Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“What doesn’t send you mad will make you stronger.”
I really enjoyed this one – the epitome of a fast-paced, action-packed and memorable short story. Jake’s journey is a difficult one and this book really explores one man’s struggles when everything goes terribly wrong. A strong story with solid characters that I think so many would enjoy! Very happy to be joining the blog tour today – make sure you check out all these other amazing book blogger’s reviews!
Jake is a loner who works nights in a Darwin motel and lives at the YMCA. He’s in love with Angel, a Thai prostitute who works out of the low-rent Shark Motel.
A vicious murder turns Jake’s life into a nightmare. He must fight for his life on the heat-soaked streets of Darwin and Bangkok in the wet season to get revenge, and to get his life back.
I found the start of the book to be quite intriguing – we follow a man who is quite obviously troubled and alone, going about his leisurely time smoking up and pondering about life. I thought the author’s description was very vivid and easy to imagine, and I even found the style of writing to be pretty unique. Sentences are short and sharp in places, just like how a person would think their thoughts in their mind. It worked very well at setting the scene and expressing the kind of person our main character is! We also learn of a friend of this character, Angel, and we learn of their solid friendship, but it was clear that in his mind he felt much more for her, even if he doesn’t say the words at first. I liked how we know this just by the vocabulary the author uses. The opening to the story was quite strong and succeeded in making me want to read on!
I really liked the relationship Jake and Angel had when Jake was in a good mood. I liked how they had a laugh with one another and at this point, it was clear they were at least friends with benefits. However, this part of the story indicated that Jake has some sort of anger issues – he becomes annoyed or angry when Angela has to work as a prostitute and even when she takes a while to answer the door when he visits. These scenes changed my overall view of Jake a little, and made me think he was someone who I wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of. Could he be dangerous? Would Angel anger him so much that he’d do something he would later regret? I was really getting into the story by this point and I found myself reading pages and pages whilst losing track of time a little! A very pleasant surprise and I was keen to find out the direction this book would go in.
We learn that Jake has schizophrenia and I wondered just how this would have an impact on his life throughout the course of the book. I felt that this would play a big part in what was to come! I enjoyed reading about Jake and Angel more and more, hearing of the plans they have for themselves in the future and even hearing about their pasts. I still felt like there was something in the air though, like some sort of danger that was ready to pounce at any given moment. It’s not long before a bit of trouble breaks out while Jake is on the job and it was here where the excitement really started. Fights and arguments begin, and we even witness the acts of racist cops, and I had no idea of the pain and suffering that would go down shortly. The suspense is built up well and each page made me read faster and faster. Despite his anger issues, I feared for Jake’s safety here – the author has done a great job of making you attached to these characters!
“Life’s so short. Don’t waste your energy. Karma takes care of it.”
As an incident at his hotel knocks him unconscious, it seems as though Jake has made some enemies for life. If this wasn’t enough action, we soon learn of a murder, a murder that would soon have an immense impact on Jake and his life. Even though we haven’t known these characters for long, this death definitely has a huge impact on the reader, making you think more deeply about the story and the events that lead up to this character’s death. I just knew Jake would go out of his way and do everything he could to bring this character justice, and I also got the impression that things wouldn’t be easy for him from here on out. Even though this story is short, I felt the details weren’t rushed and the pacing was great. It was so upsetting hearing about how this news affects Jake, but the author has definitely covered these scenes well. Just where would things go from here?
I found it particularly interesting to hear about certain events in Jake’s past and the times he’s spoken to the police due to his actions and minor crimes. With him being a person of interest in the unfortunate death of a close character, it was worrying thinking of how he’d react to any allegations or whether he’d even be able to keep himself in the clear. It was easy to become immersed in the story here and I just became more and more interested in this murder case. What happened on that day? How was the murder carried out and who by? The story really involves the reader and I was so invested in the whole plot. I felt like we get to know so much about Jake in such a short space of time and I believe this is why I became so invested in the story. The author has kept the consistency of his style of writing which really does add to the overall experience.
The mystery solving elements to this book were excellent and I really enjoyed following Jake around as he tried to solve the murder. I loved how he spoke to other people who may hold crucial information as well as just how determined he seems to find answers. We’re introduced to Kanda, Angel’s ex and someone who may be very significant in the way the story unfolds. Money is a big factor to some characters, and Kanda has his eye on it – would Jake be able to keep it safe and transport it to the family who deserves it the most? A lot of the story gripped me so much and each page seemed to get just more and more exciting. I appreciated the lengths Jake was going to to get justice, but just how much danger was he getting himself into? Such a great first half to the story and I was so curious to see what came next in Jake’s journey!
