BOOK CLUB: Dead Heat

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Author: Bronwyn Parry
ISBN: 978-0-7336-2549-7
RRP: $32.99

Dead Heat is my introduction to Australian romantic suspense writer Bronwyn Parry and one that is long overdue if this book is anything to go by.

I got the blurb for this a couple of weeks ago and have been hanging out to get my eyes on it. It arrived when I was in the middle of another book, as usual, and had quite a to-do list to get through. Having it sit next to me on my desk certainly spurred me to get through everything quickly so I could make a start.

Once I made the start that was the end of me and now here I am, an hour after I got prepared to call it a night with quite a chunk to read in the morning and I got handcuffed to the book, I swear I did, with my eyes propped open so I couldn’t look away. It doesn’t really matter why I’m still up, but the book is finished and it’s time to share my thoughts.

dead heat

The scenery is a shining star in this novel, vividly detailing the bushland National Parks in NSW. The perspective is 3rd person but the majority of the story is focused on Jo Lockwood who is a park ranger so we still see through her eyes and she is a very observant woman who pays extreme attention to detail. As a park ranger it is to be expected that the outback holds significant fascination for her, as does the native wildlife and we are treated to that fascination with the descriptions and observations of the landscapes and animals that she comes across in her work.

Jo’s attention to detail and keen powers of observation come in handy time and time again throughout the book and go a long way to saving her life, the problem is that it is those same powers of observation that put her in danger in the first place.

Detective Nick Matheson has recently been posted to the area in a major change of pace from the undercover roles he has been playing over the past decade. Career credentials like that would make you think his powers of observation are also extremely well honed and you would be correct.

A lot of the suspense throughout this book is related to issues that I wouldn’t necessarily pair with the outback, the arguments for it are logical and plausible but they are still things that I would expect in cities rather than national parks out the back of beyond which goes a long way to making Dead Heat even harder to put down, if only for a much needed sleep.

The characters, well to be honest the main characters broke my heart. Both Jo and Nick  have survived events that leave them emotionally damaged and closed off from personal attachments. They both have routines set in place to make sure their control never slips, to move past the possibility of emotional reactions and ‘get on with it’. While this can be an admirable trait in moderation and in the right circumstances it is not always good for long term mental health.

Dead Heat brings Nick and Jo together in the investigation of her grisly find, an investigation that gets deeper at every turn. Just how much are they set to learn about themselves before the dying pages? That’s something I am not going to risk revealing to you, you’ll have to read it for yourselves.

Bronwyn Parry’s writing style is fluid and engaging with suspense that builds progressively and some fabulous twists that then leave you looking back to see if you could spot the clues.

Considering I have been away from my deeply rooted love of all things horror for quite some time I have lost some of my de-sensitisation and a couple of the grislier passages made me physically shudder.

The only one issue I had with the reading of this book is a very minor one but it did stick with me and even now it just doesn’t seem to fit for me. There is a scene about halfway through where Nick walks into a room and there’s a crisp packet on the table, and it really jumped out at me. This book is very Australian and everything struck me as Australian except for that one tiny mention of a crisp packet, which I didn’t think was an Australian term.

Now I’m extremely happy with this book, I loved it! So in the long run one crisp packet is inconsequential – which begs the question why did I bring it up. To tell the truth I don’t rightly know but it did strike me as odd so I thought I would mention it in case I’m not the only one.

A great read that I am thrilled to have finally read, and I will definitely be on the lookout for more of her work.

60 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Dead Heat

  1. Thank you Beauty and Lace for a chance to read and review this easy to digest book. I had a similar experience to Michelle, having a thousand things to do at the time I received the book, but I set most of them aside and effortlessly finished the book in one day. Brownyn Parry writes in a smooth and attention-grabbing manner making it simple to gobble up this book. A bit like chocolate cake.

    As a city-slicker, I loved her detailed descriptions of the Australian countryside and the animals that make their home in it. The author clearly feels comfortable with nature as much as the heroine she creates. In fact, I would have been fascinated to read more about this.

    This romantic thriller works its magic by drip feeding the reader information. Initially I found this a bit confusing, and when the dingo appeared out of the bushes early in the plot, I needed to read a further page to work out what was going on. The drip feeding worked better later in the story once I had a baseline to understand what was happening. I can’t say I found the plot “thrilling” in the way Hannibal Lecture is shocking. Perhaps I’m a bit desensitised to horror. Despite the gory circumstances of their death, none of the murders left me feeling shocked for the victims, as we were never properly introduced to the characters. But the plot certainly kept my attention.

    Overall, I found the characters a bit disappointing. Initially we have little more than stick figures to identify with. Again, the details are shared with us slowly and by the end it is easier to feel sympathy with the main characters. However, I still did not feel warm towards them. I didn’t feel their tension, and (this is going to sound crass) I didn’t really care if one was murdered before the end. Both of the main characters had suffered loss in the past – a loss that was really only shared with us towards the end. Both spent the entire novel hiding their feelings, not getting involved, keeping to themselves except for work. It was hard to feel empathy for either one. They were too remote, controlled and “perfect”. Perhaps if I had been introducted properly from the start I would have felt differently.

    Overall, I enjoyed the book and I feel the author’s great strength was her love of the Australian bush. I would really enjoy reading some literature from Bronwyn Parry that offered more of this.

  2. Without really getting an insight into the main characters of the story, I found it a bit hard to become totally trapped in the novel. As the book went on it delved a little into their past and the losses they had suffered, however the storyline became a bit mudane after a while.
    The descriptions of the wilderness and outback took you to a place you wish you could encounter, except for the brutal murders.
    It was interesting to not know who was the killer or why they were murdering these people, but also became predictive, you knew early in the novel that obviously the main character was going to become a target and need to fight to survive.
    I did enjoy the read, however it was not a book I would say captivated me in any way.
    I would have liked to have had more of a connection with the main characters in the book, get to know them better to then really get emotionally involved when it became a matter of life and death.
    Thankyou for the chance to read and review it.

