Sunday, August 8, 2010

Review and Giveaway: White Heat by Brenda Novak

From the author's website:
White Heat is the first book in Brenda Novak’s new Department 6 Hired Guns trilogy.

Nate Ferrentino and Rachel Jessop are operatives for Department 6, a private security company, and they’re going undercover to expose a new and dangerous cult.

This group has taken up residence in the Arizona desert, in a ghost town called Paradise. Members worship at the feet—and in the bed--of its charismatic leader, Ethan Wycliff. On his orders, they tried to stone a woman to death. And they’re implicated in the disappearance of a teenage girl.

To expose the Church of the Covenant, with its arcane rituals and debauched practices, Nate and Rachel must pretend to be married. That’s the only way they can get in—but being Nate’s “wife” is the last thing Rachel wants. She and Nate have a one-night history that’s just an embarrassment to her now. But they don’t have a choice. Wycliff has to be stopped.


My thoughts:
The storyline of White Heat caught and kept my attention: Private investigators infiltrating a religous cult (the "Covenanteers") to find missing women and bring the cult down if indeed there are shenanigans afoot (and you just know there are!). The investigators who are playing husband/wife, Nate and Rachel, have a weird history both apart and together. I'm not sure how to go into it without spoilers but here goes:

Rachel's father was a religious zealot/cult leader and she left when she was 17. She eventually would up woking for Deartment 6 after a stint in the police force. Nate had a previous relationship that went badly at the end and therefore refuses to get emotionally close to another woman. Approximately six months before the events in this story, Rachel "surprised" Nate by being naked in his bed when he got home from work; their differing reactions the next day have left both Rachel and Nate embarassed and distant. Because of this, they're both uncomfortable about posing as husband and wife in the deserted town the Covenenteers call home.

The Covenenteers were all I knew they'd be: Crazy leader, subjugation of women, bizarre sexual practices, weapon stockpiling, "blind" followers. Ethan, the cult's leader, was so good as a bad guy...and he was a bad guy, no matter how he tried to spin it. His assistant, Bart was equally creepy. I followed the cult storyline to the end, watching it play out to the final showown. (The only weird thing was that the author stressed that Bart was impotent, which I thought was weird in a cult that centered around sexual practices as rituals.)

The Rachel/Nate storyline was not as strong. It was hot and cold and for me didn't make a lot of sense - Rachel and Nate were attracted to each other but because of their previous "incident" didn't act on it. Except that when Nate did try to act on it, I kept thinking why now? I didn't see where it was imperitave to their investigation. Rachel's actions in response to his romantic attempts were not consistent, in my opinion. By the end of the story I think their actions were a bit more believable, but it was a strange journey to get there.

This was my first read by Brenda Novak and therefore I wasn't sure what to expect. Although I had a few little niggles about this book, overall I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next two books in the series: Body Heat (September 2010) and Killer Heat (October 2010).

WHITE HEAT Book Trailer:

My Rating:


And now for the giveaway:
One lucky commenter will win a White Heat prize pack including:
~Tote bag~
~3D viewer bookmark~
~White Heat lip gloss – made especially for the book!~
~A copy of White Heat~

To enter, leave a comment telling me you'd like to win this prize pack. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses and is sponsored by MIRA Books. Contest ends Saturday, August 21. Please check back to see if you've won.

Also from the author's website: If you'd like a pair of Brenda Novak 3D glasses (which double as a bookmark), send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Brenda Novak P.O. Box 3781 Citrus Heights, CA 95611

About Brenda Novak:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has three novels coming out this summer - WHITE HEAT, BODY HEAT & KILLER HEAT. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at To date, she’s raised over $1,072,000. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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