Deep Blue Trouble – Steph Broadribb

Published by Orenda Books, January 2018
Source: Review copy
Single-mother Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson’s got an ocean of trouble on her hands. Her daughter Dakota is safe, but her cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT—Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything—alive and kicking. Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row. Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson “The Fish” Fletcher, and JT walks free. Following Fletcher from Florida to California, Lori teams up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor and his team. But Dez works very differently to Lori, and the tension between them threatens to put the whole job in danger. With Monroe pressuring Lori for results, the clock ticking on JT’s life, and nothing about the Fletcher case adding up, Lori’s hitting walls at every turn. But this is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything.

A couple of years ago I read Steph Broadribb’s first book,  Deep Down Dead.  It made my Books of 2016 list, and I said at the time that it was

a *great* thriller, steeped in Americana with settings and characters which feel completely authentic and with a plot which insists that you don’t put it down.

I also said that I couldn’t wait to see what she came up with next. Which neatly leads us to Deep Blue Trouble (though there is another short story featuring our kick-ass bounty hunter heroine Lori, The Last Resort, which is also fabulous).

Deep Blue Trouble finds Lori with a mission from dodgy FBI agent Monroe – track down Gibson “The Fish” Fletcher before anyone else, let Monroe have a quiet five minutes with him, and the FBI will clear JT’s name. And Lori needs JT to stay alive for the sake of her daughter…

Nothing is ever quite that simple, leading Lori on a chase from Florida to San Diego and over the border into Mexico where she’ll need the help of Monroe’s other bounty hunter team, run by Dez McGregor.

Action-packed, no holds barred from the off, this second installment is another roller-coaster ride of action and adventure.

Steph Broadribb has a knack of giving you a sense of Americana, shown once again to great effect as Lori crosses the country, but she also comes up trumps again with some brilliant characters. I liked the way Lori and Dez rubbed up against each other, with their differing styles clashing as they hunt for Gibson. I particularly liked Bobby  Four Fingers! I hope we get to see him again. Lori works best alone though, and it’s where we see her figure stuff out and get stuff done that her character really shines. I loved Lori in Deep Blue Trouble, but here she’s given even more room to show off her skills.

If you love a good action thriller with brilliant characters, a real sense of place, and a great story, then I heartily recommend Deep Blue Trouble. And if you’ve not read Deep Down Dead, then what are you waiting for? Go get them both (with The Last Resort thrown in for good measure)!

I had the great pleasure of seeing Steph at the fantastic Hull Noir festival in November last year, both as part of the Brawlers & Bastards panel, and briefly to say hello and tell her how much I’d enjoyed her first book. If you get the chance to see Steph at a book event, I’d definitely recommend it. She’s appearing as part of the Orenda Roadshow (with lots of other brilliant Orenda authors) at Waterstones Liverpool on Monday 26th February, Waterstones Nottingham on 27th February and Northgate Methodist Church in Warwick on Wednesday, 28th February. If you’re in the area, get yourself along and say hello!

You can find Steph Broadribb on twitter @crimethrillgirl.

Many thanks to @OrendaBooks and @AnneCater for organising the blog tour.

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

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