By T. Mack
Dead Heat is the fourth book in the Alpha and Omega Series by Patricia Briggs. These books are written by the author of the Mercy Thompson Series, exist in the same world and feature many of the same characters. While the story line begins before the events of the Mercy books, this series is a spin-off, not a prequel. Since the central characters are different, this series offers less laughs and a greater focus on the sweet (rather than sexy) romance between the main characters, Alpha-male werewolf, Charles and his wife, Omega werewolf, Anna.
Dead Heat follows the married and mated werewolf couple as they travel to see an old friend of Charles’ who is dying and also purchase Anna a new horse for her birthday. While there, they find themselves in the middle of a Fae’s plot to kill the young granddaughter of Charles’ friend and the great-granddaughter of the area’s local Alpha-werewolf. Because of the werewolf connection to the girl and Charles’ position as his father’s (the leader of all North American werewolves) enforcer, Charles and Anna take it upon themselves to discover and destroy the culprit.
Like all the Alpha and Omega novels, this one has less action, less sarcasm and much more focus on the central relationship than the Mercy books. For this reason, I like the book rather than love it, just as I do the entire series. There is still a lot to enjoy about it, however. This title is well-written with a believable plot that follows the rules of the world Briggs has created, good description and realistic dialogue. The characters are fully rounded and there is Briggs’ signature focus on dynamics within werewolf packs and the way werewolves (as well as people) relate to one another.
While there were some surprises in the book, the story was mostly predictable. Early on I connected some clues that it seemed to take the characters much too long to figure out. In addition, there was a significant focus on one element that may have been interesting to some people, but struck me as quite boring. The characters that Anna and Charles visit are horse breeders and as I mentioned, the main characters plan to purchase a horse. Because of this, there is quite a bit of emphasis on horses, their breeding and how to ride them. This became tedious as the book went on and I found myself wanting to skim and skip over those sections. The only reason I didn’t was that I was listening to an audio book, which makes it more difficult to skip over what you want and not miss some of what you don’t. So I listened to every word about horses but found myself rolling my eyes and sighing heavily as those parts of the book continued.
Dead Heat is by no means a perfect book, but it is enjoyable enough. It’s a solid entry in the Alpha and Omega series and continues the development of the relationship between the central couple. If a reader is familiar with the world of Mercy Thompson, but has not read any previous Alpha and Omega books, they could still enjoy this title. However I don’t really recommend it as there is a lot of reference to the characters’ histories. I don’t recommend the book for anyone who has not read either of Briggs’ series.
Rating: 3 SHIELDS
If someone is interested in diving into the Alpha and Omega series, be aware that the first book, Cry Wolf, is actually a continuation of the short story, Alpha and Omega, which is found in the anthology, On the Prowl. I recommend this series for those who are fans of the Mercy Thompson books and would like to experience more books in Mercy’s world. The book would also appeal to those who may not be fans of Mercy Thompson, but enjoy sweet, supernatural romance over the steamy variety.
#0.4. Alpha and Omega in the anthology, On the Prowl (2007)
#1. Cry Wolf (2008)
#2. Hunting Ground (2009)
#3. Fair Game (2012)
#4.Dead Heat (2015)