“Joey’s nightmare was finally over. His long night was just beginning.”Dry Heat by Len Joy
The day All-American Joey Blade turns 18, he learns his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, is betrayed by his new girlfriend, and is arrested for the attempted murder of two police officers. Then things get bad.
The high school bonfire is supposed to be the kickoff to a great night: Joey has just won a football scholarship and he’s hoping for a sex breakthrough with his new girlfriend. Then his true love–but ex-girlfriend–Mallory tells his she’s pregnant. He’s reeling from that news when the bonfire explodes.
Joey, his new girlfriend and her drug dealer friend TJ, flee in her truck. When the police pursue, TJ shoots at the cop’s car. It crashes and in the ensuing chaos TJ slips away undetected. Joey, the only adult in the truck, is hauled off to jail.
Joey is charged with attempted murder and released on bail. TJ is nowhere to be found. When Joey discovers that Mallory’s father is pressuring her to terminate the pregnancy, Joey has to remain free to prevent that from happening. In desperation, he reaches out to notorious gang leader, Chico Torres, whom he met in jail, for help locating TJ.
When Joey is offered a deal–his freedom in exchange for his cooperation in nailing Chico–he faces a decision that will change the course of his life and Mallory’s.
Fiction, High School, Realism, Court Case, Novel, Star-crossed Lovers, Growing up quick, Gang, Teen Pregnancy, Family, Judicial, Jail
Why This Rating?
This is such a strong and yet heartbreaking story. Joey Blade is just a young man who is on the path to success. Then, with him being essentially in the wrong place at the wrong time landed him on trial for a hell of a lot more than what his family or lawyer would think. With all of that happening, he finds out he’s going to be a father at 18 because of a young, naive decision two teenagers made. He owns up to his and Mallory’s pregnancy news while facing the news of going to trial for a crime he never committed. That is a ton to toss on a young person no matter who they are. There is so much more to round out the story and to see how the court case ended up going is well worth the read!
You can’t help but have your heart go out to the kid. He never had to worry about much other than what college he is going to play at and then BAM! you get hit with a truck load of shit. I commend his commitment to own up with everything he has actually done. Joy shows us the struggle it is to stay on the path of truth and right, but sticking with that path just shows the depth Joey has as a character. I think Joey’s growth throughout the story is a very interesting one to see in the later part of the novel. The swapping from Joey to Joseph to Joey really helped to define the moments where a growth moment happened for this young man. This was a nice little distinction in the story.
One thing I’ll say for this story is that it is very honest with the reality of the whole situation. Len Joy didn’t sugar coat the truth Joey was facing in this entire court case or the teen pregnancy. Everything that happened to Joey, and in turn Mallory, was pretty massive and not something to be taken lightly. I always felt that Joy provided the prefect reactions to the problems that kept popping up as the story progressed. Each one was not necessarily going for what the readers wanted, but more towards what would really happen if this would occur. I really enjoyed this element to the story! Life is freaking tough. It loves to through curve balls at us and we are more than likely to miss a few of those shots as the years go on. I feel like this is very true with Joey Blade’s story.
As for the writing, this was quite an easy read to sit and enjoy. It was at a slower pace. The story did a nice little roll out at it’s own speed. I didn’t feel like I was anxious or even trying to rapidly flip the pages to find out what would happen next. I wasn’t the biggest fan the time skipping we went through at the end of the book. If something helped prompt the flashback, go for it, but it almost seemed like these were important scenes that were wanted in the story and couldn’t find where to put them in. I understand the importance of them; however, I think the execution for them might have happened a little bit better than the way they came across. Other than that minor nit-pick, I found a few scenes the dragged on a bit more than necessary. It was almost too much detail being tossed at us in scenes. I tend to lean more towards the preference of leaving the audience to create a some of the space the characters walk into. Giving every small detail to the audience takes away a part of that immersion readers can get from reading.
I can’t help but say that I really did enjoy this book, even though it landed in my middle tier for ranking. I liked the realistic truth this novel gives to the audience. There is no hiding behind a door that has “it will always be alright” written on the front. Nope, that isn’t life. For that aspect in the storyline alone, I would give this story 5 out of 5 (I have a small love for that type of story and I don’t get enough stories that play into that trope). However, with the other elements mixing into the plot and the execution of it, we wind out closer to 3 to 3.5.
In all transparency, I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for a voluntary honest review. That being said, I would recommend this story to others out there! It plays more in favor to those who enjoy court cases and detective work (even though it technically isn’t a detective doing any work). It is a stand alone story so no series you have to worry about keeping up with if that is a concern for you! Although, Len Joy does have other novels if you have enjoyed his writing! Go check out Dry Heat everyone!
Time to get lost in the next story!