Review: Heat by R. Lee Smith

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Earth. A world quarantined since its discovery by the Far-Reachers of Jota’s history. And where the fortunes of slavers and chemists have been made ever since.

It was to Earth that Kanetus E’Var, the son of Jota’s most ruthless slaver, escaped to make Vahst, a powerful drug manufactured from the human brain. And it was to Earth that Tagen Pahnee, Fourth-ranking officer of the Jotan Off-World Security Fleet, was sent to bring the criminal back to justice. Neither of them could have anticipated that at that moment, E’Var’s hunting grounds were experiencing the worst heat wave in years, triggering the Jotan breeding cycle in both males.

Home is not an option for either of them. Both are determined to find a way to work on this hostile planet, surrounded by humans, surrounded by dangers, surrounded by Heat.

Adult readers only, due to graphic gore, violence, and explicit sexual situations.

My impressions:

A long story (over 600 pages) of two alien males visiting Earth, one for completely nefarious reasons the other to catch the first one and bring him to justice. Both experience some problems with the local climate – they land during the terrestrial summer and the scorching temperatures make them both go in Heat . It means more or less they must find willing or less willing females to copulate with or they suffer very unpleasant side effect of the said condition. Allegedly they can’t die from it but still. One of them (Tagen) is the cop who, additionally, must find the location and capture the evil slaver and murderer (Canetus E’Var) whose most profitable line of business is producing a kind of drug (Vahst) from dopamine. Which he harvests straight from human brains of his victims, murdering them in the process. Yeah, I know, quite gory.

As I’ve stated it already in my other reviews of R. Lee Smith’s novels I admire her for the fact that she is able to create a viable plot even though all of those are firmly in the paranormal romance genre often bordering erotica. Yes, treat the warning I copied from Goodreads and pasted in italics above very literally: there will be rapes, gang bangs and some girl on girl action too. If you don’t want to read a novel with such scenes then it is clearly not your reading material.

Now what worked for me, apart the delightful existence of plot? A three-dimensional baddie who kind of falls in love with his captured slave, Raven AND THEN does unspeakable things to her because hey, he can and he is curious. A slow-burning romance between Tagen and Lindaria, a woman who had to play at first very unwilling host to an alien, was on the other hand done very nicely.

What didn’t work? The story could have been shorter but so far I haven’t found a short R. Lee Smith novel so I guess it is simply her style. Which I completely understand – look at my reviews, more often than not they are too long as well. Where some length could have been cut was in the repetitive sex and violence which were ultimately redundant and lost relevance after a while. I’d known before I started reading that  Heat is highly sexual and violent, graphic in its depictions but sometimes I felt as if the author wanted to make me rub my literary nose in it. Not a nice feeling. Apart from that the aliens seemed too similar to humans in their way of thinking and behaving. Oh well.

Final verdict:

R. Lee Smith is an enormously talented and original writer but Heat lacks the subtlety of her later works like The Last Hour of Gann and Cottonwood. If you feel like reading a novel with hard-core erotica parts it might be something for you.

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6 Responses to Review: Heat by R. Lee Smith

  1. heidenkind says:

    Hm, I don’t suppose you’ve read Anne Bishop?

  2. Carole Rae says:

    Thank you for sharing, but no thank you on this one. 600 pages of a genre I’m extremely picky of seems would end in flames.

  3. blodeuedd says:

    I even read that Gann one and still I am all ehh

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