“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.
The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past. Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.”
I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on Steph Broadribb’s Deep Down Dead blog tour which I share with the ever so lovely Tracy Shephard over at Postcard Reviews. I’ve been blogging for just over a year now but one of the very first bloggers I followed and was inspired by was Steph Broadribb (as her alter ego Crime Thriller Girl). Steph has made a name for herself as a well-respected reviewer, someone whose bookish thoughts you can trust. So I was absolutely thrilled to hear that she was on the brink of publishing her debut novel. Deep Down Dead had a real draw for me and I just had to read it!
Lori Anderson is a kick ass bounty hunter. When offered the opportunity to earn $15,000 to pick up a fugitive and return him to Florida, Lori looks for the catch. Surely such a simple job shouldn’t have such a high price on it. But that lump of cash could go a long way to paying her sick daughter’s hospital bills. Still suspicious, Lori accepts the job only to come face to face with the mugshot of her mentor and ex-lover, JT. Things are already getting complicated. To make matters worse, Lori’s usual babysitter is unable to look after Lori’s daugther, Dakota. Lori reluctantly packs a bag for her little girl and takes her along for the ride. It’s an easy job so it shouldn’t be a problem having Dakota by her side. After several days of driving the girls finally arrive at the collection point but things turn nasty and the three thugs holding JT don’t want to give him up without a fight. It’s only the beginning of a long, complicated and incredibly dangerous drive back to Florida. Lori fights to protect her daughter and keep a handcuffed JT safe, but that’s easier said than done…
Deep Down Dead is a seriously good book and one that all crime thriller fans should read. I still can’t comprehend that this is a debut novel. The writing is confident, skilled and oh boy, can Steph Broadribb tell a good story! Her characters felt real to me. The scenes I could picture, in crystal clear clarity, in my head. If anyone is looking for a book to make into a movie then choose this one. This book is destined for the big screen! It’s so wonderfully american that I devoured it.
Oh Lori Anderson, how I want to be you! Ex-pole dancer turned bounty hunter Lori is the most likeable, most believable heroine I’ve met in a book in a long time. She fights, she shoots, she beats herself up on a regular basis for not being a good enough mum to her daughter. This woman carries a taser around with her for goodness sake, and she’s not afraid to use it. Forget your Wonder Woman, forget your SuperGirl, I want to be Lori.
And then we have JT. What can I say about JT apart from the fact that his name makes me swoon. I do believe that I’m becoming a bit soft as I really don’t like relationships in my crime thrillers but I’ve read a number recently where I’m suddenly thinking, I rather like their chemistry. Well forget all other chemical reactions, JT and Lori make the rest quietly and insignificantly fizzle out, phut. Their chemistry leaps off the page at you. They show very little interest in each other but oh wow, it sizzles. Loved it!
The plot doesn’t really slow down at any stage. This is a fast moving read and, be warned, it’s addictive. At times when I had to do other things, all I wanted to do was dive straight back into Deep Down Dead. I found myself at times daydreaming about Lori, Dakota and JT, replaying scenes in my head. I particularly loved the sections based in and around the theme park. They were full of action, I truly felt for Lori and they were dark enough to make me feel on edge.
Would I recommend this book? Well, yes, of course I would. For me, this is the book that every other book has to beat this year to become my favourite read of 2017. It’s early days but Deep Down Dead is a long way in the lead at the moment (and we’re not even done with January yet!). Absolutely everything I want in my novels, and maybe even a little bit more. Astounded that this is a debut and looking eagerly forward to reading the second book in the series. Superb.
Five out of five stars.
Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 5th January 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook editions | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Orenda Books |
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 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.