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Crimes Against My Brother

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Howard, Evan and Ian are inseparable as boys--so much so that one night, abandoned in the forest by the careless adults around them, and raging against society and the uncaring gods others worship, they seal their undying brotherhood with a blood bond. But soon after, a horrific accident scars each of them in a different way, testing their bonds and leaving each with a deb ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Doubleday Canada (first published September 3rd 2013)
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3.59  · 
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 ·  296 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.5 stars
David Adams Richards has written some of my favourite books. The stories are set in the Miramichi region of New Brunswick. They are profoundly bleak, sad and disturbing. The characters are often beset by ill-health, alcohol, drugs and poverty; poverty not only in the economic sense, but of the soul, mind and spirit. The many characters in this book are complex and interconnected. If you wish to relax with a cheerful, light-hearted book, these gloomy events are not for you.
Sydney Hende
Apr 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Review also found at

I won a copy of this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I was thrilled as I am always looking for an opportunity to be introduced to a new (new to me) Canadian author.

I am at a loss to describe my feelings about this book. While very interesting it certainly was a depressing read. I would not recommend this story to those who are looking for an uplifting happy read as this book does not deliver this
Sarah Reicker
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Book started off promising as far as D.A.R. books go, and by that I mean we see some genteel maritime folk who are intelligent but limited in life because of the crushing poverty they are born in to. (Not promising to everyone, but to me I'm like hell yeah, gimme dat crippling debt and subsequent inner turmoil).

Unlike his other books though, I found this one was more action based than character based. It seems less thought out than his other books. I think the same big themes were there: big id
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think of myself as a Canadian, but I live in a big city and know nothing about life in a small town in rural New Brunswick - this is a window into that world. The narrator is five years older than, and a cousin to, the three main characters. The narrator was kept apart from the three cousins when he was a boy, and then he is further set apart by obtaining a university education and moving away to a big city. We look at the actions of the novel as the narrator does, from a distance.

This novel i
Ted Dettweiler
This book got a little long for me. I suppose life starts to feel long lived under the conditions described in the novel. I didn't like it as much as most of David Adams Richards books. What all of his books share in common is believable characters. Maybe what was lacking in this book was a hero, or lovable character. I kind of felt bad for all the characters in this book because of the visible effects of the crimes (sin) perpetuated against them.

If there is one thing that David Adams Richards e
Sherry Monger
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Crimes Against My Brother is a dark tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It revolves around three blood brothers living in a poverty stricken New Brunswick region. Betrayal, deception, ridicule, and gossip dominate their lives with grim consequences, as the three ruin themselves in addition to the ones they love.
The novel is filled with keen insights into human behaviour - what happens when fragile self perceptions are subject to the vagaries of fate, hard times and the maliciousness of our bas
Dec 21, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this novel, but not as much as I've liked some of his other books. Mercy Among the Children was a near-perfect tragedy. This one was harder to read, and the interplay between action and consequence, love and betrayal, that Adams Richards excels at sometimes seemed forced compared to some of his other work. That said, he always delivers a profoundly clear-sighted view of the ways in which we fool ourselves and each other, and after I put down this novel, I found that certain characters an ...more
Ian Giesbrecht
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian-lit
As always, brilliant. I understand why people say his work is dark and depressing, but having grown up in a small town on the other side of the country, I simply find it to be true. People are like this. Gossip is a destroyer and miscommunication rips small towns apart. The facts stop mattering in DAR's books, only what people think, and that's what hits home for me. Still haven't read a book of his that I didn't love, and I kind of want to see the Miramichi because the picture he paints of the ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was my first book by David Adams Richards and I have to say that I now understand what people are trying to communicate when they share their feelings and opinions on his writing. It was serious and dealt with very depressing and uncomfortable aspects/truths of human nature, but at the same time it was absolutely exquisite. I will definitely read more of his work.
D Gibson
May 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you are a David Adams Richards must read. In his typical, unique, storytelling style, he tells a story you want to hear.
Jack Beaton
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
David Adams Richards displays huge respect for the unfortunate, those on the wrong side of a society that is stacked against them. Crimes Against My Brother continues the story.
Chris Cowie
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
Another brilliant book by a Canadian author that simply doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
Melissa George
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5 stars

I both liked and hated this book in equal measure, so I can't quite give it 4 stars. First, the good: this book is a sweeping and ambitious tale of 3 friends who are more like brothers, and the harm they do one another over the course of 3 decades. Ian Preston, Evan Young and Harold Dew are young boys who grow into men in the backwaters of New Brunswick. They are men of the earth, who come from generations of men of the earth and their sole ambition in life is to live better tha
Jun 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: personal-library
This is the story of three troubled blood brothers. Evan Young, Ian Preston, and Harold Dew are actually cousins; as reckless proud teenagers they make a blood pact in which they “challenged one another to be heroic and loyal” (16). Soon, however, they find they cannot remain loyal, and grievances deepen because each is manipulated into thinking one of the others has stolen either money or love from him and so destroyed his chance at a successful and happy future. “’It is awful to be betrayed, a ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
“The snow swirled in the great sky above them, covering up all paths along the great hills. It was as white as the purest soul, and as scattering as gossip.” —David Adams Richards,
Crimes Against My Brother

The latest book by Giller-winner David Adams Richards, Crime Against My Brother, revisits the author’s vivid small-town, east coast setting with a slew of characters —some familiar and much-loved, some new and provoking. The story begins with three youths making a blood-brother pact while stran
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it
received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book through Goodreads First Read program, so I thought I would share my thoughts (which were not required as a condition of receiving the book). This book had the same warm feeling that I got from certain movies now and then, stand by me, etc. so once I started it was hard to put down. The narrator was very well written and discussed things with a childlike attitude and viewpoint. The book is all about three friends named Harold, Evan and Ian. One day ...more
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won a free copy of this book through a Goodreads' first reads giveaway.

