The sole heir of his uncle's estate, Brack receives a rundown bar called the Pirate's Cove, a rotting beach house, and one hundred acres of preserved and valuable wetland along the Ashley River. A member of Charleston's wealthiest and oldest families offers Brack four million dollars for the land. All Brack wants is his uncle's killer.
From the sandy beaches of Isle of Palms, through the nineteenth-century mansions lining the historic Battery, to the marshlands surrounding the county, Southern Heat is drenched in the humidity of the lowcountry.
Brack is hurrying down an alley to meet his uncle, Reggie, for supper when he hears gunshots. It turns out that Reggie was shot and just before he died in Brack's arms, the last thing Reggie said was that Ray shot him. The police assume it was a mugging and don't investigate.
Brack inherits Reggie's dive bar on the beach (sounds like a fun place!), his raggedy beach house and a piece of land that is surprisingly worth millions. As Brack tries to figure out who Ray is, he joins forces with Reggie's ex-wife, Patricia, who runs a newspaper, and her star reporter, Darcy. There is lots going on ... people owning land and taking grants to conserve it but don't, a prostitution ring, a faithful congregation of the Church of Redemption led by Brother Thomas, people getting hurt or killed, cars and houses being blown up, etc.
This is the debut book this author and I liked it. Written in first person perspective (from Brack's point of view), I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well. It is suspenseful with Brack trying to figure out what Reggie was involved with while trying not to get killed himself. The writing is at times funny and sarcastic too. I look forward to reading future books by this author.
I found at first that I was confused as to what was going on with regards with the land issue ... maybe because it was because I'm Canadian and there was a lot of reference to American conservation laws and programs that I wouldn't know about. It became clearer after a while.
There were a lot of characters. I liked Brack. He is still reeling from the sudden death of his wife, Jo, who died of cancer three years ago. To kill the pain, he drank a lot and then enlisted for action in Afghanistan. Back home, he's now lost his last family member and his best friend, his uncle Reggie. Six months ago he adopted a shelter dog named Shelby who is his constant companion (his reaction to the relationship between Shelby and Trish later on in the story are funny). He works well with spunky reporter Darcy who reminds him a lot of Jo. After Reggie's death, he becomes close with Patricia, Reggie's ex-wife who he was apparently seeing again. Brother Thomas is a hoot ... no matter what, he always sees the good in people and hopes they learn a lesson.