  3. I really loved this book in the end. A strange statement to open with I know, but I struggled to get into it at the start because I didn’t get the chance to dive in as I usually would. Once I got into the book though, I couldn’t put it down.
    I can relate to the country aspect growing up n rural Australia, so it was nice to read a book with recognizable bush characteristics and also names of places and even the highways mentioned.
    I really liked Nick’s character, hard and gruff but a real sweet heart underneath it all and the role he played with Jo was a very delicate thing waiting to unfold.
    To be honest the story is very believable, with all the crime today it isn’t a hard stretch to imagine these things really happening in the outback and the city, which is quite frightening.
    I think the ending was a little predictable but that didn’t make me like it any less. It was a very enjoyable book and I will be looking at reading Bronwyn Parry’s other books as a change to the YA and supernatural/ horror that i love to read.
    A real breath of fresh air this was for me. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read something different.

  4. Thank you for the chance to read this book I absolutely loved it and finished it at 4 am this morning I couldnt put it down .
    I enjoyed the intricate plot immensely and found I was kept guessing until the last chapter .
    I will definitely be looking for Bronwyn Parry’s other 2 books as I enjoy her style of writing.
    Nick and Jo the two main characters were engaging and I liked the rural Australian setting .
    Just a straight forward good enjoyable engaging read . Thanks Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review this novel

  5. It was gratifying to read a crime novel that is set in a rural Australian community, spoken in colloquial Australian language – giving voice to the Australian crime writer genre – my favourite lines were ” Can you give the police a call? A mob of Homo idiota has been rampaging. The tanks’ full of bullet holes, the loo door is cactus and the info board’s down – they took to it with a chainsaw.”

    Parry uses black humour, fast paced action and complicated plot twists and turns to captivate her audience. I love that that the lead female role was strong, adventurous, resourceful and intelligent . I look forward to reading more of her novels.

  6. I’m not sure how I would classify this book – mystery, crime, suspense, romance? It doesn’t fit easily into any of these categories. A little element of each perhaps. The star of the book is the landscape.
    It is difficult to voice all my criticisms of this book without giving away the plot but I will mention a few.
    There are some very clumsy passages in the book that could have benefited from better editing. There was much in this book that I found unconvincing, for example the confrontation between Hugh and Nick and the depiction of the criminals and their organisation and behaviour.
    My interest in the book waned somewhat when the person behind the crimes was identified about two thirds of the way through the book.
    Nick and Jo are likeable characters and you care what happens to them but they lack depth.
    For me this was a rather forgettable book and does not encourage me to read other books by this author.
    I prefer genuine mysteries or psychological thrillers.

  7. What an amazing read! I have a previous book of this author and just when I thought she couldn’t top her earlier work she goes and does it again! The refrences to both well known places in NSW and lesser well known places I could relate particularly well to the Tamworth/Glen Innes to Tenterfield references – right down to mention of a character managing to ”escape” a tourism conference in Tenterfield! It was a book that was worth reading and definately one I couldn’t put down. This is very easily one that has become one of my favourites. I can’t recommend it enough so if you’re looking for a book different to the normal genre you read – make sure this is your number one pick – you won’t regret it.

  8. What a fantastic book. I love this sort of romantic thriller to have one set in the Australian outback just added to the brilliance!

    Jo is the new park ranger and finds the gruesome remains of an unknown man. Nick is the new detective – no prize for joining the dots here – who must solve the case before more people end up dead. To add to the intrigue their is a mystery man on a motorbike – who is he?

    This is a very intelligently written mystery with high levels of intrigue and suspense. You keep wanting more and more until there is no more than the next chapter and you just can’t put the book down!
    I have never been to the NSW outback but Bronwyn Parry’s knowledge of it is in such detail that it is brought to life and you can’t but feel you are really there!

    Her characters are so genuine, Jo seems so at home on the land and you just want Nick to be the one to save your life one day! The pages really jumped out at me and the descriptions of the land helped bring to life the beauty and danger of the bush.

    I recommend this book to all and I’m of now to find some more Bronwyn Parry novels to read! Thanks Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to discover this fine writer!

  9. My testimony to how much I enjoyed this book can only be that I finished it in record time! I loved the idea of a book set in a landscape that I could identify with. I was taken with the storyline from the beginning, I liked that it contained elements of mystery (sometimes I got Goosebumps) intrigue, deception and romance. I liked the fact that it did not loses itself too much in the romance part as it really was more focused on intrigue and crime. It was a well balanced read and I think Bronwyn Parry wrote a good story! I felt she was able to describe the landscape and ‘how’ the main character Jo was feeling. I find that many authors are not able to give you that ‘chilling feeling’ when writing about an incident but I definitely felt it. A wonderful book worth the read, hard to give a full description without giving it all away but readers beware – it will make you look for Bronwyn Parry’s other novels.

  10. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Bronwyn Parry’s most recent novel Dead Heat, is that Parry wrote it whilst recovering from brain surgery. That is no small feat, and the novel is not let down by Parry’s situation. It is, however, let down by Parry’s strict adherence to a well-worn formula too readily apparent at the outset of the novel.

    Dead Heat begins when Park Ranger Jo Lockwood discovers a murdered body near the picnic area of the National Park she works in. Detective Nick Matheson is sent to investigate the murder and from there the novel’s ending begins to expose itself through continued overzealous foreshadowing.

    Parry jumps back and forth between Jo and Nick’s perspectives, which allows her to vary the tone of the story but also to leave too little mystery in a novel intended to evoke just that. By the fifth chapter, Parry has planted a seed of doubt the size of a watermelon about each character’s credibility, in Nick’s case he even incriminates himself to the reader. But of course, Parry’s two protagonists are redeemed in the end, which comes as no surprise.

    Dead Heat reads like a paint-by-numbers novel, with the author’s intentions too clearly laid bare for the reader. There were some clever sentences and images sprinkled throughout, but none so clever as to cause me to read them a second time and certainly none that I could remember once I closed the book.

