I want to start this review by saying that Patricia Briggs is one of my all-time favorite authors. Her Mercy Thompson series is hands-down one of the best urban fantasy series out there. Dead Heat is book four of the Alpha and Omega series, a spin-off of Mercy’s world. For some reason, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I wanted to.
For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way…
Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.
I’ve been in a terrible reading funk. Probably one of the worst I’ve ever had, where I’ve left multiple books unfinished. It’s like I’ve lost all desire to read. So I made myself read Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs because it’s from an author I love so I thought it would zap me out of my funk. Unfortunately, my funk either affected my read of this book, or this book just isn’t as good as I’m used to from Briggs.
I really enjoyed the first three books from Charles and Anna. The most interesting thing about their relationship is Anna’s damaged past and Charles’ cold calculation. Dead Heat follows the pair down to Arizona to buy a horse and paranormal activities just so happen to take place.
There were two big issues I had with this book. First, the horse buying/showing was tedious to read. I found myself skimming and skipping as I realized more and more of the pages were filled with horse jargon and unnecessary book fluff. Second, Charles and Anna’s relationship is basically non-existent. They discuss a few couple issues, but for the most part they could be two friends hanging out. There was no romance in this book. I don’t even think they kissed once. I was sorely disappointed.
However, in true Briggs style, the danger was evident through this story, where a Fae is stealing children and leaving a changeling/fetch in its place. The investigation into finding the Fae was intriguing and the final showdown at the end was well-written. In fact, a major death in the end had me shedding a few tears. The fact that I was still emotionally impacted by a story that was for the most part boring me to death is the only thing that saved this book for me.
I may be in a reading funk, but I still think that Briggs missed the mark on this book. I want more of Charles and Anna’s relationship and less of the history and background. The secondary characters in this book were too far-flung from the main characters to be considered secondary. It was like Charles and Anna were dropped into a completely different story and world. However, I did enjoy the ending and I won’t be giving up on Mrs. Briggs.
STARS: 3 out of 5