Title: Dry Heat
Author: Len Joy
Published on: 1 March 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
The high-school bonfire was supposed to be the kickoff to a great night. Joey Blade had just turned 18 that day and was looking forward to sleeping with his girlfriend of six weeks. But things take a turn for worse when his good friend Mallory tells him she’s pregnant with his child. The shed where the bonfire is held catches fire. Joey, his new girlfriend, her drug dealer and her ex-boyfriend escape in the ex’s truck. But when two men clad in cowboy dresses overtake their car, hell breaks lose. The road rage turns deadly when the drug dealer fires at the car.
They are finally caught but the drug dealer manages to escape. And the new girlfriend claims Joey was hitchhiking when she and her boyfriend (ex) were driving home. Joey is arrested for the crime he did not commit. In the jail, he meets the notorious gang leader Chico Torres. Torres claims he knows Joey’s dad. When Joey is released on bail, he knows his life is a mess. The football scholarship is cancelled, Mallory’s father wants her to abort the child and Joey’s father seems to have a lot of cash stacked up.
What an engrossing page turner! I was hooked onto the story and could not put it down until the end.
The story begins with Joey and Mallory having quite a time at her home. A few weeks later, Joey is with his new girlfriend Wendy. It is high school bonfire night and Joey’s 18th birthday. He hopes to have sex with Wendy – maybe this is the day he finally gets to sleep with her. He knows she’s out of his league but wants to spend time with her while it lasts.
But things take a turn for the worse when the shed where the bonfire is held catches fire, thanks to TJ (the drug dealer’s) stupidity. When the sirens are heard, Joey, Wendy, TJ and Lawrence (Wendy’s ex) escape the venue in Lawrence’s car. As TJ and Wendy are in possession of narcotics, escaping from the police is the only way. But when a cop car chases them, TJ fires at the car. They are finally caught but TJ manages to escape while Wendy claims not to know Joey – she claims he hitchhiked.
Joey sees his life come tumbling down. His scholarship is gone. The one evening he spent with Mallory turns out to be a shocker when Mallory tells him she’s pregnant with his child. To add to this mess, Joey is granted temporary bail but there will be a trial for attempted cop murder. When Joey takes help of Torres in finding TJ, things worsen further.
Joey has been given options. He can either face a jury and leave his fate in their hands. Or, he can help nab Torres and his gang in exchange for complete dismissal of the criminal cases against him.
This story has the elements of mystery, drama and legal thriller. As I was reading through, I felt bad for young Joey to having go through such a mess. The mess for which he was partly responsible and partly not.
It had been a long time since I read such a compelling story. Completely engrossing and keeps you guessing till the end. Just when Joey thinks he can take a breather, things turn for worse and he’s caught once again in a mess.
Len Joy is a master storyteller. I have read one of his previous books – Everyone Dies Famous – and I had only rave reviews for that book. Once again, I have praises and only praises for Len’s latest novel – Dry Heat.
If you are looking for a compelling and engrossing story, you might want to give Len Joy’s Dry Heat a read.