Year 4 / Book 5: Brothers in Blood

5) Brothers in Blood by Amer Anwar

This is a fast-paced thriller in which we are introduced to Zaq Khan (and later his friend Jags), who is plunged into the middle of a family feud which escalates rapidly into a tale that is darker, more violent and more complex than it first appeared. I struggled a bit at the start as plot kicks off very rapidly – we’ve barely met Zaq before he is called in to see the boss of his building site and, for fairly flimsy reasons, is given the task of tracking down said boss’ daughter. And with a list of numbers and names, we are off, by what felt like page 2 to me.

From then on, though, the book’s pace adjusted and we got to know more about Zaq, his background, what got him here – particularly as he drives round the streets of Southall (not a million miles from my own stomping ground). He’s a very endearing and engaging central character – with a (soft) heart of gold but whirling fists of steel – and you end up massively rooting for his unlikely plan to resolve things for everyone at the end.

There is also fast-paced wit to match the fast-paced action, particularly between Zaq & Jags, and between Zaq and his housemates. Their banter and pisstakes felt very real, and convincing, and lightened what otherwise could be quite a dark tale. The portrayal of different aspects of the Asian community (good and bad) also convinced, especially that sense of a close-knit community where there are multiple connections across families and businesses.

After that slightly shaky start, I rattled through at high pace and (as another reviewer has put it) fairly ‘inhaled’ the last sections as we raced towards the conclusion. If you are up for a very pacy thriller with some tense and violent action, then this could well be your next read. Recommended.

Score: 7/10

BUY IT NOW; Brothers in Blood (Zaq & Jags)

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