Dead Heat by Allison Brennan is the eighth Lucy Kincaid novel, where Agent Kincaid must risk her life and her career to try and bring down a crime lord's empire.
It’s San Antonio, Texas, and it’s hot—but the weather isn’t the only thing heating up. An operation is underway to round up known felons and give them what many believe they have coming to them: justice. Cold, sharp, and mean. Operation Heatwave sees more than 150 police officers and federal agents working together. They intend to serve active warrants to the violent criminals at large.
FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid of the Violent Crimes Squad is delighted to have been chosen to participate and contribute to bringing these people in and neutralizing their web of criminal activities. Her partner is Ryan Quiroz. A Houston cop prior to joining the FBI, he reminds Agent Kincaid of her hot-headed and arrogant brother. But Quiroz is sharp and popular, and she knows she can learn a lot from him.
The two are after the Sanchez brothers, Jaime and George. Armed and dangerous, they are believed to be staying with their sister. When the team pulls up to the Sanchez sister’s house with warrants, they find her, some young children, and George, who is climbing out of the back window. He doesn’t get far.
They apprehend George, but there’s no sign of Jaime. What they do find is a downstairs area that strongly suggests they were keeping people prisoners. Agent Kincaid suspects the Sanchez brothers were keeping young people against their will to get others to do their bidding. People as security deposits. If this is the case, it gives a clear idea of what kind of people the Sanchez brothers are. Guilty, until proven more guilty.
Agent Kincaid wants to get to the bottom of it, but her partner is more interested in sticking to the plan—rounding up the bad guys. Agent Kincaid is not so sure. Some proper evil seems to be lurking in the basement of this house. The Sanchez brothers have a lot to answer for, and she makes it her prime task to get to the bottom of their filthy empire of crime.
But will she go too far in San Antonio?
George starts to make overtures. He is willing to help contribute in locating Jaime and aiding the agents in bringing him to justice. George, of course, is not considering doing this out of the goodness of his heart. Something must be in it for him. There is, but it’s not at all what he expects.
Allison Brennan has created a very well-drawn character in Lucy Kincaid. She will do things by the book if that works, but she’s also willing to go outside the book to get things done. She takes risks—many of them—but she feels it is all worthwhile, as the task of bringing bad people to justice is personal as well as professional. After all, even after eight years, she is still dealing with the aftereffects of her abduction:
When she’d been held captive eight years ago, she’d developed an intense fear of being watched. Now it was like sixth sense to her, when the eyes were on her back, she just knew. At first, when she was still prone to panic attacks, it could be anyone, But over time—with a lot of training and self-discipline—she’d been able to distinguish between people simply glancing at her and people actually watching her.
Her heart started thumping loudly in her ears as she looked in all her mirrors. She was on a busy street, mid-morning traffic still thick. She couldn’t distinguish any vehicles, nothing looked familiar, she saw no-one giving her undue attention. She took deep breaths to force her heart rate to slow. It worked. Two years ago, she might have had a full panic attack, but it hadn’t happened in a long time, and she wouldn’t let it happen now.
Violence and death come in various shapes in Dead Heat. The narrative is powerful and driven. Lucy Kincaid is a complex character who is believable, sympathetic, and very interesting. Her past makes her who she is, and it drives her to stay focused. Dead Heat is a thrilling read, and I look forward to reading more about Lucy Kincaid.
Listen to an audio excerpt from Dead Heat!
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Dirk Robertson is a Scots thriller writer, currently in Virginia where he is promoting literacy and art projects for young gang members. When not writing, tweeting, or blogging on the Mystery Writers of America website, he designs and knits clothes and handbags from recycled rubbish.