    I found Dead Heat slow going for little reward and would recommend it only to fans of Parry’s earlier works As Darkness Falls, and Dark Country who will certainly get more of the same.

  11. I read this book within a few days, but having said that, I wasn’t overly thrilled with it. It was an easy read, and I loved the description of the outback, etc, but I just couldn’t feel a real connection with any of the characters.
    The storyline became a bit predictable, the reader can sense how the book is going to end before it does.
    I don’t think I would recommend this book, unless outback thrillers are really your thing, but it still was an ok read. Thankyou for the opportunity to read and review it.

  12. A very good and well written Aussie romantic novel. The story is plausible and easy to follow. Self-recrimination, guilt and self-discipline on the part of the principle characters is perhaps a little heavy? Research including N.S.W geography and fire-fighting is right on the ball. The overuse of the F-word in the last part of the novel tends to diminish the possible impact. There are a lot of Australian expletives that could have been used.

  13. Firstly, I must say how much I enjoyed the descriptive nature of the book. She uses some very laid back Aussie language, such as “It was the Australian bush, dammit, not the back streets of some city”. There’s just one example. I love her use of simple and yet so meaningful language. Really enabled me to relate to the text, being Australian myself.

    I really related with the character of Jo, always helping and so determined. She’s a strong person and someone I’d see myself endevouring to be in the situations she faces with Nick.

    I love these sorts of texts. It was really interesting and engaging. 8/10!

    Thanks for the chance to read 🙂

  14. I didn’t really have any expectations when I picked up “Dead Heat” – I wanted to read it to see if it handled the Australian bush setting well, but beyond that I hadn’t any expectations. I was therefore really pleased to find myself reading an enjoyable and well written romantic thriller.

    This is a “softer” novel than a lot of crime novels – in particular, Parry glosses over the violence. We don’t get the forensic details of each injury to a murder victim, for example. I didn’t see this as a flaw – it wouldn’t have fitted the tone of this novel, and although that can be a vital part of some books I don’t actually go looking for explicit violence and gore.

    Parry does handle the Australian setting very well, making it quite distinct from a lot of American and English novels. Police here often find themselves responsible for large areas of land with a relatively small (and scattered) population – that’s not common in most overseas locations. I thought Parry depicted related issues well – police that are two hours away, ambulances that take half an hour to get to you, and so on. In addition she described the Australian bush and wildlife vividly, but in a way that didn’t seem like she was straining to stuff them into the novel. It came out naturally.

    The two central characters, Nick and Jo, are strongly drawn and empathetic characters. I liked that Jo is strong and has skills she can apply to her suddenly difficult situation, but that she isn’t superwoman and can’t cope with everything or do everything. It was nice to see a competent, realistic woman who was more than a foil for a male hero. A lot of readers will get very involved with Jo’s plight and care a lot about what happens to her and Nick.

    It’s not perfect– for me the crime aspects didn’t ring entirely true. In particular, I felt that maybe Parry hadn’t really thought through the logic of drug traffickers moving drugs through such an area, or the completely unproductive number and kinds of murder they engaged in. My understanding is that a lot of the big drug syndicates are more professional about it than this… Anyway, it’s a fairly small quibble. My only other reservation was that while the main two characters were strong, I felt that most of the others were a little sketchy. I’d have liked to see some of them come to life a bit better.

    Overall though, this was a really enjoyable novel which was very readable. I’m not a huge romance fan but Parry found a good balance in the novel and her realistic characters, in particular, made this an engaging read.

  15. Thank you Beauty and Lace for letting me review this book as it’s probably not one that I would have chosen otherwise. I think my dislike of Australian TV shows and movies has coloured my view on other Australian things, particularly Australian authors. But I love a good romantic thriller and the blurb made this book sound like it was worth the ‘risk’. I couldn’t put it down!

    The descriptions of the outback gave me enough to visualise the scene without going over the top and I really loved the characters. The only part I didn’t like was that the story kept going over how independent and strong the main female character “Jo” was and I did think ‘yeah, I get it, she can do it all and doens’t need anyone else’. I don’t know, are there really people out there with memories like Jo’s and who knows exactly what to do in whatever situation she’s placed in? I don’t know anyone like that! But I still loved the book, there’s a twist and a turn and although the ending is predictable, it’s definately worth the read

    Thanks again Beauty and Lace >:o)

  16. Nothing worse than a review that says to much, and there’s heaps I want to say but will stick to: A GREAT READ indeed!! Suspense, murder, this book’s action packed, with romance too. A bit of everything to keep you interested. A plot that held me captive from cover to cover with it’s great detail. I could not put it down!

  17. I too found ‘Dead Heat’ suspenseful, action packed and interesting. I loved the mix Parry added to the book. It was nice to read an Australian novel that recognised places and the distances between them – this is true Australian outback. I also liked how she portrayed the communities with the rotary club running the BBQ, and National Parks and Emergency Services working together, checking out the pub for information – highlighting outback networks.
    I found the book easy to read and follow and even with a busy life – finnished in less than 4 days (which is good for me). I would be happy to read more of Bronwyn Parry’s books and enjoyed experiencing Parry’s tale – the thrill and possible romance.

  18. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a real page turner all the way through. I loved the Australian Outback setting and the plot was very believable. Combining romance with a crime novel worked really well and I certainly look forward to reading more from this talented author. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast paced entertaining read.

  19. Bronwyn Parry’s “Dead Heat” is described as a “thriller romance” on the cover and that quote, combined with the reference to a body “brutally murdered” in the first sentence of the blurb, prepares the reader for a fast-paced, action-filled plot. I, for one, was happy to discover that after only a few paragraphs of slightly perfunctory Australian outback descriptions to set the scene, the atmosphere is shattered as we discover the “coldly, brutally, tortured and murdered” body of victim Number 1 on the seventh page. I find nothing more frustrating than a crime novel that takes chapters to find a body or delve into the crime scene, so this book certainly received a nod of approval for diving head first into the plotline.

