Dead Heat is the long awaited fourth book in Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. While this series can be read without reading the Mercy Thompson books (to which it has strong ties), I would highly recommend reading the Alpha and Omega stories in order, due to the world’s politics.
Taking a trip down to Arizona to buy a horse and see an old friend should’ve been a simple journey for mated werewolves, Anna and Charles Cornick. Unfortunately, things rarely go as planned for the pair, as they quickly find themselves in the middle of an investigation. Something has been hunting children in town and has made the mistake of attacking a family considered Pack. All signs are pointing to the Fae, even though they’ve all quarantined themselves away. Anna and Charles will have to step lightly as they look into the attack to avoid tipping the scales on the cold war between the Fae and humans.
At this point in the series, most of the dust between Anna and Charles has settled. They seem to have reached a point in their relationship where they’re both feeling secure and that shows here. There’s some mild tension between them about the possibility of a baby, but that takes an extreme backseat compared to the other things happening. I’m a huge fan of internal conflict between protagonists, so I definitely missed the tension in Charles and Anna’s relationship throughout Dead Heat.
I will say that the main plot featuring a hunt for the Fae abducting children was great and made-up for the lack of conflict between Charles and Anna. However, this side of the story was extremely slow to get going, for which I blame the horses. There were a lot of horses in this book. If the actual animal wasn’t in the scene, there was a good chance that someone was probably talking about one. It was clear that Briggs did a lot of research into the subject, but all the horse talk really bogged the book down in places. I also would’ve liked to have spent more time with Joseph, the old friend that Anna and Charles went to see in Arizona. His character played a major plot in the story, but had very little actual page time. This was disappointing since Joseph had the potential to carry a lot more emotional weight by giving him more face to face interaction with the other characters rather than just talking about him.
All in all, Dead Heat was a fairly good installment to the Alpha and Omega series. I’ll be curious to see if Briggs has any plans to write another book featuring Charles and Anna though. Throughout the book it felt like their story had basically wound down.
ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.