‘Radiant Heat’ by Sarah-Jane Collins | Mystery Debut of the Month

The claustrophobic atmosphere of a raging wildfire and the presence of an unreliable narrator add to this read, which fans of Jane Harper’s Australian novels will want to try.

Collins, Sarah-Jane. Radiant Heat. Berkley. Jan. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780593550342. $27. M

DEBUT Alison King survives an Australian bush fire by covering herself in a wet blanket and sheltering in her bathtub. When she emerges, she finds a car in her driveway and a dead woman in it. Her ID says she’s Simone Arnold, but she has papers with Alison’s name and address on them. Alison doesn’t know her, but she notices the woman resembles her, and the cops take notice of that as well. Nothing strikes a chord with Alison until she learns Simone was fleeing from an abusive boyfriend. Alison had done the same, returning to her distant home to get away from him. Alison realizes that her and Simone’s abuser is the same man, although he used a different name, and that she is still in danger. Because of her trust issues, she doesn’t reveal her fears to the police, but instead sets off on a fruitless attempt to hide from a relentless stalker who is on her trail. VERDICT The claustrophobic atmosphere of a raging wildfire is handled well. Fans of Jane Harper’s Australian novels will want to try this debut featuring an unreliable narrator.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing