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The Man Who Killed His Brother (The Man Who #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  342 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
A wounded hero must confront his own worst enemy: himself

Mick "Brew" Axbrewder was once a great P.I. That was before he accidentally shot and killed a cop-worse, a cop who happened to be his own brother. Now he only works off and on, as muscle for his old partner, Ginny Fistoulari. It's a living. And it provides an occasional opportunity for him to dry out.

But their latest
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 16th 2002 by Forge Books (first published 1980)
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May 23, 2016 Randy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1980, after the release of the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, noted Fantasy author Stephen R Donaldson took a crack at writing Detective Fiction under the pseudonym Reed Stephens (this is the first of four in the series). The results are mixed - SRD knows how to paint compelling characters but his story stumbles oafishly through the conventions of the genre and his plot twists veer from obvious to illogical. No style points are won for the crimes perpetrated upon the young victims, howe ...more
Suzana Vuksanovic
Dec 16, 2013 Suzana Vuksanovic rated it liked it
I have long known Stephen Donaldson as the author of the Thomas Covenant sextuplet of books. That series could very firmly be placed in the genre of 'fantasy'. I'm on the last of his pentuplet of books The Gap Series, a series that has certainly opened up new dimensions to Stephen Donaldson as an author, the most basic aspect of which is the fact that he has switched genres from the fantasy of the Thomas Covenant series to The Gaps' science fiction. That has shown his versatility to me already.
Suzie Quint
Oct 23, 2011 Suzie Quint rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I prefer Donaldson's fantasies over his mysteries, but I'm tempted to read this series anyway just for the pleasure of finding the gems in his writing. Gems like the one he opens this book with:

I was sitting at the bar of the Hegira that night when Ginny came in. The barkeep, an ancient sad-eyed patriarch named Jose, had just poured me another drink, and I was having one of those rare moments any serious drunk can tell you about. A piece of real quiet. Jose's cheeks bristled because he didn't sh
Apr 17, 2011 Barry rated it liked it
My favorite fantasy-turned-sci-fi-turned-fantasy author is Stephen R. Donaldson. Years ago when I learned he wrote some hard-boiled detective novels under a pseudonym, of course I bought them. And set them on my self.

I finally read the first book in the series and it was pretty decent. This book was written in 1980. Donaldson is not as skilled at building a world of human mystery as he is at building an entirely new world out of nothing. The mystery has been done better by many an author. But I'
Don Simpson
Aug 05, 2014 Don Simpson rated it liked it
A pretty good read. A bit predictable. It drove me crazy the way the detectives and the police missed the obvious.
Mar 19, 2012 Colin rated it liked it
The Man Who series started coming out after the first Thomas Covenant books; The Man who Killed his Brother is a fun read in its own right, made more intriguing as an early example of Donaldson's willingness to tell stories a far cry from the one that made him famous. Donaldson's mystery debut had a voice with hints of Crumley or Chandler.

There are plenty of raspy-voiced, whiskey-slamming detectives in fiction, plenty of tough, yet fragile guys with scars and soft hearts. The relationships reson
Jan 25, 2011 Tim rated it it was ok
I am a Stephen R. Donaldson fan, and this is the fourth series of his work that I've read. I first read them years ago, and I had fond memories of them...enough so, that I decided to re-read them. These books don't do well on the second read. Maybe no mystery stories do, but I found the writing almost painful this time.

In this genre, the mystery is often either so inscrutable that it becomes irrelevant, or it is so obvious that the reader has to wait whole chapters for the "detectives" to catch
I've always felt that Donaldson's greatest strength as a writer lies in his characters, and this story strongly affirms that opinion. We are presented with a protagonist who is utterly broken and seems neither willing nor able to fix himself, yet finds the strength to rise to a challenge when necessary. Mick Axbrewder has seen his share of misery (most of it unintentional but of his own making), but remains an idealist at heart. He isn't necessarily a likable character (not all the time, at leas ...more
May 18, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, detective, review
There's an over used cliché that seems to adorn the covers of half the thrillers on the bookshelves today: "I turned the pages so fast I left burn marks on the paper." Or something similar. I'm not going to say anything like that but if I did I wouldn't be just supplying an off pat testimonial just for the publicists - I'd actually mean it. Ok so the plot isn't great; its got holes aplenty and skates too close to the absurd a few too many times but that doesn't matter. Donaldson/Stephens has a k ...more
Tufty McTavish
It's been years since I last read this book, and fortunately enough had faded from memory that it was liking reading it for the first time - I didn't have a clear idea on whodunnit until the grand reveal at the end.

