Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry

Dead Heat by Bronwyn ParryDead Heat by Bronwyn Parry
Series: Goodabri Series #1
Published by Hachette Australia on March 27th 2012
Pages: 352
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National Parks Ranger Jo Lockwood is often alone in the wilderness, and she likes it that way – until she discovers the body of a man, brutally murdered.
Detective Nick Matheson’s new posting to the north-west of New South Wales is supposed to be an uneventful return to normal duties and a normal life. He knows organised crime from the inside out and suspects that the victim in the camping ground is not an isolated murder.
Jo is committed to helping the investigation but she has seen the killer’s face and now she’s at risk. Nick’s determined to protect her but as the body count starts mounting, his past and present collide, threatening the people he cares about most.
Trapped in rugged country in scorching summer heat, pursued by hunters who can’t afford to fail, Nick and Jo will need to trust each other completely, and use all their skills and knowledge in order to survive.

Dead Heat is Bronwyn Parry’s latest undertaking apart from her Dungirri series and a very engaging read despite the narrative and structural similarities – murder, police corruption, organised crime’s shady activities – that drive the plots of her other books. While Parry’s obvious love of the unique Australian rural landscape shines through very clearly in every book that she writes, the biggest draw for me are her characters, who are principled, somewhat tortured but rational enough to put the foibles of the stereotypical romance types to shame.

In Dead Heat, we’ve Detective Nick Matheson and National Park ranger Jo Lockwood whose paths cross after a grisly find in the bush. The slow burn between them was skilfully and realistically handled but I came away feeling like I didn’t know Jo as well as Nick, apart from a defining accident that has largely shaped her wary stance towards commitment and relationships. Nevertheless, I greatly appreciate that Nick and Jo don’t exhibit any of the stereotypical behaviour that I’ve come to associate with romances – sudden, overwhelming, jealousy, over-protective and possessive behaviour, senseless and brainless females.