Hope you like horses.
On the plus side, Dead Heat has two themes that are really interesting and worth exploring within the universe that Briggs is building. First is Charles’ relationship with an old, non-werewolf friend. They’ve touched some on what happens when everyone you know ages and dies, but it’s interesting to see it in first person. Especially knowing that they don’t have to die–they could be changed instead–but refuse to do so.
The second theme deals with the fallout of the Fae declaring a war of sorts on humanity back in the last book. It seems they’ve released some of the nastier of their kin back into the world. Given how many of the Fae we’ve seen thus far range from mostly helpful to somewhat alien, it’s interesting to see one that is a much nastier customer.
On the downside, horses. There are entire chapters dedicated to talking to about the search for a horse-shaped present for Anna. There is certainly a lot of interesting character development there–mostly among the minor characters –but it seems so out of touch with the rest of the books (either the first three Alpha and Omega or any of the Mercy Thompson books thus far). It does feed a bit into the final section of the story, but it could have been done with far less build up.
Honestly, the horse sections were enough to drop a star off my rating for this book. At least you can jump over (heh) those parts without really losing anything. And hey–if you really like horses, perhaps that would even be a draw for you.
Edit on reread: at least in the audiobooks, the horse sections aren’t nearly as bad. They’re still a bit much, but no more than the outdoorsy survival sections of the first Alpha and Omega (for example). I think I might have gotten stuck when reading it, not so much a problem with an audiobook.