    Throughout the book, we follow as the discovery of that first body opens up a chain reaction of more murders, conspiracies and lies as the central characters, Jo Lockwood and Nick Matheson, fight to piece together the evidence and stay one step ahead of criminals involved with a Mexican drug cartel. In the background, you also have the blossoming “romance” part of the novel between the two protagonists, which I thought provided an intriguing, subtle balance to the fast action of the story, softening the reading between violent attacks and deaths (though Parry does quite significantly tone down the graphic details – the imagery and details of the violent crimes are merely implied or quickly skimmed over). The book definitely moved at a quick pace which kept the plot alive, keeping the reader interested to continue reading. Indeed, as the pace quickened towards the end, I certainly found myself putting other tasks on hold just to “finish this chapter”.

    Disclaimer: some spoilers below.

    The ending, however, was frustrating. As I found myself drawn to the building of the action-packed climax, I had countless thoughts on how it could end. So when Jo and Nick are captured by the criminals and taken straight to the notoriously calculated and violent head of the group (in the middle of nowhere in the Australian outback, might I add), I prepared myself for a brilliantly pieced together set of events as Parry drew on her imagination and the strengths of her protagonists to plan and pull off the ultimate, nail-biting escape from their capturers. Whilst this was partially true once Jo and Nick escaped into the woods, their escape in itself was not a smooth-talking deception plan, an ammunition fuelled take back of control or even a good old fashioned rescue. Instead, the cold, calculated, unforgiving and methodical killer mentioned above lets them escape (you read right) so that his remaining minions – for lack of a better word – can prove their criminal worth by re-capturing them. To me, this just wasn’t plausible with the character profile I built of the relentlessly violent and loose-end-cutting criminal as he is depicted throughout the book.

    Overall, despite some weak moments in the plot and some turbulent flow of words (for instance, the paragraph describing Nick, Hugh and Grace’s relationship required a few reads to work out which “he” was being referred to in each line), I did find the novel an easy, fun read and enjoyed discovering the background of many of the characters along with the unfolding crime cases. Parry certainly struck an intriguing balance between crime, thriller, action and romance, for which this novel can fall into the lines of many genres and should thus entertain a large audience range. Numerous times throughout the novel, I also thought how much potential there is for this book to be adapted for the screen. Though there is much I can continue to say about the novel, evidently I have a habit of over-analysing on occasions, so I will sign off here by thanking Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book and save further verbosity for another review! 🙂

  20. I have made several attempts to write this review from a positive perspective however although Dead Heat was well written, the story line for me was rather boring in its predictability.
    I found that I really had to push myself to read this novel and complete the task I had committed to.
    I did have mild admiration for Jo,s relationship to the Australian outback but in general I felt that the characters were not strongly developed or convincing.
    My personal view is that we are being swamped with crime shows and crime books which seem to be becoming ever more explicit in their descriptions of brutality, so this novel did not stand out as unique.
    The romantic aspect I found very ordinary and its direction was obvious from the beginning.
    Overall, for me this was just another novel and nothing outstanding either in a negative or positive sense.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review.

  21. Wow, I was not expecting such a fantastic who-done-it story that had me turning page after page in anticipation of what was going to happen next!

    At first I was a little slow getting into the story, but once you find out the murder, the story just keeps developing and revealing secrets and surprises at a great pace. The story was a great mix of murder, mystery, romance, action and adventure, and flowed effortlessly. I did find a couple parts of the story a little gory… but maybe I shouldn’t have been reading it before I went to sleep!

    The characters all fit well into the story, and the Australian outback setting was a great backdrop. I loved how Jo was so logical and had such a well thought out way of speaking, her knowledge of the outback, it’s animals and dangers were very interesting. I warmed up to the two main characters quite quickly – probably when Nick had to start protecting Jo, and from then on I was worried if they would come out of this story alive or not!

    At times some parts of the story were a bit unbelievable or some of the back story was not delved into enough for my liking, but overall I loved it. I am definitely passing this book on straight away… maybe after another read through! Thanks so much Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

  22. Thankyou for the chance to review the book. I totally agree with the last review. I also had to make myself read the book as I was just not that intrigued with the story line. I found the story to sometimes peak and then crash to a low. So if I put the book down at a low in the story I just felt no compelling need to pick it back up and read it.

    I did like Parry’s description of the outback throughout the book. You could almost smell and hear the bush around you. Her description of the wildlife was on the mark also, but that was the best part of the book.

    I also agree with the last reviewer as I do read a lot of thrillers and some of these authors have such great shock factors that they are completely gripping, this book was quite soft in this fact. I know that this sounds a bit cold but some of these books have completely desentised me to the shock and horror that are in some books today and it now takes a lot to hold me in the book. Had I read this a few years ago, I would have loved it but alas, that is not the case.

    Overall, okay. Will never read it again.

  23. Thank you B & L for the opprtunity to read this book.

    I have to admit, this is not my usual genre of reading, so it took me a few attempts to get throught it. I did enjoy the setting and amazing imagery that the author establishes early on, however it was a little predictable.

    Probably not my favourite book this year but certainly an enjoyable ways to pass the time 🙂

  24. Thanks Beauty and Lace for the chance to read this book.

    I enjoyed the imagery, I think the book described the scenery well. I would have liked to have found out more about the characters’ pasts as I thought that there was a lot of allusion to things but little explored in detail. I did find the number of murders a little hard to believe in such a setting and over such a short period of time.

    The romance was very predictable so I can’t say that it excited me that much when they got together, it was always going to happen.

    I suppose this book would have shocked me if things didn’t turn out as they appeared they were going to from the start.

    Enjoyed the read overall but would have liked a bit more of the unexpected.


  25. National Parks Ranger Jo Lockwood finds the body of a man who has been tortured before being killed. Det Nick Matheson is the investigator sent to crime scene. There is immediate chemistry between them.
    Over the next few days they find drugs, illegal weapons, police officer shot, the body of a raped and murdered police woman, a dead body left in Jo’s bed as a warning,corrupt police, fight deliberately lit bush fires, a night of passion, are ambushed before being kidnapped, escape and survive. “Underbelly” story set in the outback
    It was an easy read.

