Series: Krewe of Hunters #32.5
Published by Dark Nights Press on September 8, 2020
Genres: Paranormal romantic suspense
Format: Kindle or ebook
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Also in this series: Phantom Evil, The Hidden, Heart of Evil, Haunted Destiny, Deadly Fate, Darkest Journey, Dying Breath, Echoes of Evil, The Summoning, The Seekers, The Unholy
Also by this author: Phantom Evil, The Hidden, Flawless, Heart of Evil, Haunted Destiny, Deadly Fate, Darkest Journey, A Perfect Obsession, Dying Breath, Echoes of Evil, The Summoning, The Seekers, The Unholy
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham comes a new story in her Krewe of Hunters series…
Casey Nicholson has always been a little bit sensitive, and she puts it to use in her shop in Jackson Square, where she reads tarot cards and tea leaves. She’s not a medium, but she can read people well.
When the ghost of Lena Marceau comes to her in the cemetery, shedding tears and begging for help, Casey’s at first terrified and then determined. Lena knows she was the victim of a malicious murder. Assumes her husband was, as well, and now fears that her daughter and sister are also in danger. And all over what she believes is someone’s quest to control Marceau Industries, the company left to Lena’s late husband.
Casey isn’t sure how she can help Lena. She isn’t an investigator or with any arm of law enforcement. But when she receives a visit from a tall, dark and very handsome stranger—ironically an FBI agent—she realizes that she’s being drawn into a deadly game where she must discover the truth or possibly die trying.
Special Agent Ryder McKinley of the Krewe of Hunters has his own strange connection to the case. Hoping to solve the mystery of his cousin’s death, he arrives at Casey’s shop during his hunt for answers and finds something wholly unexpected. He fears that Casey’s involvement puts her in danger, yet she’s already knee-deep in deadly waters. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to do but follow the leads and hope they don’t also fall prey to the vicious and very human evil hunting his family.
Uneven execution mars this Krewe of Hunters tale
The Dead Heat of Summer is fairly short, and to be honest, I don’t feel it lives up to the others in the series. Neither the situation nor the mystery were particularly believable, and I had basically figured it out whodunnit before I reached the midpoint. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not the best place to start if you’re new to the series.
I liked Casey and Ryder. However, there were some issues of character and plot that should have been caught in editing. In one case, the author seems to have realized as she was writing that the narrative needed to provide more information — more reasons for Casey’s involvement and the risks to her safety, more information about Lena — gave their backstory more of a relationship, and then never went back to adjust the early scenes to show a friendship between them, rather than a vague and distant shopkeeper-to-customer acquaintance. Another instance involves Ryder’s initial, adversarial reaction to Casey’s involvement, which reads more like a plot device than something that flows from who he is. Lena, the ghost, feels inconsistent in her reactions, and there are one or two other odd details or awkward choices here and there. (See below for an example, if you don’t mind mild spoilers.)
All in all, I think The Dead Heat of Summer could have benefited from a more well-though-out plot line and better editing, as well as more pages to develop character relationships and build up the suspense.