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Book Review: Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry

bronwyn parry dead heat Book Review: Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry

Park ranger Jo Lockwood is no stranger to tough situations. She spends her days patrolling the national parks of north-west New South Wales, enduring the blistering heat, the isolation, and the odd group of drunken hooligans. Shes also nursing the ache of seeing her fiance die in her arms, a pain thats showing no sign of diminishing despite the brave face she presents.'But Jos about to be confronted once more by death, and this time it may well be her own life that ends up on the line. Undertaking a routine patrol, Jo comes across a bodyand the cause of death is certainly not natural.

Enter Nick Matheson, a detective whos looking to leave behind his rough upbringing and the undercover work of his past and start anew. Recovering from an injury inflicted on the job, Nicks looking for a peaceful posting involving cups of coffee with worried pensioners and lost dogs. But with his background in organised crime, he knows right away that Jos discovery isnt just a one-off crime of passion: it has all the hallmarks of a drug cartel he knows all too well.

Dead Heat'is Bronwyn Parrys third novel, and her confidence as an author veritably hums off the pages: she could be easily likened with romantic suspense stalwart Nora Roberts.'With its strong suspense narrative, the novel offers a twist on the rural romance literature Ive been reading of late, and its rural setting also makes it stand apart from the gritty urban settings so often seen in crime novels. The rural setting is perhaps one of the things I enjoyed most about Dead Heat, and Parry exploits it to excellent effect. After all, there is something so very chilling about our landscape: though beautiful, Australia is hot, barren, and if our numbers of poisonous creatures is anything to go by, quite intent on killing us all. Some of our most memorable crimes have occurred in the vast tracts of the outback, where, to steal a line from Aliens, no one can hear you scream. Theres the thirst, the heat, the horizon so bright that it burns your eyes, that ragged sound of your breath as you run

Needless to say, Dead Heat'has the tenacity of a sheepdog cowing a herd: it nips and jostles and doesnt let upand yes, I will shamefacedly admit to reading this one whilst walking to and from work. But while the pacing and setting are tremendous, I admit that I struggled a little with the believability of the plot, particularly at the very beginning and end of the novel. Towards the books beginning, there are attempts to implicate Jo in the murder of the first victim, which I thought a little confusingwhy? On what basis was this happening?and felt that the narrative could have done without. Similarly, towards the end of the novel things become a little convoluted and over-the-top with the introduction of Mexican drug lords, youth gangs on bikes, missing sisters, hidden lovers and rather a good deal of karate.

This tumult of characters also makes it a little difficult to identify with many of the people in the book, however, which I found disappointing as Im primarily a character reader. Jo, while strong and selfless, felt a little too perfectother than the hurt shes dealing with as a result of her fiances death, shes virtually without flaw. Shes an admirable character more than a relatable one, and something about her character didnt quite resonate with me. Nick, on the other hand, exhibits that hardboiled down-on-his-luck copper with a dark past sensibility that while making for plenty of tension can feel a little tiresome. While these personalities together often make for a good romantic tug of war, I have to admit that I was far more focused on the suspense element of the novel than the romantic oneI didnt really feel any reason for Nick and Jo getting together other than simple proximity.

Still, in all, Dead Heat'is a solid read bursting with energy, and Parrys quick pacing, elegant use of the outback setting and confident twist on both the rural lit and crime fiction genres make this worth checking out.

Rating: star Book Review: Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parrystar Book Review: Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parrystar Book Review: Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parryblankstar Book Review: Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parryblankstar Book Review: Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry (good)

With thanks to Hachette Australia for the review copy

Support Read in a Single Sitting by purchasing Dead Heat'from

Amazon | Book Depository UK | Book Depository USA | Booktopia | The Nile

Download the first chapter of Dead Heat'here

Other books by Bronwyn Parry:

dark country parry Book Review: Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parryas darkness falls bronwyn parry Book Review: Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry

Want more info about the author? Visit Bronwyn Parrys website'here; check out interviews with Bronwyn here'and'here.


  1. Great review Stephanie. Looks like I enjoyed this one a little more than you. I agree the suspense element in the novel was more of a standout than the romance and it was difficult to break through Jo and Nicks tough personas. I love Bronwyn Parrys work i still have to track down Dark Country which is on my wishlist.

    • Stephanie /

      I really liked the suspense in this, but just felt things could have been dialled back a little. Im definitely interested in checking out more of Bronwyns work, though. I might try to rustle up an interview, too, as she sounds like a fascinating individualthe circumstances around which she wrote this book are astonishing.

  2. Just finished writing my review of this so I can finally read yours. Like Jayne I enjoyed this more than you, I dont mind credibility being stretched a little for dramatic effect, but I have to agree with you about Jo, she was a little reserved for my taste. Still a great read!

    • Stephanie /

      Im glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Shelleyrae :) Im definitely piqued by Parrys work, and will certainly seek out her next novel to see if that appeals to me a little more. I did enjoy the suspense element of this one, though.

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