Dead Heat is the fourth, newest novel-length installment in the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs. Briggs is a solid name in the modern urban fantasy field. She can tell an engaging, compelling story, and she has created a really interesting, well planned world, full of politics (both magical and mundane), power plays and strong, likeable characters, which grow and change plausibly with every new installment. I really enjoy Mercy Thompson series, to the point of having all the books in the same ACE edition (hardcovers mostly) on my shelves. And that says a lot, considering the limited space I have there as well as my addiction to Kindle. I never got hooked on Alpha and Omega novels though – they are not enough action-packed and definitely too much introspectively romantic, wish-fulfilling and politically correct for my barbaric tastes. That said, let’s start from the beginning.
Those who read Briggs probably know that Alpha and Omega novels are set in the same world as Mercy Thompson series – they just follow a different set of characters, mainly Charles Cornick, the younger son of the Marrok, the head of all US werewolves, and Anna Cornick, Charles’ wife.
We have known Charles from Mercy’s point of view, as a person who scares even her, and this really does take some serious effort. He is tall, enigmatic bordering on unreadable, highly mysterious, has his own shaman magic and he takes care of all the dirty work the Marrok has. Which is, as you can expect, quite a lot.