America has always had an enduring fascination with the independent, armed man: the cowboy, the gangster, the biker. Such characters have been the subject of countless films and television shows over the years. In such entertainment, there’s very much the idea that one should live and let live, that nothing but evil can come of blocking another man’s free will in how he lives, breathes and acts. We admire those who live this way, in fiction and everyday life.

Specifically, look at how motorcycle clubs (MCs) are depicted in popular culture: brash, bold brutes with the cunning of serpents and bravado to spare.

But underneath it all is the spirit of camaraderie and brotherhood; these MCs live by the motto “I am my brother’s keeper.”

A novel about motorcycle clubs

The novel "I Am My Brother’s Keeper"(IAMBK ) by motorcycle enthusiast C.J. McShane tells the story of a veteran sniper of the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan who finds an unlikely surrogate family in the Houston, Texas based Los Patrons Motorcycle Club. The Los Patrons MC are of the one percenter variety. What or who is a one percenter you ask? It depends on who you ask: to some members of law enforcement one percenters may be outlaw biker-trash, to others, who receive gifts and financial support from them, the one percenters are heroes.

After saving one Diego Santiago, the V.P of the Los Patrons, from a death-by-beating by members of the rival Warriors MC, our hero Jake Coleman is rewarded by Diego, who offers him the opportunity to spendthe night with Diego’s "Old Lady" Carmen.

It seems Diego loves Carmen, but isn’t "in love" with her. It’s as if Diego becomes more resigned to an early death or a life behind bars as the story progresses, hence his ease in offering Carmen to Jake.

Soap Opera on wheels

The soap opera elements of the book continue as we see Diego get pinched in the aftermath of a bloody war with the Warriors, his divorce from Carmen, and Carmen’s pregnancy.

We get to see Carmen’s skills as a lawyer representing her husband as well. As the bullets fly and MC members die or get locked up, we see Jake move up the ranks of the Los Patrons MC with blinding speed. Jake gets to use his sniper skills to great effect. For much of the book, Jake’s on a roll: “Good fortune seems to follow me everywhere!” But Jake has continual run-ins with “asshole” cop Pearsall, who turns out to have a nearly unbelievable, familial secret.

Jake and his MC’s caring for and support of Antonio, a boy dying of a brain tumor, was touching.

Along the way, we meet MC members Clutch, Bullet, Shady, Hawkeye, and Whiskey, and prospects Patch and Cappie. There’s even a bad guy named Sandman. McShane should get an award for character names alone.

The violence in the novel was brief, brutal, and at times necessary, and not at all gratuitous. The Los Patrons MC lives by the motto “God Forgives, Patrons Repay”, after all. The bedroom scenes painted a mental picture of two people falling deeply in love. IAMBK offers surprises after twists and then more surprises. It’s a rewarding read that will leave you waiting for the next book.

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