Family has such a strong impact in our lives. Yet there are times that rivalry among the members creates distrust and discord. Add money to the mix and occasionally that discord becomes a solid burning feeling of anger. Situations that can usually be worked through suddenly become the fuel to build an inferno.
In Counterstrike by John Grohem, we meet two brothers working to build a solid life in Phoenix, neither of them in harm’s way, yet not as close as they once were prior to their father’s death. Boyce suffers a tragedy when his wife dies in a horrible accident, and he immediately suspects his brother, Spencer’s, involvement. Suddenly the tables turn and both personal and professional rivalry turns into a deep and deadly game of betrayal and treachery. They each turn to a close family friend named Boots, who for his own reason plays both sides, further feathering the flames of hurt and discord.
As dangerous and deadly accidents begin to occur, each feels the other is the reason for disaster. Neither of them realizes the true danger of what is happening beneath the shifting terror as suddenly allegiances shift, work prospects dim, and money becomes the winning factor in place of family and home. Boots seems to have an uncanny hold and a tenuous existence, with a finger on the pulse of both lives. What does he gain when the lives of his friends are undone? Murder no long seems farfetched, but who will outwit the other?
Groh has giving us an uncomfortable mystery and sparked it with deadly intensity. His brothers are much like most families, and yet there is a deep distrust that seems impossible to dislodge. Spencer seems to be the calmer of the two brothers, but even he seems to lose touch as Boyce is unable to let go of his feeling that Spencer is not only responsible for his wife’s death, but in taking her affections as well. Yet he finds such strange and tragic connections, almost as though they are fed to him, coming at times when his mind is at its darkest moments.
Boots is a Vietnam vet with his own agenda as he plays the two brothers against each other. He too has a darkness that covers his soul, and an interest in where the family money should reside. His reasons are his own and yet as the twists and turns bring a horrifying ending his motives begin to come through.
If you enjoy mystery and thrillers you may enjoy this work. It is quick and deep, with twists and turns that make you cringe. The possibility of the brothers finding a solution to their deepening suspicion of the other holds you enthralled. Can they truly figure out the treachery beneath the strange attempts? The shocking and often dangerous scenes keep you riveted with dawning horror.
This would be a good find for a reading group; the distrust created would give the dialogue plenty of fodder, and most people have known one of two family members that act in such fashion, although in a more passive way. It is always so disturbing to see families dissolve after the death of a loved one, and such a shocking rendering of grief will create robust dialogue.