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Northern heat by Helene Young
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Northern heat

by Helene Young

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I first had the pleasure of hearing Helene Young speak earlier this year, and boy, is she interesting! (Not to mention that she puts clips and pictures of great movies and lovely looking gentlemen in her Powerpoint presentations). My mother has been reading Helene avidly since her first book, and I have been neglectful in taking daughterly advice and reading her novels. Until now. Northern Heat is a gripping, action-packed novel set in the sultry climes of Far North Queensland during cyclone season (you know what that means, don’t you?) In between the action, there are well developed, intense storylines and the story is topped off with a sweet and steamy romance. What more could you ask for?

Set in Cooktown, the story follows two main characters, Conor and Kristy. (Some readers will recognise Conor from Helene’s previous book, Safe Harbour, but it’s not necessary to read it first. I didn’t.) Conor lives on his yacht Veritas in the harbour. He’s got a tragic past that appears rather shady to some of the other people in Cooktown, such as the police. No real job, no real ambitions…who is this man? So when a man is murdered at his front door, suspicions turn to Conor. Meanwhile, Dr Kristy Dark has escaped to Cooktown after the deaths of two members of her family to be closer to her parents. Her daughter Abby is trying to match make Conor and Kristy and sparks definitely fly between the pair. But, as Kristy’s friend Freya is trying to leave her violent husband (something Kristy knows all too well), romance takes a back seat after a minor accident causes a disproportionate reaction on Kristy’s behalf. Then Cyclone Kate decides to take in Cooktown and things turn dangerous for Kristy and Conor as they race to save Abby and Freya’s daughter Sissy. Who will win – Mother Nature, the bad guys or Kristy and Conor?

Northern Heat could be classified as romantic suspense, but I think anyone with an interest in action-packed reads should give it a go. I found it more suspense than romance and I don’t think there is a better contemporary author writing suspense than Helene Young. The cyclone scenes are wonderfully atmospheric and true to what it is like to be in the middle of such extreme weather. The build up to the finale was also taut, making me wonder if a happy ending was going to be a possibility! But it’s not just action that Helene excels at. All her characters are intricately crafted and completely different. The characters right down to the minor ones have a backstory and nuances that make them memorable. I also enjoyed how Kristy and Conor’s dark pasts were revealed in stages - just enough to understand how they were reacting to various events, but leaving me hungry to know more. The topic of domestic violence was also handled sensitively, showing the different forms through the characters but also offering hope.

I’m eager to read more books now by Helene Young now that I’ve started – I think her books would be perfect for holidays (making the travel time just fly by) or for when you can stay up late into the night reading!

Thank you to Penguin Australia for the eARC. My thoughts are 100% honest.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
1 vote birdsam0610 | May 23, 2015 |
Helene Young delivers another exciting and engaging romantic suspense novel with Northern Heat, her sixth novel.

Northern Heat begins with a murder and the suspense and action continues as Connor is targeted by both police and the bad guys. Throw in a vicious assault, a frightened wife, rebellious teens and a cyclone bearing down on the town, and the story is fast paced and tension-filled. The last few chapters in particular had me frantically flipping the pages.

Readers familiar with Safe Harbour will recognise Connor as the stranger rescued from wild seas by Darcy Fletcher and Noah Moreton. A financial manager who turned over evidence against the Russian Mafia, Connor is living under an assumed named on a yacht moored at Cooktown, investigating a lead on the identity of the hitman who murdered his wife and child, while doing his best to atone for his past sins.

Connor first meets Dr Kristy Dark at the Cooktown PCYC as the coach of her daughter's basketball team. After losing both her young son and husband in tragic circumstances, Kristy has made a home for herself and her teenage daughter, Abby, in the small community of Cooktown. She is attracted to Connor but wary of relationships given her history, and has her hands full with her concerns about her daughter's eating habits, and with helping a friend, a victim of domestic violence.

The developing relationship between Connor and Kristy is complicated by Kristy's unresolved feelings for her late husband, and the secret of Connor's true identity. While Kristy is worried about maintaining her hard won equilibrium, Connor feels opening up to Kristy will put her, and Abby, at risk from the dangers that haunt him. Despite the conflict, they are inevitably drawn to each other and when faced with a cyclonic crisis are forced to trust in each other to survive.

With a dramatic storyline, strong characterisation, passion and fast paced action, Northern Heat is another stellar read from Australia's Queen of romantic suspense. ( )
  shelleyraec | May 11, 2015 |
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In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is rebuilding his hattered life. Working at Cooktown's youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and the opportunity to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark. The local GP is hiding her own secrets and struggling to raise her feisty teenage daughter alone. When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head - and the weather is not the only danger.… (more)

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