Book Review: Zenka by Alison Brodie

Zenka_FinalAbout the Book

Ruthless, stubborn and loyal. Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a community nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp. Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds! Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked: How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son? And is Zenka really who she says she is?

Praise for Zenka:

A riveting read. Powerful. Spicy.’ -Midwest Book Review
5* ‘To say I loved this story would be a massive understatement.’ –Bloggers from Down Under
5* ‘Will warm your heart and chill your bones’ –Tome Tender BlogSpot
5* ‘Top of my list for best fiction this year.’ – Lauren Sapala, WriteCity
5* ‘You won’t be able to put this book down.’ –Laura Reading
5* ‘Brodie nails it again. Intelligent wit and outstanding writing.’ –Charlie Elliott, author of Life Unbothered

Format: eBook (299 pp.)                     Publisher:
Published: 6th November 2017         Genre: Suspense, Crime, Comedy

Pre-order/Purchase Links* ǀ ǀ
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Zenka on Goodreads

My Review

Alison Brodie knows how to write a story full of verve, humour and memorable characters and she’s done it again with Zenka.

The story, full of twists and turns, is told largely from the point of view of Nicholas, the son of Jack’s first love, and Trevor, Jack’s accountant and trusted right-hand man. I particularly liked the relationship between Jack and Trevor – a kind of prickly bro-mance. ‘Every Christmas they would have lunch at a ludicrously expensive restaurant, go back to the office and watch The Italian Job (Jack’s choice) then Zulu (Trevor’s choice) while working through a giant box of luxury chocolates.’  Picturing this had me laughing out loud – the film choices of The Italian Job and Zulu were just so perfect! It probably helps that my husband’s name is also Trevor and that he would not be disappointed to watch either of those films on Christmas Day!

Every so often, Zenka, via her hilarious letters to her friend, Alina, pops up to act as the reader’s guide to the other characters and with her own very individual take on events in the book. From her letters, we get a sense of the inner steel behind the bubbly, colourful exterior. As the lady herself says, ‘Nobody can ignore Zenka Valentina Varga if she does not vant to be ignored!’ Actually, I would have been happy to have had more Zenka in the book. I particularly liked the scenes depicting Nicholas and Zenka’s first encounters.

Alison Brodie’s trademark comic touch is evident throughout the book and there are some great one-liners: ‘Jack and Zenka were busy concocting ways to “bring out the gorilla” in Nicholas but the truth was, they’d have more success turning Noddy into The Terminator.’

Alison Brodie does a great job of bringing together all the pieces of the jigsaw at the end of the book and slotting them into place to provide a satisfyingly complete and suitably festive picture – with a few surprises thrown in. Having had just a glimpse of Alison’s writing journey for this book, I know how hard she works on refining it so it’s good as possible. Well, all her efforts have definitely paid off with Zenka. If you love a crime caper with a touch of mystery, a sprinkling of romance and a healthy dose of black humour, this is the book for you.

I received an advance reader copy courtesy of the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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In three words: Funny, crime, lively

Try something similar…Brake Failure by Alison Brodie (click here to read my review)

AlisonBrodieAbout the Author

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. She is a writer and animal rights activist. Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland). Alison is now a self-publisher.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Zenka by Alison Brodie

  1. Wow, this one sounds like it has it all. I like action-packed books and especially enjoy when the author puts a little humor in the writing and dialogue. Very clever! Thanks for sharing this one and happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the great review, and the tip about Zenka being on sale. Just picked it up for $0.99. What a steal!


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