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. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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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