Oh, how I wanted to love this book. One of the earliest blurbs read, “Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.” Just look at the cover. This has the whole noir-tough-girl vibe going for it. But then, “Nem!”, it wasn’t.
Before I get into my reasons for not being ga-ga over Alison Brodie’s self-published Zenka, a lot of reviewers are liking this book like Ali – The Dragon Slayer, Being Anne …, and Hair Past a Freckle just to name a few.
It turns out Zenka is more of a peripheral character in the eponymously titled book. She does appear several times and there are even letters written by Zenka to friend Alina. The main characters are a mob boss, his accountant and a young man who may or may not be the son of the mob boss. That is the crux of the book. Zenka is nothing more than a minor character who at times moves the story along, but the book would not have missed her if she wasn’t there.
The other problem I had was not connecting with the characters whether it was the mob boss making consistently making irrational decisions regarding his “son” or his accountant’s plan of escape. The son being a wallflower was probably the most believable bit.
If this novel focused more on Zenka and her travails using the mob boss-accountant-son stories as sub-plots, it may have been much better. But I am in the minority in not loving this book and that’s okay as well.