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Dead Heat

Georgia Parish was glad to leave behind the damp heat, the bugs and the deadly wilderness of Nulgarra, in Far Northern Queensland. But after a plane crash she finds herself back there, struggling to comprehend a sinister fact – the plane was sabotaged. Who was the intended target? After all, nobody could have a reason to want Georgia dead…

The trail of clues she follows takes her into the heart of the most exotic, colourful and savage landscape on earth. With relentless criminals behind her, she is unaware that something worse lies ahead – a merciless enemy who may know her all too well.

India Kane has a cameo role as a journalist in this book.

‘The best book I have read this year. Atmospheric, gripping, thrilling, compelling. Read it’

Mystery Women

‘I know – you don’t read Australian thrillers. Well, bury that prejudice. This is probably the most consistently exciting thriller I’ve read this year – and by “consistently” I mean start-to-finish, chapter-by-chapter, don’t-let-up thrills and excitement. I loved every minute’

Crime Time

‘Action-packed, intelligent Australian thriller’


‘A full-throttle, pell-mell thriller, packed with incident . . . Dead Heat kicks like a kangaroo’

Paul Dumont, Ottakar's Verdict Magazine

‘It’s one terrifying ordeal after another right up to the end of this racy and enjoyable read’

Sunday Telegraph

‘An exciting book and I hardly stopped to take a breath as I raced through it. Carver completely engaged me’

Mystery News

‘A fast-paced, exciting murder mystery . . . An excellent writer who grabs your attention right away and never lets go until the very last page. I literally couldn’t put the book down until the final chapter was finished’

Who Dunnit

‘It would be an understatement, not to mention a gross injustice, to classify Dead Heat as just a good book. This is an extraordinary work of fiction any author would aspire to achieve . . . Carver succeeds on all fronts in compositing a tale worth a reader’s full attention’

Round Table Reviews

‘If you want a read to consume you, this is the one to pick, but don’t be surprised if you have no nails left by the final pages’

Peterborough Evening Telegraph

A fast-paced, tightly written thriller that bursts at the seams with action and surprises’

Mystery Scene

‘A diverting mystery thriller for those who enjoy Nevada Barr or Elizabeth Peters’


While CJ was researching Dead Heat in Far Northern Queensland, she met an outback pilot who’d risked flying with a dangerously low amount of fuel in order to save a young boy’s life. Seconds counted, and if he’d taken the time to re-fuel the boy might have died, so he just bundled the lad into his Cessna and flew him to hospital.

They made it, and the boy lived. This story inspired the opening of Dead Heat, where the Piper aircraft Georgia is on is sabotaged and the pilot is forced to make a heroic emergency landing in the rainforest.

Georgia paused on the edge of the beach and took in the brand-new sign stuck in the sand. Etched out of wood were letters painted red and white: Warning, Estuarine Crocodiles Inhabit This River System.

Her spirits sank. For estuarine, read ‘saltie,’ she thought, and automatically began scanning the area.

‘Whatever’s in that bag smells good.’ The man spoke right behind her, almost in her ear, making her spin round.


Lee Denham stood there, studying her. He wore blue jeans tucked into boots and a grey sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off. Windsurfers Do It Standing Up was stitched in red across his chest.

‘Where have you been?’ she said, adrenaline making her tone aggressive. ‘Everyone’s been looking for you!’

‘Are you eating crab sticks?’ He leaned over, trying to peer into the bag. He had a large plaster above his left eye and his ear was bandaged. Despite his wounds he bristled with energy.

‘Deep fried oysters.’ She offered the bag to him.

He took two, popped one in his mouth. ‘Nice,’ he said, muffled. ‘Haven’t had them done this way before.’

‘Where have you been?’ she asked again.

He ate the second oyster and ignored the question.

‘It’s beautiful up here,’ he said. ‘Really beautiful. I had no idea. You see the crabs in the mud? Size of my thumbnail but fantastic colours, like jewels.’

He was right. Even though the sun wasn’t out, the crab shells gleamed as bright as sapphires.

‘Look at this.’ He made to bend over and pick up a shell the colour of freshwater pearls.


He looked up at her. ‘What?’

‘It might be a coneshell.’

Lee straightened and stared at the shell. ‘A what?’

‘It’s a poisonous creature that lives inside shells.’

‘Venomous seashells?’ he said. ‘I don’t believe it.’

‘Along with box jellyfish, stingrays, blue-ringed octopi and stonefish. They’re the worst because they’re so well camouflaged. When you tread on one, its spines go straight through your shoe, injecting you with venom.’

‘Then what?’

‘You die.’

He blinked. ‘Jesus. I had no idea . . .’

‘How beautiful it is up here,’ she added with a smile.



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Published by: Orion
Publication date: September 2004
ISBN: 978-0752859170