In Bill Loehfelm’s thriller, Kevin Curran has one haunting regret: he wishes that he’d been able to save his younger brother Danny from drug addiction. Of course, a large regret such as this one affects other areas of a person’s life. While not exactly numbed, Kevin is merely getting by in life. His life as a professor in a middle-level college is boring, and he doesn’t even have a girlfriend
- although he is attracted to Kelsey, a fellow teacher.
remains unchanged, changes are happening all about him. The dean has taken an interest in Bloodroot, an abandoned children’s asylum
which Kevin’s grandfather tried to shut down. His mother is slowly succumbing to Alzhemier’s Disease.
Then Danny shows up, clean and sober. Well, okay, not so clean. Danny was always trouble. It’s no surprise to Kevin that his kid brother
is involved in something shady. Three years’ disappearance isn’t going to change a soul as troubled as Danny. But now Kevin will find out some troubling truths as well.
Just how far will he go to reunite his family and keep his brother safe?
As characters, Kevin is caring and haunted without being angsty and depressing, and Danny is a normal, easy-going, funny guy caught in a bad situation. Readers may want to give Danny a good shake, but they can’t really hate him.
That is the book’s great success. Danny the drug-addict, Danny the skeeve, Danny the mentally-tormented is also Danny the loved baby brother. The reader understands and forgives him for dragging Kevin into his messy criminal life.
Loehfelm has created a book about normal people doing abnormal things without making the characters feel ultra-evil or making the book sound precious or unbelievable. Bloodroot is a page-turner thriller with an undercurrent of family love. The narration is downright elegant at times, yet it doesn’t feel heavy. The characters and setting are dead-on perfect. Bloodroot
is a good summer read, packed with emotion without being sentimental.