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.
There was certainly Heat in Sean O’Leary’s novel The Heat, in fact it practically oozed from the pages of this short novel.
Darwin, Australia was hot and humid a brilliant setting for tensions to rise, as the characters wilted and overheated. Our main protagonist, Jake, was one mixed up individual, a serious mental illness and a penchant for walking into trouble. I don’t think he actually sought it out, I thought he was just unlucky that the places he frequented attracted danger and crime. I think it was O’Leary’s intention and it made Jake extremely likeable, a person who was trying to get his life together but just hit a few obstacles along the way.
It was his friendship with Angel that brought him into contact with the less salubrious side of Darwin, the streets and hotels, the everyday tourist might not have frequented. She may have been a prostitute but that didn’t stop Jake from seeing the other side, a person who hated what she represented and did yet the desperation to provide for a family at home in Thailand, the main focus.
It was Jake’s loyalty to Angel that brought danger and a frantic search for her family, but also allowed O’Leary to examine Jake’s own family, the relationship with his father, the absence of his mother. It took the novel away from being purely crime, gave it that added extra human touch and emotion which I enjoyed.
O’Leary didn’t go for long descriptive narrative but kept it short and crisp, his words economical, a technique that I admired as he managed to squeeze so much into very few pages. It meant we gamboled along at quite a fast pace, never time to catch a breath before Jake hurtled into the next fight, or flight from danger.
As a reader I wanted Jake’s crusade to be successful, hoped for reconciliation and a recognition of the good intentions that often lay beneath is mental health induced outbursts. It was a great combination of crime and human issues and I for one was positively melting with The Heat as I finished the last page.
I would like to thank Sean O’Leary go a copy of The Heat to read and review and to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Blogtours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Sean O’Leary has published two short story collections, ‘My Town’ and ‘Walking’. His novella ‘Drifting’ was the winner of the ‘Great Novella Search 2016’ and published in September 2017. He has published over thirty individual short stories and is a regular contributor of short fiction to Quadrant, FourW, Sudo, Close to the Bone (UK) and other literary and crime magazines. His crime novella ‘The Heat’, set in Darwin and Bangkok, was published in August 2019. Drifting and The Heat are both available on Amazon. His interviews with crime writers appear online in Crime Time magazine.
He has worked in a variety of jobs including motel receptionist, rubbish removalist/tree lopper, farm hand, short-order cook and night manager in various hotels in Sydney’s notorious, Kings Cross. He has lived in: Melbourne; Naracoorte; Sydney; Adelaide; Perth; Fremantle; Norseman; Geraldton; Carnarvon; Broome; Yulara; Alice Springs; Kakadu; Darwin and on Elcho Island-Galiwinku. He now lives in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, thinks that test cricket is the greatest game of all and supports Melbourne Football Club (a life sentence). He writes every day, likes travelling and tries to walk everywhere.