  26. Dead Heat Review
    Bronwyn Parry’s latest romance novel depicts criminal activities against those of the people who respond to them but this is merely a back story to the main event; the mutual attraction of the two protagonists. From the outset Jo Lockwood and Nick Matheson eye each other off as Parry builds the characters’ personal history showing their susceptibility with an irksome predictability, typical of the genre.
    He notices her as an ‘intelligent professional’ while she observes the body language of his colleagues toward him. Unconvincingly we are told to believe that Nick ‘had caught her intellectual interest.’ Jo comments that the ‘pheromones.. (have) no relevance to her at all’ and yet she notices them, arguing with her conscience over it. Passing references to valid themes such as vandalism, escapism and policing power games miss the opportunity to explore them in any depth. Clichés abound throughout and her ‘undeniable awareness of the powerful male’ sets the tone of the stereotypical female protagonist. When Matheson moves into her personal space the real action begins.
    Both characters are portrayed as strong yet vulnerable individuals and the central focus remains on each exposing the other’s personal style. The real plot shuffles their shifting perceptions and character evaluations over the days of the background crime action. Mundane domestic detail surrounding breakfast, showering and sleeping arrangements bore and stupefy the reader while being subject to predictably laboured dialogue. How much can one wrestle with conscience over workplace eye candy?
    The back- action moves along at a cracking pace but the inevitable climactic capture and shoot out fail to thrill. Lovers of the genre would no doubt disagree.

  27. Thanks Beauty and lace for the opportunity to review Bronwyn Parry’s book Dead Heat – I very much liked that very quickly you were into the story. I found the style of writing to be very discriptive and as a result I was able to picture what I was reading – always a good thing in my opinion . The story was captivating I honestly did not want to put it down. I do have to say though I felt that the main characters Nick and Jo and also Nick’s sister grace’s backgrounds should have been developed much more I was waiting all through the book to get to this and unfortunately it didn’t happen. Although I do feel it would be a perfect way to lead into a follow up booKk which I do feel is needed as the book seemed to end very abruptly. I feel these characters should have been developed much more also the character Hugh had the potential to be very interesting but again under developed. All in all a good read but I am hoping there will be a sequel to answer the many questions I have and also to see what becomes of some very likeable characters.

  28. Thank you Beauty and Lace for a chance to read and review this book. It was so easy to read that I finished it in record time. Being a city girl, I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of the Australian countryside and the animals.
    The information on the characters were only slowly revealed throughout the book, making it very hard to feel for, and associate with them. It wasn’t until the very end of the book, that you feel that you really know them well enough to be able to sympathize. The book would have captivated me more if I had been able to feel more of a connection with the characters earlier in the book.
    The story is very believable, with all the crime today it isn’t a hard stretch to imagine these things really happening. All in all, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book, and the intricate plot with high levels of intrigue and suspense that kept me guessing until the very last chapter.
    Thanks again Beauty and Lace for the chance to read and review this book.

  29. Thankyou Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book and also for introducing me to such a wonderful author, whom I’ve not heard of before. But after reading this intriguing story I have placed Bronwyn’s other 2 novels on my ‘to buy’ list.

    From the very beginning I was drawn in by this story, I think partially because I could relate to the surroundings, having lived near Newcastle since 1983 and when I feel I can relate to something, it always gets my full attention. And in another way in regards to the Bikie element, with all the attention the Bikie Wars have been getting the past year or so. I’ve also known a couple of police officers that have worked all the Newcastle area – all these pieces put together made this story very familiar.

    Bronwyn Parry’s writing method is full of ‘edge-of-your-seat’ moments and her knack of describing every detail allows me as the reader to watch the screenplay of the book in my head as I read. The complexity of the characters made me want to keep reading, I was always wanting to know more and discover their secrets. I could understand Nick and Jo’s anxiety they carried around from past events and how they both were trying to just get on with it, get the job done. They are both really likeable characters and OMG…..I could feel the heat and lust that was growing between them; the sex scene was like watching a slowly simmering volcano ready to blow!!! Jo is such a strong female character and doesn’t turn away from challenge, she faces it head on, Nick follows this mantra too, they are both very alike. I loved the end of the book where Nick and Jo are escaping the baddies but it’s something they couldn’t have done alone, together they both shouldered the responsibility of defeating the criminals, both bringing their expertise to the fore.

    Hugh was a fairly unlikeable character, he was egotistical, maniacal, a lost boy. I did at times feel a little sorry for him, towards the end when I realised the full story but you make your choices and have to live with the consequences.

    The story had many twists and turns and kept unravelling as I read further, keeping me thoroughly engrossed. It’s a story that could of been a ‘true story’ as you hear of these sorts of things happening now and then. I really loved the book and found it easy to read.

  30. I totally loved this book. If you are after thrilling suspense, romance and mystery all rolled into one, then this is the book for you.
    I not only loved the fact that this was another amazing novel set in the Australian bush, and the beautiful scenery that is only in the
    Australian outlands, but the fact that it was about an international syndicate,
    This book entices you in with our National Parks and Rangers that keep our land beautiful, and then pulls you into a deeper darker world that is drugs, decpetion and violence.
    I was kept on the edge of my seat till the very end of this delightful novel, unsure of what was going to happen at the next turn.
    It is full of descriptions that make you feel like you are right there on the land with the characters, feeling everything they feel and fighting every fight they fight. Fighting for righteousness and morality.
    Thankyou for a familiar and exciting read.

