Book Review: Zenka by Alison Brodie

Zenka - Alsion Brodie

I read Zenka after reading a particularly harrowing non-fiction book; after reading some heavy content, I was happy to be able to lose myself in this entertaining novel.

Book Description:

Devious, ruthless, and loyal.  Zenka is a capricious Hungarian 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, knives and shotguns. Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp. Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will make Nicholas into the sort of son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds! Nicholas is 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 mob boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

My Thoughts:

Zenka was so much fun to read! It’s described as a black comedy and that’s exactly what it is, filled with darkly comic moments, this novel isn’t to be taken too seriously but just enjoyed. The events move quickly, and you are able to lose yourself in the plot, and if you’re from the East End of London, some of the language used in this novel will instantly be understandable to you – if not, there’s a translation page at the beginning to ensure you know all you need to know before you start this novel.

Zenka is a fantastic heroine, she will have you laughing out loud throughout the book, particularly in the letters she writes to her friend in Hungary as she shares with her the many ways she has of murdering the woman responsible for her dark past. Reading this novel, it felt like Brodie knew what she wanted when she created these characters because each one has a distinct personality and it made them easily likeable, or unlikeable, and made their actions fit the image you have of them.

I don’t want to go into detail about the plot because it’ll be all the more fun for you to discover it yourself. It’s such a quirky and creative novel you can’t predictable what’s going to happen next. The events in this novel are exaggerated, so if you’re looking for something one hundred percent believable, you may be disappointed, but the fun is in the craziness that happens. This is a crime fiction novel but it’s so different to any other I have read, even the ones containing dark humour – the closest I can come to explain this novel is: think Martina Cole but remove the seriousness and add wild events and black comedy and you have Zenka.

I found this novel instantly accessible, the language was simple but used creatively to grab your interest and hold it until the very last page. I almost didn’t read this novel as I have such a huge back log of books to read, but I’m so glad I did, and I recommend you do too, particularly if you enjoy dark humour in your novels.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK

*My thanks to the author, Alison Brodie, for providing me with a digital copy of this title*
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13 thoughts on “Book Review: Zenka by Alison Brodie

  1. I’m still getting over the shock of seeing the cover! I don’t know what happened. I wanted to call the book Flesh and Blood and have the cover as a foggy street in London, preferably in a sepia tint. Instead I got orange and black! It’s Zenka messing with my head. BTW: I’ve got taste. She hasn’t)

    Liked by 1 person

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