Horses and fae

Dead Heat  - Patricia Briggs

Loved it. Several reviewers complained about too much horse material in this book, and I agree with them. That’s why 4.5 stars instead of 5 stars. Otherwise, the story was almost perfect.

As in the other Alpha and Omega books, the protagonists Anna and Charles are in trouble. The story started like an idyll. Charles decided to give Anna a new horse for her birthday, so they head to Arizona, to a horse ranch belonging to one of Charles’s old friends, to select this living gift.

Unfortunately, trouble is brewing in Arizona. A child kidnapping, an attempted murder, a malevolent fae spell, and interfering spirits wouldn’t let Anna and Charles enjoy their vacation unchallenged. They must find the bad guy before someone else is made to suffer.

The story flows so fast, I devoured two thirds of the book in one sitting, unable to stop, even though it was too late into the night. The mystery might be a bit simplistic, but the quality of writing more than makes up for it. The tension is constantly on the rise, the pacing is furious, and the dialog real.

In the middle of it all are Anna and Charles, my old friends. I read and enjoyed everything Briggs has written about them, but the other characters in this story, from an old inflexible Native American werewolf to a five year old preschooler girl, are just as alive and full of contradictions as the two heroes.

The only real problem with this book was that both Anna and Charles have become static. Neither develops or grows. If I didn’t like them so much from the previous books I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed this one so thoroughly. The author relies on her readers knowing and liking her characters already, so half of the pleasure comes from old memories of the leading characters rather than from their current adventures.

Recommended, but don’t start the series with this book. Read the other installments first.