21 March 2020

#Blogtour #Review - Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb

Cover design by kid-ethic
Deep Dark Night (Lori Anderson, 4)
Steph Broadribb
Orenda Books, 5 March 2020
PB, e, 290pp

I'm grateful to Orenda and to Anne for letting me have an advance copy of Deep Dark Night and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

I have to confess, there is a soft spot in my cynical blogger heart for Broadribb's books and especially for her hero Lori Anderson and it was an especial please to meet Broadribb a couple of weeks ago when Orenda brought her - and also Simone Buchholz and Vanda Symon - to a launch at the new Victoria Street Waterstones in London. That already seems another era, and looks like being my last bookish evening for sometime.

But while launches and parties may (temporarily, I hope) be no more the books remain, and in this latest instalment - the fourth featuring Lori - Broadribb has shaken things up to give us quite a different sort of mystery-thriller.

If you haven't met Lori yet, she's just about the toughest bounty hunter that you don't want on your trail, fearless, resourceful and determined. Now she's - finally - managed to get the Miami Mob off her back, brokering a peace of sorts (even if she's got sleepless nights from the slaughter she witnessed in so doing). So its natural that she jumps straight out of the frying pan into another high-stakes, high-octane confrontation, this time with Chicago gang boss Cabressa who has a particularly exclusive poker game to which she's been invited.

This is all at the bidding of shifty FBI agent Alex Monroe, who's got Lori into trouble before and now seems to be doubling down. The result is a sweaty, airless confrontation in a locked down penthouse while the city itself is plunged into darkness. Ten players - each with a secret - go into that penthouse. Somebody wants only one to emerge.

While Lori's previous outings have been road trips - if deadly road trips - as she races across the country, chasing the clock to save somebody or rescue herself from betrayal or double-cross, Deep Dark Night is constructed differently. I see DNA here from crime fiction of the Golden Age, with echoes of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None or of classic locked-room mysteries.  A bunch of strangers, all with reasons to distrust each other, forced together and under pressure.

So. Much. Pressure.

Lori's driven to her limits as she must protect herself (and partner JT), deliver the deal with Monroe that'll free her from his control, and work out just what is going on. Early in the book we see her learning to play poker, and while I know nothing about that game it's obvious that her skills in bluff, assessing the odds, and defeating her opponents by sheer will and cheek, will be key.

They's better be - she's had to hand over her weapons at the door...

This is a claustrophobic, race-against-the-clock thrill ride taking place during the course of one single deep, dark, night when there is no backup, no rules - and no mercy.

It is unlike the previous Lori books - but very like, in that central, dauntless hero who just won't lie down.

As I said, if you haven't met Ms Anderson yet, well here she is. Get to know her through this night, and then find out what she's already done in Deep Down Dead, Deep Blue Trouble and Deep Dirty Truth.

For more information about Deep Dark Night, see the Orenda website here.

You can order the book from your local highstreet bookshop - in these challenging times it's especially important to support local bookshops and as Karen form Orenda sets out in a blog here, the company is supporting bookshops with deliveries at a time when some of the big sellers - including A Big Internet Site - are drawing back. Hive books supports local shops. Alternatively you can visit Waterstones, Blackwell's, Foyles or WH Smith.

The tour continues with more delights to come - see the poster for the next stops!

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