Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Published by Tor on March 1st, 2016
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Length: 14 hours and 56 minutes
Source: Personal Copy
Sexual Content: References to trafficking and rape
A unique new urban fantasy by the author of The Six-Gun Tarot, exploring the haunted byways and truck stops of the U.S. Interstate Highway System.
In 1119 A.D., a group of nine crusaders became known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon--a militant monastic order charged with protecting pilgrims and caravans traveling on the roads to and from the Holy Land. In time, the Knights Templar would grow in power and, ultimately, be laid low. But a small offshoot of the Templars endure and have returned to the order's original mission: to defend the roads of the world and guard those who travel on them.
Theirs is a secret line of knights: truckers, bikers, taxi hacks, state troopers, bus drivers, RV gypsies--any of the folks who live and work on the asphalt arteries of America. They call themselves the Brotherhood of the Wheel.
Jimmy Aussapile is one such knight. He's driving a big rig down South when a promise to a ghostly hitchhiker sets him on a quest to find out the terrible truth behind a string of children gone missing all across the country. The road leads him to Lovina Hewitt, a skeptical Louisiana State Police investigator working the same case and, eventually, to a forgotten town that's not on any map--and to the secret behind the eerie Black-Eyed Kids said to prowl the highways.
I really struggled with what to rate BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL. In the end I decided to give it two bats because there were too many things I didn't like overpowering the great action scenes. I'll lay out what I hated and loved about BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL and give you my final feelings and let you judge from that if it is for you.
BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL starts with the most amazing first chapter I've read in a long time. I was really excited to keep reading as the second chapter came around... But there was nothing. The story completely died. Then the third chapter came and went with nothing either. Surely the fourth chapter would be good, right? No. It was still horrible. I love reading epic fantasy, 30+ hour long audiobooks that have hours of set up before the action, so I really don't mind getting things laid out. However each chapter had a different view point character that at first had no relation to each other. And these three horribly dull chapters weren't short either, there were each about 50 minutes. So two and a half hours of nothing happening with characters I didn't care about at all. By the time the fifth chapter rolled around, I was praying that we'd get back to the real main character and the interesting theme and story presented in chapter 1. Thankfully, we did, but it was a long haul to get there.
While things did pick up after the fifth chapter, BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL has the major problem of not having a main character. Jimmy Aussapile should be the main character, however there are three other major viewpoint characters that get about the same screen time as Jimmy. Then on top of that there are about three others who get a chapter or two a piece.
The thing that really killed the book for me was how vulgar it was. No, I'm not referring to the author just using swear words. I have no problem with swearing, in fact it's normally stranger when a book has no swearing. It's just the way in which they were used and how often. Just for frequency there were 206 f-words over 386 pages. More than one every other page. 158 s-words, 27 b-words, 120 h-words, 111 d-words, and finally 83 a-words. That totals to just under 2 swear words a page. Honestly, R.S. Belcher did a great job of replicating the stereotype of how often truckers and bikers swear. I've known people that swear and are as vulgar as his characters back when I was in high school and college, but I have no desire to read a book with characters who speak like that, maybe one minor character but not two major characters, plus all the bad guys.
That's a lot of bad things, but I did enjoy BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL. R.S. Belcher really knows how to write actions scenes. His battles are intense and interesting, he's probably one of the best authors at writing battle scenes. Also I loved ever time he discussed the actual Brotherhood of the Wheel. The premise and idea of the Brotherhood is amazing and what got me interested in the book! I just wished he'd focused more on the Brotherhood and less on the other "major" characters.
At the end of the day, BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL was a fun read, once you slog through the beginning. However, if I really enjoy a book I'll reread it. I know a lot of people don't like rereading books, but I've read my all time favorite series somewhere between 7 and 10 times. And because of all the issues this book had, I won't ever reread it. If there ends of being a sequel, which the author has hinted at even though it isn't official, I'll read it. But I have no desire to read BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL again.Series Titles:
- If you're looking for another book that's an amazing mix of horror and urban fantasy try Larry Corriea's Monster Hunter International.