A Year of Orenda – Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb

I remember when I read the very first Lori Anderson novel. Still recall the feelings I have as I became one hundred percent immersed in the story, enthralled by the characters and loving every bit of the styling and action that Steph Broadribb brought to the book. It’s hard to believe that was only actually a shadow over three years ago as it feels as though Lori has been in our lives forever. As part of our Year of Orenda, I’m taking a look back at that very first book. Here’s what it’s all about:

About the Book

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. 

Breathtakingly fast-paced, both hard-boiled and heart-breaking, Deep Down Dead is a simply stunning debut from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books

My Thoughts

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 gal. 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 no-nonsense attitude is refreshing to say the least. I’m not normally one for brash 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 the quiet moments because from here 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 a bit of an eww moment involving some unsuspecting ‘gators too, although this scene did make 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 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 clear chemistry between the pair. JT is older, stronger and, in some sense, wiser than Lori (with a very definite edge to him (and I can happily say I called it on the JT related book crushes), but it is Lori’s common sense and skills, honed over the years they were apart, that will ultimately prevail. 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, with book four imminent, I for one could not be happier about that fact.

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!

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Lori Anderson Series:

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