I can’t believe I’ve read all three books in the series and never got to review the previous two. Well, it didn’t help that my laptop died with my thoughts on the books in it… So, today’s blog post, in addition to shout my love for Deep Dirty Truth, will also be a formal / confidential *coughs* (how confidential can a public post be?) review about the series as a whole.
I would like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this Orenda blog tour. I’d missed it 🙂
Title: Deep Dirty Truth (Lori Anderson #3)
Author: Steph Broadribb
Publisher: Orenda Books
Date of publication: 10th January 2019
Format: uncorrected e-copy
Number of pages: 320
A price on her head, and just 48 hours to expose the truth, and save her family… Single mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob, who they want her dead. But rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’– Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.
With only 48 hours before North is due to appear in court, Lori sets across Florida, racing against the clock to find him, and save her family…
Brimming with tension, high-stakes jeopardy and high-voltage action, and a deep, emotional core, Deep Dirty Truth is an unmissable thriller by one of the freshest and most exciting voices in crime fiction.
For a reader to follow a series, they have to find something specific in it. Something that makes them tick. That addictive X factor that makes sure you always come back. The Lori Anderson series is no exception. But there are many reasons why I am always ready for a rendezvous with Steph Broadribb’s female character.
In no particular order (except for the cowboy boots, because PINK COWBOY BOOTS!): Cowboy boots. Adrenaline. Fast cars. Faster decision-making. Bad surprises. Blood. Good surprises. Betrayal. Rules. Plans. Characters to die for. Dilemmas. Guns.
Steph Broadribb writes stories like no-one else. She then shuts them up in a barrel of powder and it explodes in your face as soon as you open the first page of the book.
Having breathing issues? Grab oxygen before you start reading.
Heart problems? Take your pills!
Insomnia? You picked the right novels because once you start, there’s no way your eyes are going to turn away from the fountain of excitement and chills.
Three books and Lori Anderson is a legend. Not the hero-I-can-do-anything kind. No, she’s a woman, she’s a lover, she’s a mother, she’s a friend… and she’s bounty hunter. Now I have a thing for women who have the balls to choose this path. I want to be Lori when I grow up.
And not just because I want a taser and a sexy-as-hell ex…
So, I hear you say ‘why?’
Can I make this answer simple? Let’s try. Lori is one of those women who has the most amazing strength, and life (or rather her sadistic creator (Love you, Steph!!! xD) gives her no choice but to find it deep within herself to survive.
We learn early on in Deep Down Dead that Lori was like many women before her and unfortunately, like many women these days. But instead of ending up in some stats on a bureaucrat’s desk, a ‘chance’ encounter changes her life for the better and the worst. What makes Lori special is the choices she makes. Sure, she’s pushed to the edge so many times that one can wonder just how much she can take, but that’s EXACTLY IT. She can take it. She takes it all, wanted or not. From a victim to a woman standing on her own two feet, carrying scars, guilt, and, let’s be honest, bad luck, she walks tall and doesn’t shy away from what needs to be done without ever, ever becoming cold and harsh. Oh, she may seem that way to those coming after her, or strangers, or whoever crosses her path when she’s on a mission, but the author makes sure that Lori’s biggest strength, her humanity, never fails her. That’s what makes her a super-hero to me. Lori follows rules, or at least, her head does, but her heart is never far away. In a dark and grey world where justice involve guns and nothing is fair, I can only fall for a woman trying to make a difference.
No, Lori doesn’t want to make the world a better place. She didn’t receive a text from the whatever Heavens to save our planet from evil. She wants to earn a living and take care of her daughter. But in doing so, she reminds us of the importance of the choices we make when dealing with a crap hand during a poker game.
Did I say I love Lori Anderson? Like, I want us to go fire-training together.