I have given this book three stars because, while beautifully written, the story wore on me after a while. Set in a fictitious rural New Brunswick town, this novel focuses on three boys, bound together as blood brothers at a young age, and follows their lives (and the lives of those close to them) into their adulthood.

As their lives progress, the three main characters' stories drift apart and intertwine at varying points...
Karen Lowe
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 really. The characters and their intertwined lives was realistic and at times frustrating. I liked the way he portrayed the town and all the people in it. Very small town Canada.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exquisite. This book is going to stay with me for a long while I think. My love for David Adams Richards writing isn't a secret - I think he's amazing. This book though... his ability to get right to the root of what compels people to make the decisions they do in face of overwhelming reasons not to is so dead-on. I found myself nodding and shaking my head at the same time (that's hard to do!) - like yes, I totally understand why that character is acting and saying that but no! Stop it!! His cha ...more
Apr 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian-author
David Adams Richards is an accomplished author. He has won the Giller prize for a previous novel and been shortlisted numerous times for other prestigious awards. However, this story really drove me crazy about half way in. I did finish the book, but was quite agitated by the end.

The setting for this story is rural New Brunswick, Canada. The narrator is about 5 years older than, and a cousin to the 3 boys he is telling the story about. These 3 boys made a blood bond with each other at a young ag
Tim Shortt
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: my2015
The author certainly knows his world, and there is something very ambitious and admirable about that. But sometimes it is like someone telling you all at once about twenty different people he knows so well that he forgets you're still learning about them, foreshadowing the future, obsessing on the past, dropping the names of tangential characters as if they're people you've been following all along, tossing it all around with God and Fate and Coincidence. The lives are so raw here, but I struggl ...more
Mar 09, 2016 rated it liked it
A slow-paced story based around a community in times of struggle. It is told in such a way that you can almost imagine sitting in a rocker on someone's front porch listening to a local tell this story of struggle, heartache, loss, and redemption. Having said that, I expect there were many underlying things going on here that I just didn't pick up. (I never was good at analyzing stories in school.) I think this is a story where you need to be able to look deeper... Into the characters, the situat ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian-lit
The sheer skill, power, and beauty of David Adams Richards' prose powers this to three stars...because it is very rare I both admire and despair of a novel so passionately. The characters in this novel...the situations they find themselves in...are the most depressing I have ever encountered...and in comparison to previous Richards novels, that is astonishing. I found nothing redeeming in these people, and their world viscerally ugly. On top of that, I found the underlying layer of academic smug ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
When you first start reading, you realize this is a book that will require your time and patience - each word, each sentence requires your complete attention and focus. Crimes Against My Brother is a tale, narrated by a person whom is never revealed to the reader,(did I miss that?) about 3 boys bonded together as blood brothers when they are very young but suffer from years of rumour and betrayal that destroy their friendship, their reputations, and their lives. For me - after 1/3 of the way thr ...more
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Not one of my favourites by this author but does paint a vivid picture of the damage done by gossip, human foolishness, and selfishness and the propensity of people to want to tear another person down to make themselves look better. I found of more interest the part of the story about the foreign corporation that comes to Canada, takes our government's (the people's) money in loans, never paid back; given to these corporations based on the promises made to provide jobs in provinces where jobs ar ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I overall really enjoyed the book. I had a little trouble getting into it at first but I am grateful that I stuck it out because the story is very good. I found myself thinking about the charterers before bed at night. This book really got into my head and made me think. I enjoyed the challenge of the book and the themes of luck and religion really pushed my own thoughts. The only thing I struggled with was the language, I felt like with the language used was better suited for an earlier time pe ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
I received this book for free via a Goodreads giveaway.

Crimes Against My Brother was a tough book for me to get through. I found the sentence structure and overall writing style a bit offbeat to start with, then after about a half hour of reading I was into the flow of things. This book gave me a lot to think about, mainly with regards to adults and their relationships with children. The way Lonnie was seemingly able to orchestrate events through simple suggestions was quite alarming, as was the
Laura Myers
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As is the case for most of David Adams Richards' books, this book is not really a pick me up. It is a depressing story filled with depressing characters but oddly enough, I still loved it. I could picture each character and imagine them as real people. Although this is a fictional work, the author inserts himself into the story and parts of the story are real events in New Brunswick's history. I felt for these characters. I felt anger, sadness and sympathy for them. I knew nothing good was ever ...more
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Early in David Adams Richards’ latest novel, his narrator notes that his three strong, male, blue-collar rural protagonists are “smarter, more resilient and more joyful” than his middle-class, left-leaning students. He proceeds to paint a vivid picture of these men’s bleak lives, deceptions, personal and moral failings, and how they’re interwoven with the collusion of government and a multinational forestry corporation that kills their hometown.

Read my review at
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book is very sad, disturbing and brilliant. Its recounts the story of three young men who become blood brothers one night in a severe storm. Interestingly this relationship seems to be part of their spiral downward. I love the way David Adams Richards writes. His characters are interconnected in ways that make you feel that all of what happens to them is inevitable. This book is a great read and I highly recommend it. Just don't start it is you are feeling a little down. It's brilliant but ...more
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David Adams Richards (born 17 October 1950) is a Canadian novelist, essayist, screenwriter and poet.

Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, Richards left St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, one course shy of completing a B.A. Richards has been a writer-in-residence at various universities and colleges across Canada, including the University of New Brunswick.

Richards has received numerou