Review: Between Brothers by J.M. Snyder
Irritated by another appalling, mawkish, inept "brothers-themed" M/M title that I refuse to mention by name, I read this to clear my palate and was once again struck by the fact that J.M. Snyder isn't doing strict romance anymore... and her talent is incandescent. While undeniably erotic, and romantic at times... the depth of characterization and subtle detail used to build up the family involved and the relationship at the center of the book is completely effective and moving for reasons that have nothing to do with romance and everything to do with love.
Snyder has such a feel for these damaged people and awkward family situations that incest is a perfect fit! Who knew? The only quibble is that it isn't actually romantic, just fraught with unspoken desire and trashy hookups and a tasty snapshot of these flawed folks who feel real after about 20 pages. What it isn't is a sloppy cartoon about hot brothers "getting it on," but Hoo-boy does she go there... in a visceral compelling way.
Brian is wonderful and horrible and irritating and tragic and seductive as a main character. His strange blend of anguish and self-awareness is delicious. Brother Joey is exactly the kind of steamy sex object that rings just true enough to be both hot and romantic. Their history and their futures are not cookie cutter romance products; frankly I doubt Snyder has much interest in that kind of pablum. Ironically the relationship she builds between them is compelling for exactly the reasons it should and shouldn't be. Again, read it and you'll catch my drift.
The only downside, is that for anyone who's hoping for a hot Bro-romance it isn't. Well, it is, but it isn't... you'll know what I mean when you've finished it. But it's well-written, beautifully paced, and deeply sexy. So not a slam dunk if you're wanting a specific, twisted HEA, but well worth the time. And hell, but Snyder can put words on paper and in your noggin!
Highly, highly recommended.