Brothers, Bullies and Bad Guys by N.D. Richman is an exciting adventure about two very real characters. When bad guys break into their house, kidnap their parents and try to do the same to Chris and Michael, the boys begin an adventure that takes them hiking over a mountain to a fortress island to rescue their parents. Along the way, Chris learns that his brother Michael is much more than the bully he thought he was, and by the end of the story, the boys are closer and both have grown as people. Michael in particular. This growth is one of the things I really like about this story. The journey changes these boys, as it should.
The characterisation is excellent. These are boys we can relate to easily, and their experience of the events is written in a very real way. They feel fear; they make mistakes; things go wrong and no one gets out unscathed. They even get overwhelmed and cry, just like real kids would if they were ever unfortunate enough to find themselves in such circumstances.
The plot is good, with plenty of tension and action, but not so much that we lost sight of characters, as can often happen, though there were a couple of times when I questioned the kids’ priorities. Would Chris really mow the family friends’ lawn when they had just escaped from the bad guys? Wouldn’t they wonder how their parents were and discuss what they should do first. I also wondered if they would really go to the island without thinking of a way to get off. The pacing was excellent with some calm between the life or death sequences and there was just a little touch of romance to give a different kind of tension.
The story is simply written, making it good for those still developing reading skills, and though a little rough around the edges, it has a vibrancy that is very exciting and endearing. Can your legs feel like diarrhoea? It’s certainly a different description. The author is an author to watch, and I look forward to further development in the sequel. This is undoubtedly a story teens and tweens will enjoy and I recommend it particularly for boys who may not read much. I think this is one they would really like.