The Dead Heat of Summer, by Heather Graham

September 10, 2020 Book Reviews 6 ★★½

The Dead Heat of Summer, by Heather GrahamThe Dead Heat of Summer by Heather Graham
Series: Krewe of Hunters #32.5
Published by Dark Nights Press on September 8, 2020
Genres: Paranormal romantic suspense
Format: Kindle or ebook
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon
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two-half-stars
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.

This book may not be suitable for readers under 17 years of age.

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.)

Spoiler
I know the Krewe is unusual for an FBI unit, but since when does Jackson Crowe have time to drop everything and come to New Orleans to babysit? OK, he’s guarding two people, one of whom happens to be a toddler. But he’s the head of the entire division! It’s just not believable. Maybe if he had already been on vacation in the area, or something, but that’s clearly not the case.

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.

two-half-stars

About Heather Graham

NY Times best-selling author Heather Graham majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write, working on short horror stories and romances. After some trial and error, she sold her first book, WHEN NEXT WE LOVE, in 1982 and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. She wrote the launch books for the Dell’s Ecstasy Supreme line, Silhouette’s Shadows, and for Harlequin’s mainstream fiction imprint, Mira Books.

Heather was a founding member of the Florida Romance Writers chapter of RWA and, since 1999, has hosted the Romantic Times Vampire Ball, with all revenues going directly to children’s charity. She has been published in approximately twenty languages, and her books have won awards from Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, and Romantic Times, as well as major bookstore chains.

Heather loves travel and anything have to do with the water, and is a certitified scuba diver. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift, and she is grateful every day to be doing something that she loves so very much for a living.

Heather is also published as Heather Graham Pozzessere and Shannon Drake.

6 Responses to “The Dead Heat of Summer, by Heather Graham”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I can read them so much more quickly than I can listen, so I haven’t tried the audiobooks yet. (Also, it’s easier for me to skim past the gory bits; I don’t like to dwell on them.) I agree with you about novellas; it can be tougher to fit everything in, so to speak.

  1. Katherine

    I definitely agree about the uneven execution in this series. I’ve found the first book in the trilogies that come out each year are usually really good and then the book gets worse as it goes along. I read the 3rd book in the trilogy that took place a few years ago recently and honestly just didn’t care about it but am now reading the first in last year’s trilogy and really enjoying it! I think I’ll skip the short story.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I hadn’t noticed that pattern, but I think you’re right! This short story is certainly not necessary to the overall series, so you’re fine to skip it.

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