I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the blog tour for the crime thriller debut of super blogger Steph Broadribb aka Crime Thriller Girl. Her novel ‘Deep Down Dead’ was published by Orenda Books on 5th January.
Lori Anderson is a fearless Florida bounty-hunter and a single mother to nine-year-old Dakota. Determined to do anything she can to look after her daughter, she is in desperate need of a good job to pay for Dakota’s continued treatment for leukaemia. When her boss offers her a job, a seemingly straightforward collection of a bail jumper, she knows that she has no-one to look after her daughter. But with $10,000 on offer, she cannot afford to pass the opportunity up.
Her boss seems reluctant to send her, and it is only when she sees the files on the fugitive that she understands why. The man is known to her, someone she hasn’t seen in ten years. JT, her former mentor, the man who taught her everything she knows. Desperate for the cash, and banking on JT not having changed so much over the years, she packs up Dakota and her truck and heads north to collect him. It’s only when she arrives at the rendezvous point that she realises what a mistake she made in bringing her daughter. What should have been a simple job turns into a battle against a gang of hardened criminals, and when tragedy strikes on the way back to Florida, all of Lori’s worst nightmares start to come true. Because JT has a secret and the reasons for his arrest are not a simple as they seem.
On the run from the mob and desperate to retrieve some evidence that can prove JT’s innocence and stop some very powerful and very evil men from hurting innocent people, the unlikely trio high-tail across country, trying to keep just that one step ahead. When they are ambushed at a gas station, the fight becomes personal, not just for JT but for Lori too. Somehow, she needs to find a way to trust JT and to look beyond the pain that memories of their last encounter still cause her. The lies of those she loves may depend on it.
Oh. My. Word. From the opening scene you can tell there is something very different and something very right about this book. Lori is a woman with an attitude, an edge. Straight talking, focused, wary, she is one tough woman. Someone who has been through the ringer over the course of her life and come out the other side stronger and more in control. Stripper turned bounty hunter, she is focused only on her daughter and her honest talking, no-nonsense attitude is refreshing to say the least. I’m not normally one for brashy female characters, but there is just something about Lori. She won’t take messing from anyone and she uses her wits to out gun any man out there. I really like her style.
After an intrigue laden opening, the first few chapters of this book may lull you into a false sense of security. They ease you in, setting the scene for what will become a high-octane, high-stakes, hellishly gripping and turbulent ride alongside Lori and her target fugitive JT. Make the most of them because once from there on in you’re going to need your strength. After Lori sets off to collect JT you’ll barely get a chance to catch your breath. It is pow after pow of action, the plot twisting as surely as a mountain road, and as JT slowly reveals the truth behind his arrest and the reason for him going on the run, you will be left speechless. And maybe a little creeped out. It definitely depicts the darker side of the Sunshine State. Kind of makes me think twice about heading back to the Magic Kingdom too.
There are no overly gratuitous moments of violence in the book as such, but you can rest assured that both JT and Lori are kick-ass bounty hunters who know how to take care of themselves. Even in the quieter moments the threat is ever present as the people trying to find and stop JT continue to pursue them, constantly punctuating their intent with bullets and murder. Nobody is safe; these people have no conscience whatsoever, happy to use anyone or anything as a pawn to get what they want. There’s even a bit of an eww moment involving some unsuspecting ‘gators too, although that scene also made me smile a little. Call it my perverse sense of humour if you like.
The language and style of the writing is truly authentic, totally in keeping with Lori’s brash nature and her background. Told from her point of view, you get an occasionally skewed view of the action. Unable to forgive herself for what happened in her past and trying desperately to hide an obvious truth from JT, Lori forces herself to keep a distance between them, despite the very obvious chemistry between the pair. He is older, stronger and, in some sense, wiser than Lori (with a very definite edge to him so I can see a lot of JT related book crushes blossoming over time), but it is Lori’s common sense and skills honed over the years they were apart which will ultimately help them out of the hole they are in. The training the author did as a Bounty Hunter and the various ‘equipment’ they use shines through in the writing. Remind me never to upset Miss Broadribb … (my review is in no way influenced by my fear of her ‘skills’.)
As I said before, I really like Lori. Her style, her attitude, her persistence, and her resilience. You cannot fault her dedication to her daughter Dakota, but ultimately, she is loyal to JT too. The beauty of the ending of this book and the reality of her job as a bounty-hunter, means that this series could run on for years and I for one cannot wait to see what happens to our sharp tongued, quick witted, kick-ass heroine next.
A hard-hitting, brash-talking, taser-toting 5 stars from me.
‘Deep Down Dead‘ is available to purchase now at the following links:
About the Author
Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Deep Down Dead is her debut novel. Watch out for Deep Blue Trouble in 2018!
This book really is brilliant but please don’t just take my word for it. Why not check out some of the other fab blogs on this tour.