Friday, 10 February 2017

Book Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #4)

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, 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.

My Review:
For Anna's birthday, Charles wants to buy her a horse and it's a good excuse to visit his old friend Joseph, whose family own a horse ranch. But Joseph is dying and against his wishes, his family want Charles to turn him and Maggie, Charles ex and Joseph's wife is not very happy to see Anna. But when a dangerous fae starts kidnapping children and targeting Joseph's family, having extra werewolves around could be the only protection they have.

The one really good thing about this series is that the characters are continually evolving. In this book we see one of the best friends Charles ever had, Joseph who never wanted to be a werewolf and was happy to live out a human life despite having a werewolf son who is the local Alpha, Hosteen. When Hosteen's daughter-in-law Chelsea is attacked by the fae and her only chance to live is being turned, it causes hostility between Charles and Hosteen, not least because Chelsea is part witch. Charles is in pain at what is happening to Joseph and doesn't want to lose him, but will not turn him against his will, which would be a death sentence for Charles. Maggie was always interested in Charles but chose a human life with Joseph and Charles still has great affection for her. Again we are seeing a more human and fragile side to Charles and I enjoy that.

Anna knows the history between Charles and Maggie and does not feel threatened by it, which shows that she is now comfortable in her role as his mate. She notices that Maggie likes her when she thinks Anna is a weak and timid girl ruled by Charles, but starts to dislike her when she sees that Anna and Charles are true partners-what Maggie could have had if she had not chosen his best friend. Hosteen is certainly bigoted against Chelsea which causes issues with son Kage, and Anna is determined to protect Chelsea from any attempts to hurt her while she cannot defend herself. I loved the scene with Anna deciding that she was going to deal with the man eating teacher who kept flirting with Charles!

The Fae story starts with Chelsea being 'infected' with the desire to hurt her own children but she is strong and is able to fight it, hurting herself instead to keep them safe until Anna and Charles can come to her aid. Charles knows her only chance is to be turned, with Kage giving consent, to Hosteen's fury. But why was Chelsea attacked in the first place? It did annoy me a bit that there was so much focus on the birthday gift and Maggie's jealousy, and that it took until page 142 for any investigation at the day care centre where Chelsea first felt ill and where her daughter Mackie said that things were bad. That should have been priority not cooing over the various horses for sale.

My other bugbear about this book was the frequent info dumps on horse breeding, horse breeds, the ranch operations, styles of riding and other horse things that were not vital to the story. It slowed things down in places which was frustrating and those not greatly interested in horses would have found parts of this really boring. I do like horses but I wasn't greatly interested in hearing about all this through the book when there was such a good main plot developing. I felt at times that the plot was being shoved into the background in the first half of the book and nobody seemed to care about catching the Fae that nearly killed Chelsea and her kids!

When it does finally focus on the Fae story it is very good. Children from the area are being snatched and replaced by a fake child which destroys the people around it, and the investigation reveals that a few former child victims in the past escaped and are willing to share their experiences to save these kids. This Fae does not like anyone with witch blood which seems to be why Joseph's family have been dragged into it with Chelsea and her kids on the hit list. I liked the emotional scenes and the action, especially the ending.

Good book but a star dropped for the waffle in the first half.
Read December 2016. 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png


  1. I have so much love for this series. Anna and Charles are amazing characters. I do remember that it took a bit for the mystery to really get going in this one but it was so worth it.

    1. The way Patricia Briggs writes her characters is great, in both series. She writes men and women equally well and knows how to put a story together. Pity it could be a long wait for more of Anna and Charles!