Tuesday, March 3, 2015

ARC Review: "Dead Heat" by Patricia Briggs

Dead Heat
by Patricia Briggs
Alpha & Omega series, Book 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, 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. 

There is something tremendously satisfying in investing in this series.  We are familiar with the characters, but now we take a deeper dive to learn more and care more about Anna and Charles.

The Alpha & Omega series is an offshoot of the Mercy Thompson series. I love Mercy Thompson and in that series it is Mercy Thompson + Adam Hauptmann.  The Alpha & Omega series is the story of Charles and Anna.  Their relationship is as central to the story as any other plot point.

This is a deep love story played out in the context of death and danger from the Fae. Their love is made more poignant because of who Charles is. As the Marrok’s enforcer, Charles has had to guard his heart for he may at any given time need to “put down” a friend if they break a law or go insane.  That role comes with a tremendous cost. We get insight into why it is so difficult for him to open up and his circle of trust is so narrow.

We see many different layers from both characters.  Charles is playful, prideful, and wholly smitten with Anna. He likes to lavish gifts on her as a means to tell other men, “I can provide for her better than you.” He surprises her with a special gift of a horse that takes him back to a former life as a cowboy.

Revisiting his past life gives Charles the opportunity to be introspective. His best friend, a human, is dying.  Charles has to confront the challenge of long life and human death. In the words of another character, Hosteen, “Dying is easy. . . . Living is brutal.”

Anna’s character also comes out as fierce, loyal and wise.  She understands how to best work with Charles. She knows when to push and when to pull back. We get to see more of her role as an Omega.  She soothes, she defuses, she calms. It is her super power.

The rest of the narrative is the perfect blend of suspense and terror. The Fae become more and more dangerous with each successive l book. They have supposedly retreated from the human world, but they still pose a deadly threat. The potential for war between the humans and fae is growing. The Fae have unleashed the inmates from the asylum to harass, intimidate and terrify humans. Fae’s favorite prey are children. Children are targeted by the bogey man and they are disappearing. Charles and Anna work like Holmes and Watson to solve the scary mystery to a sad, but satisfying end.

Charles and Anna are beloved to me, even more so after this book. I don’t know if you can read this as a standalone.  I went back to read the prequel, Alpha & Omega to fully appreciate how far Charles and Anna’s relationship has evolved. I would recommend starting from the beginning and enjoying, savoring every word.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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