The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell
The Perfect Brother is the perfect choice for a smart, thrilling, suspense-filled mystery!
Dr. Amar Safar, a professor of business ethics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, is engaged to be married when he helps one of his students whose car won’t start one evening after class. One thing leads to another, and he eventually begins a clandestine relationship with her. It wouldn’t look good for the young, untenured professor to be dating one of his students after all. Amar has never told Mallory about his engagement. It was a match arranged by his very traditional Indian parents, and he’d gone along with it; however, there was no chemistry between him and his fiancé. He was in love with Mallory and had been trying to break the engagement but had never found the right time to do so.
Mallory Riggins is finishing her degree on her own without support from her parents. She is sharing a cheap apartment with another student and making ends meet with a part-time job as a barista at The Daily Grind. Recently her life was the definition of the old quip, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” So when handsome “Dr. Hottie” comes to her rescue, she soon falls head over heels for him. Now she keeps getting the feeling that someone is watching her, and small items go missing only to be found in plain sight. She knows someone is messing with her; she just doesn’t know who or why. Could it be the smarmy frat boy that always tries to sit next to her during her business ethics course? Or is it the flirty guy from The Daily Grind whose girlfriend has gone missing? The girlfriend that suspiciously resembles Mallory.
When software developer, Indira Safar’s brother, Amar, is arrested for Mallory’s murder, Indira knows he’s innocent. However, the police are convinced they’ve got their man even when the evidence is all circumstantial and refuse to pursue further leads. Using the new innovative software she’s been instrumental in developing at work, Indira starts her own investigation to save her brother from life in prison for something he didn’t do.
The Perfect Brother is a page-turner extraordinaire! With a plot that has twists upon twists, I didn’t want to put this book down! The story is suspenseful from the beginning, starting with the disappearance of a young female student, and doesn’t let up until the final page.
The author has created an atmospheric setting for the story, with the chill and rain of Vancouver and much of the action occurring at night adding to the moodiness. When characters said they felt like someone was watching them, I felt it, too.
The main character, Indira Saraf, is a very strong female protagonist. She loves her family but doesn’t let her parents or her more compliant brother run her life. She refuses to go with the flow as her traditional Indian parents lean on her to marry or move home and chafes at being treated as second-rate because she’s female. I really enjoyed how she took matters into her own hands to help clear her brother’s name. And although I usually roll my eyes when amateur sleuths confront possibly dangerous suspects alone, with Indira, I almost felt like she could handle it. I liked both of the romantic interests in the story and approved of her final choice. Her bestie, Sabina, was a true ride-or-die friend.
As I mentioned, the plot had several twists and turns, most of which were shocking! There were also some good alternate suspects for Indira and her friends to weed through, making for some excellent red herrings. I didn’t guess the killer until the actual reveal. In addition, the moral and ethical dilemmas Indira faced regarding the software she was working on and then used in her investigation were thought-provoking.
With its clever plot and relatable main characters, I recommend THE PERFECT BROTHER to mystery and thriller readers, especially those who enjoy a touch of romance, fascinating and entertaining cultural aspects, or a setting in Vancouver.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.