After a few spectacular fails with Brown’s earlier releases, I picked up Slow Heat in Heaven with more than a little trepidation. I found I couldn’t resist the descriptions I was hearing of Cash Boudreaux, an edgy, disdainful, and highly sexual hero who holds society’s rules in disregard. Published in 1988, Brown scandalized romance readers with this raw, scary tale that is similar to a modern Southern gothic tale. Although Cash’s behavior was the big talk at the time, both Cash and heroine Schyler Crandell’s behavior caused eyebrows to lift.
Schyler returns to Louisiana after a six-year absence when her father’s life is threatened by a heart attack. The home where she grew up has a name, Belle Terre – it’s the modern version of a Southern plantation. The money behind the family’s wealth is from logging rather than cotton and with Schyler’s father in the hospital, there is only one person who knows how to keep the logging business afloat – Cash.
Schyler is not a heroine I could refer to as “warm” and, at times, I had to remind myself that I did actually “like” her character despite her knee-jerk reactive dialogue and occasional foolish actions. But the more important character here is the outrageous Cash. It’s best to keep in mind the 1988 publication date as Cash is a Vietnam veteran approaching 40 (the math does work), he smokes, and his rough edges only work to make his character all the more complex. And, there is a sensuous love story buried beneath a ton of impediments.
My impressions of the print version of Slow Heat in Heaven were favorable although I thought the violence too intense for my tastes and the villains a little too evil for believability. However, I completely accepted Cash with his over-the-top alpha personality and the fact that he felt no need to apologize for such. It came in at a B+ read for me.
Discovering Slow Heat in Heaven in audio format a few years later, I felt the need to try it immediately. Fortunately Brilliance did an outstanding job casting narrator Dick Hill. Not only did I feel a male narrator was required to carry Cash’s character, but Dick Hill went above and beyond my expectations with his portrayal of Cash.
Slow Heat in Heaven’s narration is simply superb. Years after listening to it for the first time, I easily recalled Cash’s strong convincing Cajun accent. In audio, Cash’s character was more well-rounded than that which my mind conjured up when reading in print and I was more forgiving of his rough edges. Possibly I understood his actions better merely through Hill’s interpretation of his character.
Numerous Louisiana accents for secondary characters are required to successfully bring this one off in audio. I had no problem distinguishing one character from another by voice alone. As the story shifts and gains traction, Hill injects appropriate emotions and purpose rings true in each character’s voice.
With his performance of Slow Heat in Heaven, Dick Hill gained new respect from me. I knew he was good. Now I think he’s exceptional.
Book Content: A-
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence: Escalated fighting
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Brilliance Audio