Jake soon finds he has more than one reason to travel to Bangkok – to find out more about this murder, hunt out Kanda and to seek out his own mother. I really liked how we don’t just follow one single story throughout the book, but a handful; the murder, finding his mother, the court case, his relationship with the cops – so many elements work so well together to create the overall story and I didn’t think the book would be as effective without each and every one of these! I loved hearing Jake’s views on Bangkok and the description the author has gone into here makes the whole journey come to life. You can easily place yourself in the hustle and bustle of this place and the experience really is something else. I could feel that more danger would rear its head shortly – how could this journey be going so smoothly so far? Trouble was on the horizon; would Jake be prepared for what was to come and would his journey be worthwhile?
“I look to the safe. It’s open. I walk and look down into it. Empty.”
Jake meets a woman, Anna, who seems to be just the person he needs to help him find who he’s looking for. The pair worked together well to contact the right people and find out as much as they could before Jake’s time in Bangkok was up. I admired how the author brought in a whole new character so late in the book, but quickly helps readers to become very attached to her just like any of the other characters we meet along the way. I thought this was a clever addition! I was confident Anna would help Jake significantly and because of her, his goals were in sight. The ending was getting close and we’d already witnessed so much action and drama and Jake’s life. What would happen next? Would he ever get the answers he needs? Would he ever be able to live his life normally after the whole ordeal with the murder is over? I had a feeling we were in for a memorable ending and I wondered which direction the author would take.
Jake and Anna’s relationship grows and they begin to get closer to finding Dao and Kai, Angel’s mother and daughter. I loved how the pair seemed to problem solve effectively and just how each meeting with other characters and each scene brings them closer to the truth. However, I still thought we were far away from finding Kanda. Would they ever find him? Would Kanda know that Jake was coming for him, seeking revenge? It isn’t long before Jake wakes up with an empty safe, and quickly realises exactly what’s going on. Even I didn’t see this coming! This turn of events makes us worry for Jake’s next steps and wonder whether he was set up by someone he was supposed to trust all along. The book was getting more exciting here and even though there was so much left to explore here, I knew the author would end the book in the right way.
A few scenes towards the end of the book seemed to fly by, and even though I would have personally liked to have seen these drawn out a little more, particularly the interactions Jake has with his family, I don’t think this hindered the book too much. It was nice to hear from Jake’s mother and father, and just how accommodating they seemed to be, even if they hadn’t all seen each other for a long time. They understood that what Jake was doing was important and it was rather heartwarming seeing the lengths they would go to to help their son. There was one scene I enjoyed at this point, where Anna and Kanda show their faces together, and Jake acts as a hero to get Dao and Kai to safety. A few punches later, and I was wondering whether he could get himself out of harms way.
I liked the change in Jake’s character from the beginning of the book to the end. We see just how brave and determined he becomes when lives are on the line, and I loved how the story fits around this. With Dao and Kai safe, for now, plans are put into place for their new life away from the danger that Kanda brings. A new start was what they needed. I wondered how Jake would react if he saw Kanda again, and I wasn’t certain how the ending of the story would go. However, I had a feeling it would go one of two ways. Would he succeed in what he set out to do? Or would Kanda win and take everything Jake has fought so hard for? With the final chapter coming up, the story still seemed to feel rather suspenseful – I knew the ending would be great and I had a feeling there would be some elements left to our imaginations.
“Never a dull moment with you Jake. Always got some cause or someone to stick up for.”
After reading the end of the book, I got that feeling you get after finishing a TV series you’ve really enjoyed. I’m sure everyone gets that feeling of ‘now what?’ afterwards! That’s similar to what I felt after reading that last page. The final parts of the book are filled with violence, acceptance and even new beginnings, and I think the author did a great job of rounding things off, but I was also equally as intrigued to find out what happens with Jake after the book ends. I am quite eager for another book to follow on from this, and I’m also keen to read more of the author’s work in the future. I’d definitely recommend this one to those who love a crime and mystery solving book, and is a great shorter read for anyone to have a go at!
Another book which had me very pleasantly surprised! I found myself constantly keeping my eye on certain characters throughout the whole thing and I loved just how we’re fed lies and false hope from characters we’ve grown to trust along the way. Despite the fast paced story line, the story held my attention consistently, with the violence, drama and unexpected twists just adding to my enjoyment! A great shorter read to enjoy, one which I’ll definitely be recommending.
A huge thanks to the author, Sean O’Leary, and Emma at Damp Pebbles for my copy of the book and my place on the blog tour! You can purchase your own copy of The Heat on Amazon, available on Kindle and paperback. Make sure you’re following the author on Facebook and Instagram for more updates!