Book review: Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb

Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb
Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb

The stakes are high, the danger is deadly, the suspense is heart-thumping and it can only mean one thing… Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson is back in action!

Steph Broadribb – perhaps best known by her alter ego, Crime Thriller Girl, an online blogger and book reviewer – returns with a new mission seemingly impossible for her feisty, fearless, kick-ass heroine with nerves of steel and a heart of gold.

What many crime fans may not be aware of is that Broadribb, who lives in Buckinghamshire with a menagerie of horses, cows and chickens, also trained in faraway California as a bounty hunter and she is using her experiences for an exhilarating series which began last year with Deep Down Dead.

And boy, are these fast-paced adventures a rollicking, rip-roaring ride… Lori is proving to be a formidable leading lady. She’s smart, tough, straight-talking, takes every corner at full speed but has an unexpected soft side and an appealing emotional depth, mainly through having a young daughter battling leukaemia.

Deep Blue Trouble picks up only days after the first book ended but can easily be read as a standalone as Broadribb quickly brings us up to speed with the back story before easing into top gear for another non-stop, all-action thriller.

Lori Anderson feels like she has got an ocean of trouble on her hands. Her nine-year-old daughter Dakota is safely tucked away in a summer camp but her cancer is threatening to come back.

The child needs a bone marrow transplant and there’s only one person who can help… James Robert Tate (alias JT), Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything about bounty hunting, and falling in love.

Problem is, JT is behind bars and heading for Death Row on homicide charges after taking ‘the fall’ for Lori on their last, perilous job. Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking an off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe.

Her target is on-the-run felon Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher. If she can bring him back, JT will walk free but the Miami Mob gangsters want JT too. Following Fletcher from Florida to California, Lori teams up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor and his team.

Dez works very differently to Lori, and soon 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 is hitting brick walls at every turn. But this is one job she has got to get right, or she’ll lose everything.

Broadribb continues to take our breath away, not just with Lori’s electrifying feats of daring but a plot featuring more twists and turns than a Hollywood disaster movie.

But while the action is relentless, the danger hair-raising and the tension palpable, Deep Blue Trouble still delivers a powerful emotional punch as the romance between Lori and JT simmers tantalisingly, and Dakota’s illness hangs over Lori like a dark shadow.

The constant juggling of work and motherhood, aggression and affection, danger and domesticity make Lori a seductive star, excitingly extraordinary and yet still identifiably ordinary.

The result is entertainment all the way… don’t miss it!

(Orenda Books, paperback, £8.99)