Summary: The town of Gilford has a Big and Terrible secret hidden in the ground. Infecting those it touches. Exploiting their darkness. Consuming their souls. It’s hungry. It’s vile. It’s evil. And it wants out. Book Three: The Final Rule. Ellis and Jon need answers. What is there to understand? Why does it have to happen? And what reason could ever justify losing those you love? If only there was a simple answer. But the more questions they ask, the farther they must travel into the darkness and the things they see are not human, or even possible. They are, in fact, Big and Terrible.
The plague is rising in Gilford. To stop it from spreading Ellis will have to embrace his destiny and Jon will have to let him go. Both men must be willing to lose everything in order to save the innocent. It is, after all, rule number six.
Review: Book 3 in the My Brother’s Keeper series ramps up into full-blown horror with Jon and Ellis confronting the Big and Terrible (see book blurb) out in the pecan grove, complete with extreme weather and ground phenomena and other supernatural occurrences. Refreshingly, our heroes gain some allies (George the retired sheriff from the first two books becomes a strong supporting character) and form a battle plan as the plot shifts into a very familiar Christ-the-Redeemer direction with Ellis in the role of the Chosen One.
This book was a mixed experience for me. It is well-written and well-plotted with the fight between good and evil escalating throughout and the pacing remaining strong. It’s true that the romance between Jon and Ellis takes a backseat to the horror plot – it’s just not easy to create a mood of sexiness and fun when the heroes are under so much stress that they’re reduced to panicked overprotectiveness on Jon’s part and brittle snappishness from Ellis. But the story manages to evolve their relationship as Ellis attempts to prove himself and get Jon to stop coddling him.
However, the book is more horror than anything else, and the horror turns out not to be very original. Books 1 and 2 withheld much about the Big and Terrible, and now that Book 3 has laid it all out, it doesn’t look much different from other storylines I have read from Summer of Night by Dan Simmons to various books by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I know it has to be difficult to write horror and keep it original since so many plots seem to be variations on ultimate evil trying to take over. I’m not sure if most horror fans will embrace this book BECAUSE it takes them down the familiar plot twists that they already know and love, or if they will feel disappointed that there is nothing new here.
As for me, I see the early scenes in Book 1 involving Rudy with Jon and Ellis first getting to know each other to be original, interesting, and engaging.