  31. I must admit I have a difficult relationship with the book Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry.
    In terms of characterisation I feel that she has been successful in explaining the experiences that have caused her main characters to be where they they are, but it also lends itself to allow the reader to also become detached from them, and not use them as their way into the story. I don’t know if their could have been another character which could have fulfilled this role but it may have helped for the reader to have another less ‘damaged’ perspective.
    The author’s descriptive imagery was good, allowing the reader to set the scene in rural NSW. I loved reading about the surroundings and feel this was of the best parts of the book.
    The plot was very formulaic, with the exception of the reaction of the villan to their escape. At that point I felt that it had developed a few plot holes in order to progress the storyline the author wanted to follow. The ending was a bit expected but kept to the theme of the genre and was a satisfying conclusion overall.
    Dead Heat is a very easy to read book which shows the amazing affinity the author has with her setting.
    If you are reading as a lover of this genre you will not be disappointed, and may be inclined to look up previous books by the same author.

  32. This books opens right away with a mystery and at times i really thought it was not my kind of book as I am much used to reading books without murder mysteries and such but this book was filled with surprises and a tale that you wanted to read to the end despite what type of genre you normally read.
    I found it really interesting to read a book i normally wouldnt pick up and I am glad I did.

    I like that is was set in the australian outback and you get a sense of something you may be totally foreign to. It gives insight into the workings of the bush and things I wouldnt normally think about so it was great to get that perspective.

    Thank you beauty and lace for a wonderful interesting read that is unlike anything else i have read

  33. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review this brillant book from such a talented author. Once I got into it I could hardly put in down and the story and characters kept me captivated. I loved the style of the author and will be reading more of her books and passing this one along for family/friends to read. Overall a great read… 🙂

  34. Thanks for the opportunity to read Dead Heat. I found it to be an easy read, and I love how the Outback is described and how ‘Aussie’ the language is.
    There were a few sections that were a little hard to believe and the characters didnt seem to be fleshed out very well, so it was hard to really care about them. But overall, I found Dead Heat to be a satisfactory novel that was somewhat compelling, if not a complete nail-biting page-turner.

  35. My first impressions of receiving this book I was totally captivated by the cover depicting a true Australian outback bush. I was excited to start reading but due to committments I had to scramble to read in between weddings and visitors but I accomplished it in one restful day.

    I found the story to be enjoyable and engaging from the first chapter. The main characters of Jo the National Parks Ranger and Nick the Detective became very real for me.

    The book contains brutal murders, and there is plenty of action, suspense, thrills and some titilating passionate romance. Being someone that knows NSW well, I could relate with the recognisation of the Aussie towns.

    I found myself eager to read and flip the pages over. For me though there was only about 2 chapters that my concentration wavered with the story but I perservered and wasn’t disappointed after continuing.

    Bronwyn Parry kept me intrigued with reading and it wasn’t till I finished the book and read her acknowledgements that we learn that she wrote Dead Heat while waiting for and recovering from brain surgery. Knowing that after I have read the book I can see similarities in the book of how Bronwyn was feeling at the time.

    I was totally absorbed in the story because it does contain adventure, heartache, mystery plus romance. Towards the end I was moved by emotions.

    I look forward to reading more from Bronwyn Parry in the future and certainly hope that she has recovered from her operation.

  36. I love checking out Australian Writers so i was really excited to receive this book and as i was packing a bag for a stay in hospital this book was coming along with me.
    I started reading the day after my surgery and found that i was drawn in and caputred by the storyline straight away but thanks to strong pain killers I kept falling asleep so reading the book took longer for me then it would have if i hadnt been recovering but im pleased that this book would drag my mind away from the hospital and off into the beauty and wonders of the outback.
    I felt very connected to Jo who has faced extreme tragedy in her life and is working to live life with her heart protected. I think its always good to find someone in a book that you are reading that you feel you understand and i felt that with Jo and wanted to protect her but also help her to grow emotionally if that makes sense.
    This book takes you on a journey though a police investigation after Jo makes a very disturbing find one day. The mystery of the case seems to grow and grow with more things happening to create twists and turns.
    This is a book that keeps you guessing.

    I would certainly reccommend this book but would warn that im sure you will get through it a lot faster then you might think as its very hard to put down.
    Certainly a writer i would be keen to read more of.

    Thank you B & L

  37. OK so where do I begin. I found it hard to get in to this book and let my mind pull me into the story, it wasn’t a boring start just one that didn’t compel you to want to read more but rather dragged you along. That was until about half way through when I suddenly couldn’t put it down.
    Lets set the scene.
    Jo has stumbled upon a murder scene which was definitely not in the job description as Park Ranger and our new detective to the town Nick has been called out to investigate.
    Jo keeps stumbling upon all the ‘baddies’ and this involves her deeper and deeper into the whole crime.
    Hugh is Nick’s old partner and friend has been called out to the country to help with the investigation. This is where things get interesting. There is much more to Hugh and Nick then Jo first thought and how involved does it all get. (Not giving too much away here).
    I found that once it started bringing in all these other characters and having all these new and different paths to follow I got myself really interested in the story and I couldn’t wait to see what happens next but this was already half way through the book.
    I thought the friends and workmates brought a depth to the story that would have been a simple romance story with out it.
    If its a great story then I don’t just read a story but rather see it in my head as I’m going through the book. This had my mind looking for things that I couldn’t work out (map wise) I would have liked a map of the area so that I could see how close everything was and why that path was so important. Then I could have followed along a lot easier as I found it difficult to visualise where they were at times.
    Over all I loved the book and found myself glued right up until the end it was just a shame that it took half the book for that to happen.
    Great story about the Australian land and country life.

