THEY’RE NOT BOUND BY FAMILY. BUT A FAMILY COULD TEAR THEM APART.
Southall, West London. After being released from prison, Zaq Khan is lucky to land a dead-end job at a builders’ yard. All he wants to do is keep his head down and put the past behind him.
But when Zaq is forced to search for his boss’s runaway daughter, he quickly finds himself caught up in a deadly web of deception, murder and revenge.
With time running out and pressure mounting, can he find the missing girl before it’s too late? And if he does, can he keep her – and himself – alive long enough to deal with the people who want them both dead?
This book was originally called Western Fringes and then renamed Brothers In Blood. I had made a vow not to buy any more books until the New Year but this appeared on offer so I grabbed it quick!
Originally from Southall, the main protagonist Zaq Khan, newly released from prison is working as a delivery driver in a builders’ yard.
The builders’ yard is owned by a Mr Brar, who has two sons with a bad reputation of violent thuggery, Parminder and Rajinder. They need Zaq to do a job for them. A job that is a family matter and way out of his usual working remit. He assumes he’s been chosen partly because they view him as an underling hired hand and therefore disposable and pliable and partly because of his newly acquired reputation as a bit of a street fighter who is more than capable of defending himself and holding his own. Mr Brar’s daughter Rita is missing, having left home under a bit of a cloud. Worried about her reputation and the possibility of bringing shame to the family appear to be her family’s prime concern. With his two sons looking on watching the at first unwilling Zaq, Brar senior warns him that failure to find Rita will mean that he will manufacture a reason to send Zaq back to prison, or in other words frame him for something he didn’t do.
‘You are here to do what I tell you, and I’m telling you to find my daughter.’ ‘What if I can’t?’ ‘Then you will go back to prison. We will arrange it.’
Zaq is out on probation after serving a five year sentence for manslaughter because a man with an undiagnosed aneurysm in his brain had died during a fight when Zaq had hit him. In the prison gym he learns mixed martial arts and still trains to keep up his skills.
Zaq enlists the help of his oldest and closest friend from Southall, Jag who is an IT expert working from home. They’ve known each other from primary school. Despite their different faiths and cultures, Zaq is from a Pakistan Muslim background and Jag is a Sikh with Indian roots, they are closer than many brothers. I loved the continuous humorous banter that went on between the two of them. Banter that could only happen between two friends who know each other inside out and are completely comfortable in each other’s company.
Jag is eager to help his good friend find Rita and stay out of prison and they set out to track her down. Rita is just as eager to remain wherever she has escaped to and doesn’t want to be found, enlisting the support of loyal friends.
Zaq’s prime and only concern at first is finding Rita and taking her back to her family and although his past circumstances have soured his outlook on life, his innate decency and street fighter intuition tells him that the story he has been given by Rita’s family is a concoction, not the correct one and despite his wish to remain a free man he eventually finds himself wanting to protect her from her violent brothers and apparently uncaring parents.
Zaq’s only transport is his battered old slow delivery van the Brar’s let him use but it helps him to blend in although his usage of it did make me laugh at times!
Someone, or more than one person is stalking Zaq though and he is attacked and beaten up more than once and only his fighting skills save him from permanent injury. His face starts to look like a bruised punchball with more and more bruises on top of other bruises but he lives in a house full of friends of various faiths who patch him up and feed him the most delicious sounding meals that my mouth was watering just reading about them.
The story progresses, things get stickier and very very tense. The Brar brothers become ever more violent in their search to find Rita for their own purposes and has one of the most satisfyingly brilliant parts of a book that I just can’t write about without giving away massive spoilers.
I raced through this action packed thriller, desperate to know what happened next. I inhaled it and loved it.
I can’t wait to read more from this author and more from Zaq and Jags.
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