There was stuff I was waiting to happen, having more recently read the second book in the series, but other than that this time around it seemed more easily read than I only vaguely recall now. Lots of references to being a drunk to which I have no familiarity, but an engaging enough
Rob Hermanowski
Nov 04, 2012 Rob Hermanowski rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, mystery
This is the first book of a four-book mystery series by one of my favorite authors, Stephen R. Donaldson. The book was good, but not as enjoyable for me as Donaldson's spectacular "Thomas Covenant" fantasy epic, his other high fantasy series "Mordant's Need", or his sci-fi "GAP" cycle. It does has interesting characters and is set up well at the end for the next book, so I will keep reading the series.
Oct 11, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put it down. It isn't as deep a world as the Thomas Covenant series, but it does have the similarity of a deeply damaged hero looking for redemption. I found it similar enough to enjoy, but different enough not to have it just be a rehash. I definitely will be reading the rest of the series.
Steven Murray
Jul 23, 2013 Steven Murray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather enjoyed this book. it is not a deep meaningful read that will change your world view. it is a pacy, interesting crime novel with a love story as well. The main characters fight with alcoholism is sensitively handled and feeds the plot, it is not a bolt on. Strangely uplifting given the nature of the crimes.
Karenbike Patterson
May 13, 2016 Karenbike Patterson rated it liked it
This novel starts out cliched and not well written but the plot and characters slowly build over the course of the book. A lot of the first half is about Brew trying to sober up. Finally, he and his PI partner find the man who is kidnapping and doping up a lot of 13 year old girls. Plenty of action at the end.
Feb 22, 2008 Tom rated it liked it
Your typical hard-nosed, hard drinking detective story. Donaldson is much better in his space opera series (the "Gap into... " books) and his fantasy series (the "Convenant..." books).
Aug 18, 2012 G rated it really liked it
Interest mystery. Now that I have read the first in the series that was originally written in 1980, I'll have to read the other three books.
Matt Rave
Matt Rave rated it liked it
Nov 08, 2011
Lindsey Jensen
Lindsey Jensen rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2014
Peter Bull
Peter Bull rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2016
C.S. rated it really liked it
Mar 12, 2013
Trey Hollen
Trey Hollen rated it really liked it
Oct 29, 2015
Klf Barrett
Klf Barrett rated it it was amazing
Nov 02, 2012
Paul Rivard
Paul Rivard rated it it was amazing
Feb 07, 2013
Tamara Thompson
Tamara Thompson rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2011
Jason rated it really liked it
Jul 27, 2014
Gary rated it liked it
Jun 02, 2007
Eloquinn rated it really liked it
Sep 09, 2010
Debbie Bicknase
Debbie Bicknase rated it liked it
Feb 17, 2013
Zechy rated it liked it
Sep 30, 2007
R. Anthony Steele
R. Anthony Steele rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2014
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Stephen Reeder Donaldson is an American fantasy, science fiction, and mystery novelist; in the United Kingdom he is usually called "Stephen Donaldson" (without the "R"). He has also written non-fiction under the pen name Reed Stephens.


Stephen R. Donaldson was born May 13, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, James, was a medical missionary and his mother, Ruth, a prostheti
More about Stephen R. Donaldson...

Other Books in the Series

The Man Who (4 books)
  • The Man Who Risked His Partner
  • The Man Who Tried to Get Away
  • The Man Who Fought Alone

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“I was sitting at the bar of the Hegira that night when Ginny came in. The barkeep, an ancient sad-eyed patriarch named Jose, had just poured me another drink, and I was having one of those rare moments any serious drunk can tell you about. A piece of real quiet. Jose's cheeks bristled because he didn't shave very often, and his apron was dingy because it didn't get washed very often, and his fingernails had little crescents of grime under them. The glass he poured for me wasn't all that clean. But the stuff he poured was golden-amber and beautiful, like distilled sunlight, and it made the whole place soothing as sleep—which drunks know how to value because they don't get much of it.” 4 likes
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