Dakota Anderson. Don’t believe that because a kid is involved, you won’t get gun blazing and blood oozing from big holes. If Lori is a grownup with balls, then Dakota is the smaller version of her kickass mother. Sweet, clever, but vulnerable, Dakota brings life to the novels. Lori is driven by her love for her daughter. Now, let me tell you something. I’ve heard many times that this kind of element doesn’t belong in action thrillers. I laugh at this. Action thrillers need a motive, a powerful engine to go all the way without losing readers who want more meat to their books than just guys punching each other. I’ve also heard that only mothers would really react to a parent-child trope. So, women without kids have no feelings? Men don’t have emotions? If executed the way it should be, anyone can feel the terror of a mother away from her daughter, or the mountain of courage and will she’ll show to keep her safe. Steph Broadribb, on top of being fantastic at making me jump from my seat and scream ‘Nooooooooo!!!!!!!’ during hot scenes (talking about dangerous chapters, not erotica stuff!), also does characterisation and matters of the heart perfectly. I felt for Dakota, I went through hell with Lori trying to do what she thought was best. My heart leapt from joy and felt as heavy as stone. The unremitting worry stayed by my side as I fought for those two to be reunited, reading as fast as my tired eyes would allow me to reach a happy ending…
Now, one thing that Steph Broadribb doesn’t actually do is happy endings!!! I’m not saying everybody dies and you spend your hours crying. But with each novel comes new problems. Never had I seen layers of action, character history, and intricate missions been so beautifully put together. It reminds me of those Final Fantasy games where you have no choice but to put one foot in front of the other other to reveal a map that grows wider as you go, with more bad guys, more quests, more complicated puzzles to solve. When you think it’s over, someone laughs at you and throws you into another level with new monsters to fight. Although it might not be so fun for Lori, I just adore this endless forest she’s stuck in. With every novel, we unravel new sides of her, of Dakota, of JT (I know, I haven’t talked about him in this review but I feel he’s the kind of guy you need to meet to really understand who he is. Or try to.) and boy aren’t they a great team to spend time with!
The Lori Anderson series wouldn’t be what it is without relentless action never letting up, big guys to deal with, and mobs to run from. You know about those trains with no brakes that keep going and going, always faster, more dangerous with every turn? That’s what the author has created. You don’t need a dead corpse on every page to keep the tension up. Nothing works better than a high dose of activity and then a welcome respite. This way, your brain goes from figh or flee to huge brain waves performance, and I do love my action when it’s all in the head. Good bounty hunters will tell you that all is in the preparation. Being able to deliver is great, but without a plan, you’re screwed. Of course, nothing is ever black and white… Plans evolve as events unfolds and you can find no flaws in Steph Broadribb’s masterful and evil plots.
Deep Dirty Truth hits the ground running and that’s the way we want it. Even though I was expecting it, seeing her family life being trashed by a job ‘offered’ by the Miami mob had be both shamelessly excited and desperately praying it wasn’t true. That’s the beauty of it. I root for Lori with all my strength, but I never want to see her take the door out. And this third novel hints at the matter… What is it with Lori that takes her to the centre of storms? Yes, outside forces are playing a part, but isn’t there something in her that loves this life, too? No time to think about this, as she’s snatched from her complicated new balance with JT and her life with Dakota to wreck an FBI protective custody operation and steal a guy the mob wants to have back. There’s no way out for Lori and another setting appears: Lori on one side, JT and Dakota on the other. Both boats floating on uncertain and hazardous waters.
I’ll admit, I was dubious about the FBI thing… How could a single woman, however good, could pull off an extraction mission? Now I feel guilty about judging Lori so quickly. I’m not saying no blood gets spilled and unicorns help our bounty hunter escape all trouble. It’s not the house’s way of doing things! The explosions of biscuits in my hand as I was reading prove I was totally shocked and absolutely in love with Lori and the way she handled things. To spice things up, the guy everyone seems to want is an old acquaintance, bringing back links to the previous novels and digging a little deeper into Lori’s flesh and mind. I love the fact each book contains events that happen so close to each other because, just like in Lori’s life, you don’t have time to process everything at once, you get the info, and you think later because GUNS!!!! And betrayals. Or are they? And then peace. Or so you think! Then you think again and you learn. You put the pieces of the puzzle together, and the picture broadens with each chapter. Magic, isn’t it?
Deep Dirty Truth is the proud third instalment in a punchy, crazily-fast paced kickass series you NEED TO READ.
Now, I don’t need to put a price on your head for you to read this, you know you want it! Amazon
Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases.
She is also a member of the crime-themed girl band The Splice Girls.
Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University
London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which inspired her Lori
Anderson thrillers. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and
chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good