The Little Brother
By Victoria Patterson
If evidence of a heinous crime committed by a sibling of yours fell into your hands, what would you do? Bury it to protect your sibling and family? Turn it over to the authorities? See that it finds its way into authorities’ hands obliquely, hoping to do the right thing and avoid the enmity of your sibling and family? And what would be the price of each of these actions, and would you be prepared to pay that price?
These are the questions arising from a teen receiving a video of his older brother leading a vicious gang rape of a girl, who, to compound the dilemma, is an acquaintance of the boy in possession of the video.
Based on a true crime that took place in 2002 in Southern California (Haidl case you can easily find online), Patterson’s novel raises all sorts of questions about family loyalty, paid-for loyalty, official corruption, and an aggressive legal system that can victimize victims, particularly in sexual assault cases.
What distinguishes this novel from others is Patterson’s focus: viewing the crime through the eyes of the perpetrators and the family that comes to their defense, particularly how the crime destroys the lives of everybody involved, family, friends, authorities, defense counsel (who is quite a piece of work, indeed), and the victim.
Well told, well paced, and provocative because it really happened. More thoughtful than most novelizations of true crime. w/c