Review: Zenka by Alison Brodie


☆☆➹⁀☆5 stars☆➹⁀☆☆


What It’s About:

Ruthless, devious, 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, 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 turn Nicholas into the 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?

Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA |Amazon AU


My Thoughts:

What could an ensemble of a London East-End mobster, a male nurse, an accountant and a hit man have in common? The answer is Zenka. Alison Brodie’s latest book is so much more story than I imagined from her {original} book synopsis. This comedy noir is at times cartoonish and at times heart warming. The character development is superb, the story premise and layout is creative, and the writing is crisp.

The title character, Zenka, is not the primary narrator, nor is the book primarily about her. She is, however, the heart of the quirky ensemble cast of characters. Zenka made me thing of Natasha from the Bullwinkle cartoon with her Eastern European accent, her penchant for firearms, and her plans for violent revenge. Zenka’s letters home to her friend, Alina, are hilarious. The letter chapters are sprinkled through the book, and they give readers her POV of the plot as it progresses. The paradox of the letters’ valedictions made me chuckle. I loved the subtlety of the change in Zenka’s valedictions through the story. It showed her growth and how her situation has changed.

The other cast members are lovably quirky. Their idiosyncrasies make them feel authentic. They are a family of sorts—a bit like the Artful Dodger’s family of misfits and thieves from the musical Oliver. Through the story, Zenka steers this little group with her crazy schemes, and she effects some significant changes in each character’s life. Along the way, the loyal-to-the-end pole dancer is coquettishly charming, wise, and ruthless. In the end, truths are revealed, relationships are found or mended, and all is well.

Zenka is an engaging and highly entertaining read filled with rich characters, raucous scenes, and a few surprising twists. Ms. Brodie has out done herself!




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Read an excerpt of Zenka



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