  38. i was not sure if i could get into reading novels again after many years of not being interested in the practice of such a chore.
    To my amazement i couldn’t put this book down and when i had too, couldn’t wait to pick it back up.Loved the characters all very Australian and believable.It took a while to get accustomed to the switch from one scene to another but mastered it with much smoothness as i let myself jump into the book and be there observing as the story unfolded.
    I found it to have a mixture of soft gentle romance and the harsh reality of the world we live in today.Having it set in the country gave it more depth,plus the chance to visualize the beautiful country we are surrounded by.The story had great suspense all the way through and i found my heart beating faster more than once in anticipation of the outcome.
    First book read in along time and im so glad i was given the opportunity, its revived a passion i thought was lost.
    Thankyou B&L

  39. Dead Heat is a well written and intriquing story that shatters the peace and tranquility of the Australian bush and brings the horrors of the city – murder, drugs and corruption – to the lives of unsuspecting townspeople.
    The visual aspects of the bush are brought to reality with Parry’s obvious knowledge of the area, and her ability to translate that onto the pages of her book can make you feel like you know the area too.
    Her support characters lack a little depth but the 2 main characters, Jo and Nick, are complex enough to keep you interested in the story through the twists and turns, some are expected and some just totally take you by surprise.
    A well written book that was not too heavy and hard to read, it just flowed along nicely taking the reader with it.

  40. I don’t normally read his type of genre but the fact that it was set in the Australian outback interested me so I decided to give it a go. I didn’t know what to expect but I was quite surprised. It was an interesting ,easy read. Romance, crime, mystery and a police investigations. This book has it all. I think I preferred the romance part though as I don’t like reading about murders full stop. I will definitely recommend his book though. Thank you Beauty and Lace or giving the opportunity to read and review this book.

  41. Once again Beauty and Lace, thank you for the opportunity of reading another great novel.
    This was completely out of my comfort zone for a night time read and I knew it would be. However I am glad I took the plunge.
    From the start it is a total page turner. It isn`t for the faint hearted or those with a vivid imagination in my opinion as it is graphic and psychologically disturbing throughout with each murder that occurs. Sometimes those with less details even more disturbing but if that is your genre then its spot on!
    This is balanced out by the romance between the two main characters, Jo and Nick. The tension between the two is palpable throughout. I enjoyed their characters.
    The setting in outback Australia was fascinating and well researched by the author. Made it a little different to the many crime novels set in the big cities.
    My only criticism would be of the introduction of the drug cartel from Mexico. I felt the perpetrators would have been better coming from Australia. It seemed a little far fetched.
    It is a fast paced read and each chapter ends well, making you want to read more. I envy those with time to read in a few days or more. Time does not allow me that pleasure unfortunately.
    Thanks again B&L


  42. I agree with Narelle Rock in regards to the predictability of the novel. In saying that, sometimes a girl just needs a book to read where she doesn’t have to think too much…and that fits my circumstances at the moment as I’m studying for an exam. Certainly, the setting was described in an evocative way. I wanted to know a little bit more about the township and the people who lived there – it seemed all this serious crime and drama was occuring in a small town but the only ones feeling the repercussions were the characters we were permitted to meet.

    I’d perhaps describe DEAD HEAT as a good holiday read – despite the gruesome and brutal events, it was light and easy! I wouldn’t recommend handing it on to any foreigners thinking about travelling to the Australian outback though – the dangers depicted in the novel might put them off visiting!

    1. I agree completely Larabelle in regards to being introduced the town and the people. Everything was so focused on the main characters but surely with gunfights, deliberately lit fires, dead bodies, and a influx of police services the townspeople would be vividly aware of the goings on. Yet we never heard a thing about them, it would’ve been an interesting aspect to the story.

    2. Well said Larabelle, I love this book for being entertaining and easy to read. It does come across as predictable but Bronwyn’s books still always surprise me in one way or another.

  43. I really enjoyed Dead Heat. I am a mum of four and sometimes it is hard for me to get into a story I haven’t read a murder mystery set in NSW outback before so was excited to read it as I live in rural NSW.
    I was captivated by the storyline from the start which included the thrills, mystery and romance ..everything a girl needs in a read.
    It was easy to follow and characters were interesting. I didn’t find the violence too disturbing and I enjoyed the balance of the violence softened by the romance.
    To me the storyline was very believable it is something that I could see on the news happen in our National Park.

    Thank you for the opportunity to review this great read I will be recommending it to family and friends 🙂

  44. I’m not one to purchase a ‘crime novel’ so when given this book to review I wasn’t sure if I’d get into it, however it grabbed me pretty much straight away. I’ve only just finished it and if had the chance I’d of read it in one night. It is written in great detail and whilst reading I could feel and understand every emotion and each scene set. I love the bond that slowly grew between the 2 characters ‘Jo and Nick’. Parts of this book had me on edge and shocked but other parts had me all sooky and wanting to know what becomes of Jo and Nick. So in conclusion I LOVED this book and will be passing it on and recommending it to all my book reading friends. Great read !!!

  45. Dead Heat is a solid read bursting with energy,

    With its strong suspense narrative and its rural setting in N.S.W Autralia also makes it stand apart
    The rural setting is perhaps one of the things I enjoyed most about Dead Heat. Dead Heat was a wonderful read – in terms of characterisation, I felt that both Nick and Jo were very strong.It had me in right from the beginning and kept me intrigued all the way.Dead Heat was a wonderful read.I have now passed the book onto my Mum and sister who are both avid readers i am sure they will also be hooked,Thanks for the oppurtunity to review this book i give a rating of 5 out of 5 stars.:)

  46. Ooooh I loved grabbing this to read every chance I got. I have an adoration for the Aussie outback and NSW country and rural areas so having this as where the scene is set for this storyline made it an extra special read for me. To combine it with the topic of murder makes it a unique and special novel as I also have a deep attraction to murder mysteries and the like! Needless to say I was then absorbed whenever I picked it up and it was the type of novel I found enjoyable and gripping at the same time. I absolutely loved it and now want to read more of Bronwyn Parry’s novels.

  47. Finally finished reading Dead Heat. Managed to fit it in around the final plans for our wedding so that speaks for itself.
    I love crime novels, and I enjoyed reading this. The first few chapters had me wanting to read more, just to see who or what was behind the horrible going ons in the Australian outback.
    It was different seeing the beautiful outback made into such a scary and secretive thing, but with all that space it probably is more common than we think.
    The connection between the main characters was evident from the start, and was pridictable in how it progressed. This didnt ruin the story, you just knew what was coming.
    I would recommend this book to anyone looking for and intruiging and thought provoking book. The novel was very believable in both the way it was told and what it was about, making it that much more enjoyable to read.
    All in all it was a great novel, not a heavy crime novel, but just the right balance. I definately enjoyed it!!

