Brothers in Blood – Amer Anwar

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A Sikh girl on the run. A Muslim ex-con who has to find her. A whole heap of trouble. 

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?

I was at a virtual book event earlier this week (the fantastic London Calling – featuring Amer Anwar along with Rod Reynolds and Joy Kluver). Amer was there to talk about his new book, Stone Cold Trouble. I suddenly realised that whilst I’d been following Amer on twitter for ages, I hadn’t read his first book, Brothers In Blood.

That was quickly rectified, and immediately after the event I sat down to read.

Brothers in Blood won the CWA Debut Dagger a couple of years ago, and it’s easy to see why. This is a brilliant crime thriller, and I rattled through it over the course of that evening and the next, grabbing every spare few minutes to read another chapter.

Former prisoner Zaq Khan is working in a builders’ yard in Southall in London when his boss gives him a job. His daughter Rita has gone missing, and Zaq is given the task of tracking her down, or face prison once more. It’s a seemingly impossible task – all he’s got to go on is a photo and a list of names. And her brothers who seem almost more desperate to get her back than her father does.

I love a good crime book, and Brothers In Blood is a cut above. What really lifts it is the dynamic between Zaq and his mate Jags – these two just bounce off the page with their easy friendship, not afraid to take the piss out of each other for any and everything. It’s this lightness sprinkled through the book that gives a sharp contrast to the dark underbelly of the story, and boy does it get pretty gruesome in places.

As regular readers of this blog know, I really like a book with a great sense of place, and Brothers In Blood definitely has that as we follow Zaq and Jags around Southall and west London on the hunt for Rita, whilst trying to avoid her dangerous brothers and a few ghosts from Zaq’s past.

Just superb. And the great thing about coming to the book late is that I don’t have long to wait for book two. Result!

Hugely recommended. Go treat yourself to a copy.

Brothers In Blood by Amer Anwar is published by Dialogue Books.

You can get a copy via bookshop.org (affiliate link)

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

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