Comment • reviews • Nordic Noir • whimsy
There’s a huge amount of hype about Deep Dirty Truth and I am excited to report that my review copy came complete with goodies: a bounty hunter cap and a badge, so that I can publicly declare my membership of #TeamLori. I’ve never had literary merch like this before and although I won’t be putting up a picture of me wearing the cap, I have had the chance to reflect on what it might mean to be part of the team of Lori Anderson, the kickass Florida bounty hunter who laughs in the face of imminent death.
See, here’s my problem. I think we all want to be on Lori’s team. We are all rooting for her, as she is abducted from dropping off her daughter and is then forced to take on an impossible assignment for a client who’d be happy for her to be killed during it. We sympathise with her back story and her current story and the first person narrative brings us right into the heart of the action. When she’s laying out her strategy, or thinking through her options, we feel as though we are trusted. But I am not sure that, given the choice, Lori is going to select any one of us readers to be on the team. You can be saving her life and she’ll attack you if she isn’t sure of your motives. In three novels so far, I am not sure that she would be able to select a team that could play more than a five a side game.
The key learning, I think, of Steph Broadribb’s latest addition to the Anderson series, is that it’s tough to be a bounty hunter and to have feelings. That is the case both for Lori and for her partner JT. In a world of double- and triple-crossing, it’s easy to get paranoid and it must get emotionally exhausting. Lori and JT can’t even open up to each other. Their settings are fixed on mistrust and to flight wherever possible. This leads to destructive behaviour and sets back their cause – and I lose sympathy with JT when he inaccurately brands an ally as a coward before reappraising him two sentences later. This is quite out of character for JT – and would be for Lori too: both are alive only because of their cool and presumably accurate assessment of people and situations. Of course we want Lori and JT to knock their heads together and figure out their lives together. But we need them to be awkward about it, to keep it – and them – interesting, and they don’t disappoint.
Hardly anyone else is who they seem, and we’re invited to keep asking ourselves whether, given what we know at any one particular point, whom we might trust and why. There is a point when it is quite clear that no one at all is trustworthy and the real choice might be by whom it might be preferable to be murdered. There are liars and leaders and people with their own agendas. And really rather a lot of action, as Lori fends off the mob, the FBI, random would-be rapists and the odd would-be ally. There’s pace and zip and a lot of transport modes: there’s a boat chase, a canoe chase, taxis and hire cars and train rides. And there are alligators.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. I don’t think I would make it onto Team Lori. But I might sneakily wear the badge from time to time.
Deep Dirty Truth is out now on Kindle and is released in paperback on 24 January. You can pre-order here (affiliate link).
Thanks to Orenda Books for the review copy.
Welcome to the Deep Dirty Truth blog tour, which we co-host today. Check out some of the other stops below: