Published by Orenda Books on January 5, 2017
Deep Down Dead, Steph Broadribb’s action-packed debut, is a breath-taking and exciting crime novel which I could not get enough of. Adrenaline-charged almost from page one, the author’s storytelling grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let go. The protagonist is as ass-kicking as they come. From the moment we meet Lori Anderson I just loved her as a character. She is something so different in this genre. She’s strong, fearless and feisty and I really wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her. Steph has created such a cool character in Lori. She’s a bounty hunter for starters, and how many of them have you read about? Everything about Lori I loved, and I really cannot wait to read future books in this series.
Lori is both a single mum to nine year old Dakota and a bounty hunter. In Deep Down Dead, we see those two roles cross paths as Lori’s job puts her daughter’s life at risk. Lori’s choice to take Dakota with her on a mission is one of those moments early on when I doubted her, but when we learn her motives and see the relationship she has with her daughter, I felt for Lori and could see how this mission was the one she thought could protect her poorly daughter rather than put her in harm’s way. Dakota is a lovely character and I really enjoyed reading her parts in this book. I liked her relationship with her mum, which brings out a softer side to Lori that is often hidden behind her tough exterior.
Lori’s latest job brings her back to her old mentor JT. He was an intriguing character who knew more about Lori than she liked to let on and I was fascinated by their past and her secrets. There is a level of romantic suspense in Deep Down Dead through the relationship between Lori and JT. Things are always complicated between the two of them with plenty of tension and chemistry that made the high-stakes to this book reach even higher.
There was real authenticity in the interactions and the dialogue in this book, in particular between Lori and JT. I think the book would be perfectly suited to the movie screens. It has fast-paced, relentless action with twists and turns, heart-stopping moments, a level of suspense, some romance and a killer ending. I think it would make a brilliant film, although I am of course more drawn to a book where the author keeps you hanging off her every word and reading late into the night, which of course Steph Broadribb managed with ease here. She managed to keep me absolutely gripped to the pages of her book for hours and then, when it was finished, left wanting – needing – to read more.
Steph Broadribb has brought a really fresh voice to this novel and the crime fiction genre in general. From page one she delivers confident writing with fast, pulsating action and a great set of characters who light up the pages. It’s an edgy and breathless story with explosive twists and turns throughout. The action never stops, the pace never slows down, and Deep Down Dead simply got better with every page.