Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on Deep Dark Night, the latest Lori Anderson thriller from Steph Broadribb as part of our Year of Orenda. A big thank you to publisher Orenda Books for the advance review copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for fitting us into the tour. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
Fearless Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson travels to Chicago to trap the head of a notorious crime family, in a high-stakes, nail-biting mission that sees her trapped in one of the city’s tallest buildings during a blackout…
A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…
Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.
An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces, one by one. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.
When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.
And that’s just the beginning…
If you’ve been following my blog at all over the past few weeks, you will have seen that I have been resharing my reviews of the Lori Anderson series as part of the Year of Orenda. If you have read any of the reviews, you would be right in thinking that I really quite like this series. I like it a lot. So when I heard there was a new book just around the corner, I was very excited. Very excited indeed.
One of the things I like best about the Lori Anderson series is that Lori is not remotely like your typical action hero. A former stripper turned Bounty Hunter, she is sassy, brash, a real live wire and as fierce as they come. Fierce in terms of her job and fierce in terms of her loyalty and devotion to her friends and, more importantly, her family – Dakota and JT. I have absolutely loved seeing her fighting and chasing and pursuing criminals all across the US, willing her to come good and knowing that even when the odds are stacked against her, her wit and her attitude will see her right.
Deep Dark Night is a slightly different kind of story. Lori is still on the hunt for a dangerous criminal, that much isn’t in doubt, and she is doing all she can for the sake and safety of her family. Again, so far, so familiar. But rather than having to chase this particular criminal down, she knows exactly where he is and, with the help of a very valuable chess set and some dubious instruction from her least favourite FBI Agent, Monroe, Lori has set well and truly baited her hook. She just needs her big fish – notorious mob boss, Cabressa, to bite.
Now this is kind of like a locked room mystery, only very heavy on the locked room part and a little lighter on the mystery. Certainly not one for people with an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia. Caught up in a high stakes poker game, Lori and JT also find themselves stuck in an airtight, panic room or an apartment. With someone else intent on seeing the players pay for their perceived sins, it is not just Cabressa the pair have to hunt and eliminate if they want to stay alive. The stakes are high and despite the action taking place in practically one place, the tension is off the charts. This is high adrenalin, edge of your seat writing, and after the initial set up to the game, which takes mere chapters, the action never stops.
Now a lot of murder happens in this book and it is clear from the outset whodunnit as we bear witness to each and every act, but it is more of a mystery as to who is behind the citywide blackout and the apartment wide lockdown that is putting all of their lives at risk. I loved how the author used two different perspectives, that of Lori and JT, to drive the action and the tension as eventually they find themselves on opposite sides of the impenetrable walls, and both trying. to find the truth before it is too late. We have not spent this much time in JT’s company, inside his head and hearing his voice, before and it adds something special to the story. We get a real flavour of the man and of his total devotion to his family which is every bit as strong as Lori’s.
Characterisation is once again brilliant, with a very diverse set of characters being brought forth on every page. You have the full gamut of gamblers anonymous clientele here, from athletes, to business men, all of them with something to gain and something very important to lose. The setting is spot on as Steph Broadribb captures both the claustrophobic and tense atmosphere of the apartment, the acrophobic nature of JT’s perilous escape down a collapsing fire escape (no way I would do that one – I’d take my chances with a lack of oxygen thanks …), even the looting and lawlessness that sets in once the city is in blackout – everything feels authentic, carefully plotted and serves to increase the tension tenfold.
I think this is possibly one of my favourite books in the series. It has a very different vibe to it in many ways, but there are still so much about it that was familiar taking Lori out of her comfort zone, to a place where she has to use her wits every bit as much as her hunting skills, shows what a strong and unstoppable character her is and showcases why she is one of the most kick ass heroines in current action thrillers. I loved it and fans of the series are absolutely going to east it up. If you haven’t met Lori and JT yet, then go and grab Deep Down Dead. You really need to read this series in order to fully appreciate the evolution of this most brilliant of characters. A top read and no mistake.
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 in her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. She is also a member of the crime-themed girl band The Splice Girls. Steph is an alumni of the MA Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which inspired her Lori Anderson thrillers, She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts. My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym, Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.
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