Review: Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb

Wednesday 18 March 2020
Title: Deep Dark Night
Author: Steph Broadribb
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication Date: 5th March 2020
Pages: 320
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces, one by one. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

I am a huge fan of Steph Broadribb's Lori Anderson series. The first book, Deep Down Dead, made my Hall of Fame and went on to be my favourite book of the entire year in 2016 on my Top Books of the Year list. The next two books in the series were also instant 5 star reads, and so I couldn't wait to read Deep Dark Night. I said on Twitter whilst reading this book that Steph was my favourite thriller writer since Lee Child, and that is a statement I stand by after finishing this incredible story. I have read hundreds of thrillers over the years and so hopefully that statement shows what a real talent Steph is when it comes to writing a gripping and truly unforgettable thriller.

Lori Anderson is a fantastic creation and someone I can't ever see me tiring reading about. She is a strong, ballsy character with a ton of heart. It's impossible not to become endeared to her and genre aside she's one of the best characters I have read about in years, not just in the thriller world. What I most enjoy about this series more than some others is the continuation of the characters and their lives. Whereas in the majority of thriller series each book can be read as a standalone, they just happen to exist in the same world with sometimes a brief mention of past events, Lori's story continues whether it's with her relationship with JT and daughter but also in how the events of previous books drive future books forward. That's not to say the books in this series can't be read standalone, they absolutely can, but the enjoyment and emotional connection felt as a reader is much greater if you read the stories in order.

Steph always comes up with the most adrenaline-fuelled stories that storm ahead at a thousand miles an hour, barely giving the reader pause for breath. Here in Deep Dark Night things are a little different as the story mostly takes place literally over a deep dark night, a Chicago blackout to be precise. Lori has found herself in an impossible situation in working with the FBI. She must trap the head of a notorious Chicago crime family in a high-stakes poker game which sees everything put on the line. I have to say that this change in pace worked brilliantly, and Steph expertly told this story in such a way that meant I struggled to tear myself away from my Kindle. The scenes within the tower this poker game plays were so tense and written in such an immersive way that I felt like I was in the room with these characters. Everything was so palpable, it was like I was experiencing the danger myself, all senses were on high alert whilst reading this story. I have to say also there might be some enjoyment to be had through reading this story in the dark, it'll certainly add to the exhilarating sense of danger felt while you read the story.

The plot here really is incredibly strong and I just love how the story was told. When I first read the blurb it gives away a lot of the story, as blurbs do, but I had no idea what would happen once that blackout arrived and I couldn't read quick enough to find out. The setting of the Skyland Tower was great and allowed Steph to really come up with some inventive ways for these characters to try and come up with some kind of escape plan, all at the same time not knowing who they can trust in the room. There's a real fantastic cast of secondary characters, all with their own personalities and things to add to the story. Some of these characters, whether in their actions in the present, or as we learn about their past, give us a further insight into our main characters, Lori and JT, and allows us to see their thought processes better and understand their motives and moral compasses even more than we have already in previous books. The characterisation here is just as good as the plot.

The last 30% or so is when I knew my Kindle wasn't being turned off until I'd read that final page. I was absolutely glued to the story and couldn't wait to see how things ended. Steph once again delivered a blinding ending. An ending that instantly made me wish that I had the next book on my Kindle to read right away. If you like thrillers with a realistic and believable main character, with unforgettable stories that take you on a truly exhilarating ride as you almost forget to breathe turning the pages then Steph Broadribb is an author who delivers all of that and more with this incredible series featuring Lori Anderson. I cannot recommend these books highly enough and hope that the next one isn't too far away.

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