#BookReview: Brother’s Keeper by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3

Hi everyone. Today, I have a book review for an author I’ve known and loved for a long time, Jan Sikes, with her short story, Brother’s Keeper. Jan always comes up with some wonderful story premises that truly put her characters through the tough stuff >>>

About the Book:

Brother's Keeper by Jan Sikes book cover ... prison barbed wire and gun with blood dropping out of endQuentin Marks’ mother can only love one son, and from the day Rowdy was born, she makes Quentin, his little brother’s keeper.

She demands that Quentin fix every problem for Rowdy and that he also protect him. The truth is, after a deadly snakebite, Quentin owes his very life to his little brother, a debt that will never be paid in full. Only now a man is dead, and once again, their mother calls on Quentin to make the problem go away and save Rowdy from prison.

When is enough enough, and how much of his own life will Quentin Marks have to sacrifice?



My Review:

Four Stars

‘Quentin Marks covered the length of the eight-by-ten jail cell stopping now and then to punch the concrete walls that held him.’ From this opening line, we are taken back a short way to how and why Quentin ended up in the jail.

Brother’s keeper is a quick and easy read, and I really felt for the older brother. Although, I did get annoyed at him for always putting his brother first no matter what. I won’t say more on what happens as I don’t want to put in spoilers.

Some technical issues let down the narrative, such as overly descriptive dialogue tags: ‘Rowdy whined.’ and ‘Quentin snarled.’ etc. Also, split infnitives snuck in there in a few places. Otherwise, the characterisations were done well enough to engage me and make me care.

The ending could have brought more fizz and resolved more regarding the main character’s dilemna, and on the whole, it left a bitter taste.

In summary, an enjoyable and fast read, which with a bit of polishing would get a solid 4 stars. As it stands, I give it a rating of 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 for rating purposes) because it falls somewhere between ‘an okay reaad’ and a ‘go read this book’. See my notes on ratings below.



NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/


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Mae Clair

I read Jan’s book and thoroughly enjoyed it.


Sorry, I wasn’t done with my comment. I wanted to say, I think we all are constantly growing and learning as authors with every release

Sarah Stuart

Mae, I agree with you. There’d be something wrong if we weren’t!
How do you, and Harmony, feel about an article I read earlier that recommended re-releasing dated books after editing them? Part of it was researching any changes in places, fashion, or the law.

Staci Troilo

Because I’m an editor, I try not to let technical issues I see cloud my opinions of books. (It’s impossible for me to turn off my inner editor, and every book has something that slips through. Unless I can’t read the book because the errors are too distracting, I try to focus only on the content.) But I know that’s part of the quality of a book, and I appreciate you including that in your review. All that said, I haven’t yet read this one of Jan’s, but it sounds interesting. Family dramas are always compelling. Thanks for sharing your… Read more »

Jan Sikes

Thank you for your comment, Staci. I am not an editor. Nor do I wish to be. 🙂 But, like you, if I read a book with too many errors to ignore, I put it down and move on.

Joan Hall

I read and enjoyed My Brother’s Keeper last summer. Thanks for sharing your review, Harmony.

Jan Sikes

Thank you, Joan!

Sarah Stuart

I read this one last August, Harmony, and gave it five stars. I could see where Jan was coming from with it, so I stand by that. 🙂

Sarah Stuart

As authors, none of us can please everybody.
We started off as “worst enemies” because you rated my first book 4 star and criticised it in detail. You were absolutely right. I did a lot of work on it before I submitted it for an award; if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t have got one. 🙂

Jan Sikes

Sarah, Harmony has a great eye for critical details in a story. It was because of her review of “Flowers and Stone” that I pulled it down and re-edited it. Is it perfect now? No, but it’s definitely much better. So, thank you, Harmony, for always keeping it real!!

Jan Sikes

Thank you so much, Sarah! I am glad you enjoyed the story!

D.L. Finn

I enjoyed your detailed review, Harmony. I read this and felt for the brother.

Jan Sikes

Thank you for stopping by, Denise. I wanted to raise sympathy for Quentin. He’d been handed a raw deal all the way around.

Jan Sikes

Thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts on this short story, Harmony! I appreciate your comments!

Jan Sikes

Never be, Harmony! I learn from constructive reviews! Thank you for your honesty. Hugs!

Yvette M Calleiro

Thanks for sharing your review, Harmony! I like how you include your breakdown of the stars. 🙂

Jan Sikes

Thank you for stopping by, Yvette. I agree about the breakdown of the star ratings from Harmony!

Priscilla Bettis

Oh goodness, Quentin’s mother has issues! Good review, sounds like a fun if not perfect read.

Jan Sikes

Hi, Priscilla. Yes, Quentin’s mother definitely has issues! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Gwen M Plano

Thank you for sharing your thoughtful review, Harmony. I’ve not read Brother’s Keeper yet, but you’ve piqued my interest. Congratulations, Jan! 🙂

Jan Sikes

Thank you for your comment, Gwen. I hope you enjoy “Brother’s Keeper” when you read it!

John Howell

Thanks for sharing your review, Harmony.