it used to be. Kyle is shocked by the dilapidation that has befallen his town.
For nineteen years Kyle vowed to protect the people of his country, serving in the armed forces. On returning home he realises that there were those needing protection right on his own doorstep and it was from no foreign enemy but that of his own flesh and blood. For decades his own father, Frank Gordon, ran the small farming town through fear and crime. Now, the throne has been passed to Kyle’s younger brother, Graham, a man with no moral code.
Kyle had enlisted in the army to distance himself from his father’s chosen profession, and he’d not returned until now to keep his own young family from harm’s way. Through returning to support his ailing mother Kyle’s fears become reality—the lifelong feud between brothers is reignited and a dangerous bond is formed between his teenage daughter and her grandfather, Frank.
Praise for RIVAL SONS:
“A really strong story with great characters. Brilliant stuff. Aidan Thorn is at the forefront of the new wave of British noir.” —Chris Black, Senior Editor at Fahrenheit 13
Short, tough, tender and an ending that deliver a real kick.
Aidan Thorn serves up a family feud ramped up to the nth degree. Ex-army man Kyle reluctantly returns home with his wife Emma and daughter Zoe to help nurse his mother through the last days of her terminal illness. Kyle has been away for 20 years, give or take and his mother has never met his family. His mother was never the problem.
Father Frank and little brother Graham were the forces that drove him away. Frank's better days are behind him. He's now retired from the criminal activities that gave him his reputation and his wage. Graham runs the show, though judging by the state of the town and the evidence of its decline in Kyle's absence, he's not exactly making a great job of it.
Any chance of letting bygones be bygones? Nope. Frank and Kyle agree to tolerate each other and hold the peace for the sake of Kyle's mum.
Kyle and Graham are a different story. An initial meeting by chance in a pub. Boom, bash, wallop. Graham has even more reason to resent Kyle. Embarrassment, bruises and wounded pride, allied with a seething hatred make for a powerful combination. If Graham can't get back at his brother directly then he'll hit him where it hurts most - through his daughter, Zoe.
Interesting dynamics, forceful relationships both positive and destructive on display. Factor in grief and loss to the mix and its a heady brew. There's tension between Kyle, Emma and their daughter. She's resentful of her parents and her enforced stay in this crappy town in the arse end of nowhere. Cultivating a relationship with Frank is sure to wind her dad up. Frank, somewhat too late realises the damage he has caused Kyle and it's going to cost him any chance of an ongoing connection to Emma and Zoe once his wife has passed and the funeral is out of the way. Kyle has made that clear in no uncertain terms. An accommodation has been made and the grown ups know where they stand.
It's the sibling rivalry you need to watch out for. Graham's plan for Zoe, ensnares another innocent, barman Ryan. A forced, manipulated relationship at the outset, blossoms and turns into something more. Zoe's in love - the calm before the storm.It's more than hearts that are going to get broken before we're done.
Pace, action, character, a decent setting - a small Scottish town - close to Glasgow - on it's downers and a riveting tale of a fractured family.
Looking forward to whatever Aidan Thorn does next.
4.5 from 5
Previously enjoyed by this author - Criminal Thoughts and When the Music's Over.
Read in January, 2019
Published - 2018
Page count - 152
Source - purchased copy at Smashwords, though a welcome signed paperback rocked up from the author
Format - paperback