Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Radiant Heat by Sarah-Jane Collins
Published by Berkley on January 23, 2024
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Alison is alive. She rode out the fire on the damp tiles of her bathroom, her entire body swaddled in a wet woolen blanket. The flames crackled around her, the bitter char of eucalyptus settling in the back of her throat. The wildfire devastated the Victoria countryside she calls home, and when Alison creeps out of her hiding place, she spots a soot-covered cherry red car in her driveway, and in it, a woman. She finds the woman’s bag. Simone Arnold. A piece of Alison’s full name and address. But why?
As Alison searches for answers across Australia’s harsh landscape, she soon learns that the fire isn’t the only threat she’s facing....
Radiant Heat is a term which means that people inside a vehicle may be cooked to death without any skin coming in contact with the actual fire to burn. A fire has just gone through the area and our main character sheltered in a full bath tub with a wet woolen blanket over herself. The fire turned and narrowly missed her home. Another woman in her home’s driveway was not so lucky.
Alison lives in a rural area of Australia. The setting and the natural aspects are interesting. I can’t say I really liked Alison but I can understand her sometimes. She has a lot of grief over her parents and now there are losses in the fire. She is an artist just starting to have some success.
I will say the police did not act very professionally or were not well developed characters over all. This is not a police procedural. It’s an amateur trying to figure out family and relationship issues which are not all police matters.
I don’t want to spoil the story of all the things that develop slowly over the story. There are some real surprises and twists. When she went to investigate some things herself, I think she was on the too stupid to live road. It makes sense she wants to know. In the end, she knows everything but I’m not sure it will give her the closure or comfort she wants. There was one big thing left a bit uncertain at the end.
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