*REVIEW* ~ Zenka, by Alison Brodie

#blackcomedy #drama #romance

Blurb

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 charges. 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 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 mob boss you don’t want to be his son? And is Zenka really who she says she is?

My Review ~ 5 stars

Sheer brilliance – do yourself a HUGE favour and read this now! TOP READ

Zenka is a book like no other I have reviewed this year – a brilliant read and a guarenteed pick me up! One minute I was laughing out loud, the next I was cringing at the desperate straits and misunderstandings that befall the characters. Throughout it all Zenka, who acts as both the muse and the catalyst for the plot, entertains the reader with her wild and outlandish actions. The novel contains madcap and side-splitting antics galore, contrasting starkly with a host of gory and violent scenes.

The plot explores the very worst of the human condition – greed, deceit, violence and the abuse of trust, and also the very best – love , friendship , honour and loyalty. This dichotomy plays out in a deliciously devilish exposé that sweeps the reader and characters along into a vortex of black comedy and emotionally charged scenes. The novel delves into family, friendship ties and romance and  culminates in a heartfelt ending which expertly resolves the disparate plot strands.

I just loved the pairing of the mild mannered  and gentle nurse Nicholas and the fiery and unpredictable Zenka, the Hungarian pole dancer and friend of the gangster Jack. The couple are brought together, at Zenka’s insistence, when Jack, to whom she owes a huge debt, finds out that he has a son from a former lover. Zenka is determined to bring father and son together and to transform Nicholas into a man worthy of entering a life of crime.

The plot delves into what motivates us all and also poses the question of whether a leopard can change its spots – can the wimpy Nicholas become an alpha male worthy of his gangland dad and conversely can Jack renounce a life of crime for the son he never knew he had? If Zenka succeeds will she like the man Nicholas has become? Moreover how will Nicholas react when he finds out who is dad really is? And what will his response be when he learns of Zenka’s deceit when he has fallen in love with her? The result of all these shenanigans is life-changing for the main characters and those within their orbit. Indeed, The supporting cast, all of whom are beautifully portrayed, have their own trials and tribulations which are woven masterfully into the story.

Zenka, which would make an excellent film/TV drama, is a must read. It also has a seasonal flavour, making it a fantastic Christmas read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon US

Connect with the Author

Link to website: http://www.alisonbrodiebooks.com/#!the-double/c1253

https://www.facebook.com/AlisonBrodieAuthor/

 

 

*REVIEW* ~ Along Came The Rain, by Alison R. Solomon

#suspense #psychological #thriller #womensfiction #lesbian

Blurb

Wynn Larimer would be the first to admit she has a bad memory and that lately it’s been getting worse. But that doesn’t explain how she has ended up in jail, accused of kidnapping two teenage foster kids. Now she’s in the fight of her life to clear her name. Her burning question: who has framed her and why?
Wynn’s partner, Barker, is hanging by an emotional thread. Not only are the missing girls her social work clients, but to make matters worse, her beloved Wynn seems to be losing her mind. How can she ensure the girls are brought to safety while dealing with a partner who is increasingly scattered?

Wynn and Barker must race to uncover the truth before Wynn is charged with a serious crime that could imprison her for years. But what will happen to their relationship when both discover things about each other that will change their lives forever?

My Review

Twists and turns a plenty ~ 4 sand a half stars

There’s twists and turns a plenty in this page turning psychological thriller from Alison R. Solomon. It is the author’s debut novel and she has done an excellent job in creating a suspenseful read which kept me on my toes and guessing until the end.

Wynn is shocked when she is accused of kidnapping two teenage foster children. There is no question of her innocence in her own mind. However, when the police produce a series of evidence which points to her guilt, she begins to feel a net closing in on her, a net of someone else’s making. Can she prove to them and to her partner Barker that she had nothing to do with the crime? With issues round her memory loss that appear to be worsening she battles against the odds to gather evidence that the police may have overlooked as the fate of the girls hangs in the balance. Meanwhile her partner Barker, a social worker to the two girls, struggles to prove Wynn’s innocence whilst maintaining her own and Wynn’s sanity.

Barker and Wynn are a loving couple: Barker a social worker, well thought of by her colleagues and clients, and Wynn the homemaker  trying to get her jewellery making business off the ground. They have a good life together but will their relationship survive? Has Wynn been framed and if so why? In the course of their efforts to uncover the truth revelations about their respective pasts come to life and they will have to live with the consequences, that is if they can prove Wynn’s innocence and keep her out of jail.

I was gripped as Wynn struggles to clear her name whilst grappling with her own issues around memory loss. The author tackles this issue in a knowledgeable and sensitive way as she does with other issues explored in the read: dementia, memory loss, mental health, abuse and aging. The trials and tribulations of the foster system are also explored in the book and again this is done in a knowledgeable and insightful fashion.

The novel is cleverly written, with different POV and timelines and I was totally gobsmacked at how the plot unravelled. Recommended for lovers of a suspenseful read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note a copy of this nook was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15095074.Alison_R_Solomon