Book Review: Deep Down Dead – Steph Broadribb

Deep Down Dead

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. 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.

My Review

Confession: this has been on my Kindle for ages and ages. I bought it after seeing Steph Broadribb at Newcastle Noir last spring (this event formed most of my reading list for 2017 to be honest!) and I really liked the sound of it and the way she talked about her heroine Lori Anderson, a bounty hunter in Florida. I was also hugely impressed that Steph Broadribb had trained as a bounty hunter herself to ensure that it was accurately represented in Deep Down Dead.

Lori is mother to the wonderfully loveable nine-year old Dakota who suffers from leukaemia and when the medical bills mount up she is forced to take a job to bring a fugitive to Florida to answer bail. Unfortunately she has nobody to care for Dakota and so reluctantly takes her along to capture JT, her former mentor and keeper of her secrets. We learn about their history in flashbacks, discovering what happened in Lori’s past, how JT helped and the push/pull of their relationship. The electricity between these two characters crackles and fizzes and within a few pages of reading about their first meeting I was fully invested in both Lori and JT.

The plot is like something out of a high-octane film, it is clever, well thought out and it develops at a wonderful pace. There are twists and turns (which I didn’t see coming) and moments of genuine threat where I couldn’t stop reading as I just had to know what happened next. There is also a wonderful sense of place in Deep Down Dead, it is 100% American – motels, diners, road-trips and the mafia all make an appearance. I could feel the heat of the Florida sun and imagined myself riding alongside Lori and Dakota as they drive to collect JT.  The cherry on top however is the characterisation; a fearless woman who can take down a group of men, a woman who would do anything for her daughter, a woman who can handle a gun, a woman who is sentimental,  a woman who is duplicitous, a woman who is emotional – Lori is woman full of contradictions and I loved her for it.

This is an action filled, tense, inventive and wholly entertaining book. Lori Anderson is one of the best characters that I have met in a while and by the end of the book she had become a firm favourite. She is gutsy, ballsy, kick-ass, strong and spending 300 pages with a female lead who is the mistress of her own destiny and is able to hold her own in dangerous and frightening situations was such a breath of fresh air. This is an edge of your seat book and unlike anything I have read before.

Deep Down Dead is an inventive and gripping book which I raced through. It is published by Orenda Books and can be bought here. Excitingly we get to meet Lori again in the follow up book Deep Blue Trouble which can be bought now and which I will be reviewing on the 31st January as part of the Blog Tour.

 

 

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