  48. I found dead heat a little slow in the first chapter,but I kept reading and then really got into it the thought of a body being dumped in the Aussie bush in the heat of summer is scary as its so huge and hot you may never find it the story was intregeging and interesting and the two main characters being attracted to each other and becoming more aware of the fact with every page you turn gave you a sense of hope I think this is a wonderful book to curl up on the couch and read I loved it even though the first chapter was a little slow keep going and then you won’t want to put it down you will be wondering what’s going to happen next and you won’t be disappointed. Thanks beauty and lace for a fantastic book

  49. Absolutely amazing book! Loved reading every second of it! Will definately be recommending this to all my family and freinds 🙂 Thanks Beauty and Lace for a fantastic read!

  50. I had the perfect opportunity to read Dead Heat this week, as I sprained my ankle and was therefore laid up for the day…..well with the kids at school, husband at work and the house to myself I definitely took advantage of the situation!

    I must say it has been quite some time since I started and finished a book in a day, but this one was so very easy to read that I was finished it in no time.

    I would not pick up a book like this in a book shop; it’s just not the sort of fiction I like to read. Having said that, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed Dead Heat. The story was fast paced, the characters were fairly well drawn and the plot was (mainly) believable. It managed to keep my interest and I was keen to find out what became of the charcaters at the end.

    I can easily see this being made into a movie and I would love to see it, and I’m sure the Aussie bush would be the star!

    Thanks for the opportunity to read this novel; I will definitely pass it along to my mum and sisters for them to read.

  51. I struggled to get into it at the beginning. I am not sure if it was the setting – outback Australia which I not get into as I am unfamiliar with or the characters.
    But it got better.. a drug cartel.. in outback Australia. Who would have thought? I think the romance between Jo and Nick was the focus i guess like previous posters pointed out.

  52. Thank you beauty & lace for the chance to read Deep Heat . I absolutly loved this book couldn’t put it down i’ve been in hospital for a week & that’s all i did was have my head stuck in this book alot of ppl ask me what it’s like i say it’s a brillant aussie outback story like a mystery can’t wait for the next book bring it on i say there getting better & better 10 out of 10 for this 1

  53. i have to admit, this book took me a little while to get into it – I didn’t find myself unable to stop reading until a fair way into the book. It was wonderful to be able to relate to the surroundings of the bush life and the details of a hot Aussie Summer.
    I did enjoy following the relationship of Jo and Nick and it didn’t take long to figure out who I did and did not like, although some connections with the book took some time to make, relationships and feelings about characters developed very quickly for me.
    I did have to wonder though plot-wise if perhaps the author was trying to fit in too much too quickly… Just my thought. Definitely not a bad read though!
    Thank you so much for the opportunity to read and review this book!

  54. Browyn Parry delivers a powerful story about human fragility and what we will do if given a choice and only our will to survive…
    We follow the loves and losses of Nick and Jo, as their worlds are turned upside down in the beauty that is Outback North West NSW.

    The author looks at what happens when secrets of a past collide with secrets of the present, we read through as Nick’s past follows him and threatens to destroy someone he has grown very fond of.

    We join Nick in his fight to find a killer, during his journey we look at the world as it was and the world as it is now, someone hunts Nick and Jo: we look at choices of flight or fight and what decisions need to be made in order to protect himself and those that he loves – He holds close a secret that torments his soul and makes him realise that he will always have the strength and morals that makes up the human spirit.

    Bronwyn Parry makes the reader question what would we as a species do should our world be changed and plagued with death, and new terrors that lie in wait around every corner. The reader is transformed into the beauty of the NSW outback where even in the stillness someone lurks.

    I give ‘Dead Heat’ 5 stars out of 5 – Bronwyn Parry is a brilliant writer who uses great structure and imagination to transport the reader to the past, bring them back to the present and give them a glimpse at what the future may hold for Nick and Jo.

  55. Firstly, thank you so much Beauty & Lace for giving me this opportunity to read and review this wonderful Aussie book! I love getting lost in different types of stories and I especially loved getting lost in this story and being about to relate to the rugged, hot and humid outback as I’ve lived a good part of my life in a similar area.

    I found the story easy and read and the characters easy to follow and the chapters flowed neatly into one another and I found myself and I usually do, not being able to put it down!

    The storyline was very well written and interesting and kept my interest all the way through the book. It sometimes made me think what really could be going on in the outback that we are so unaware of. It opened my mind and heart and I cannot wait to share it with my sister and mum who I think will also love delving into this book.

    Thanks again, highly recommended! <3

  56. Firstly, thank you for the opportunity to read “Dead Heat”!
    Now, onto what I thought of it…
    At first, I found it a bit hard to get into – I felt the plot had a lot of information for the readers to digest without necessarily having the story advance significantly. But it slowly got easier to read as the plot progressed.
    I wasn’t sure about Nick and Jo as characters – I didn’t feel like I was getting to like either of them…but as their relationship became stronger, it became easier for me to understand the…does that make sense? Haha
    Overall, I enjoyed “Dead Heat” quite a bit. It’s not necessarily my favourite ‘thriller’, but I liked it enough to recommend it to friends, and for it to have a permanent place on my book shelf!

  57. I loved this book with a passion, fabulous reading that kept me on my toes the whole time I was reading it. I loved the characters, the story plot and the suspense. It was great at the end that the two main characters Jo and Nick fell madly in love.

    The book was so well written and very easy to read and kept me interested the whole time.

    I highly recommend this book for reading and would like thank Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read such an amazing book. Well done.

  58. the first chapter was a little slow but when i got to the second chapter I kept on wondering what would happen every time i turn the page . this book has romance, action and mystery right through the book. my favourite part was when jo and nick were trying to survive when there is a group of people are after both of Jo and Nick………

    great book, thank you for the opportunity to read it.

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