31 May 2014

The First Three Rules by Adrienne Wilder

 This is book one of three. All books are full-length novels and must be read in order. All books are available now.

The My Brother's Keeper Trilogy

The town of Gilford has a Big and Terrible secret hidden in the ground.
Infecting those it touches.
Exploiting their darkness.
Consuming their souls.
It’s hungry. It’s vile. It’s evil.
And it wants out.

Book One: The First Three Rules

Marshal Jon Foster lost his purpose and his sanity the day he saw the image of his dead brother. The distraction saved Jon’s life but cost the lives of innocent people including his best friend and partner. It was a price for survival Jon couldn’t live with and was sure he’d never understand.
Driven by grief and guilt he tried to escape his past by fleeing to a small town in the middle of nowhere. Only instead of peace, the memories festered.
Then the offer of a stick of gum from a stranger changes Jon’s life and puts him on a road out of the nightmare he’s trapped in.

Ellis Harper has lived the past twenty years isolated from the outside world and sole caretaker for his mentally disabled brother, Rudy. While Ellis loves his brother, he longs for a life he’ll never be able to have.
Shut away, his days consist of chores, endless cartoons, and games of Go Fish. A world that seemed to have no end until an innocent misunderstanding turns Ellis and his brother into a target for a town bully.
It’s a fight Ellis can never win on his own but thanks to a chance meeting with a stranger, he doesn’t have to.

What begins as a new journey in love for both men quickly unfolds into something neither of them could have ever imagined.

I am fortunate that in my career, I get to work with children and adults with Developmental Disabilities. When I read the blurb for The First Three Rules, I was interested to see how the author was going to portray Rudy but I wasn’t ready to commit to reading and reviewing it based on the blurb alone. Fortunately, the book was available on Amazon so I downloaded the sample, read it, and knew I HAD to read this book. Rudy’s character is introduced within the first few pages and I immediately connected to him. It was clear to me that the author is well acquainted with someone (or several someones) who has a mental disability and presented Rudy as what he is, a human being with feelings who just sees the world a bit differently. The way in which Ms. Wilder portrayed several peoples’ judgmental reactions toward Rudy further supports this. Just her presentation of Rudy is worth a 5-star rating in my opinion, but she doesn’t stop there.

There are so many elements within this novel that make it ripe for the story to go wrong and the reader led astray: Rudy has a disability, Ellis and Jon are homosexual, Jon is suicidal and suffering from PTSD, and Jon sees his dead brother’s ghost in potentially fatal situations (there is another element, but it is borderline spoilerish, so it’s not included in the list). However, Ms. Wilder has managed to combine all of these elements to an amazing book. I absolutely love the relationship that is developing between Ellis and Jon. These are two men who are so in need of love that neither can believe their fortune in finding the other. They fulfill one another’s emotional needs so beautifully. As for their physical needs, Ellis is a virgin because he has been Rudy’s sole caretaker since the age of twelve. This leads to some really hot foreplay scenes and smoldering sex scenes once Jon feels that Ellis is comfortable with them being intimate (and not just going along with it because he wants to make Jon happy).

This is the first book in the trilogy and I am so irritated that I have other books I have to read right now because all I want to do is grab books two and three to see how the story unfolds. I need to know what happens when Jon gets out of the hospital (oh yeah, you gotta read it now). I want to know why Jon keeps seeing his brother’s ghost. I cannot wait to find out how it is that Rudy can always find what he is looking for (I have my suspicions). And I absolutely MUST see how the relationship between Jon and Ellis continues to develop. Ms. Wilder has hooked me big time with this series and I will be finding out what the rest of the rules are as soon as possible.
Georgia bred and born, Adrienne Wilder spent most of her childhood exploring fantastical worlds hidden in her own back yard among tall grass, and shadowed kudzu tunnels. When she was not dragon hunting, she spent most of her time, reading, writing, drawing, and digging holes.

Currently Adrienne lives in Dahlonega, GA where she shares her home with a variety of dogs and one cat. She still spends most of her time, reading, writing, drawing, and digging holes. Although now she calls the reading "research," the drawing "artwork", the writing "books," and the holes "ponds" and "gardens".
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