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Radiant Heat

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When a catastrophic wildfire suddenly rips through a woman’s hometown, she thinks she is lucky to have survived . . . until she finds a dead woman in her driveway, clutching a piece of paper with her name on it. . . .

The blaze came out of nowhere one summer afternoon, a wall of fire fed by blustering wind. Yet, somehow, Alison is alive. She rode out the fire on the damp tiles of her bathroom, her entire body swaddled in a wet woolen blanket. As flames crackled around her, the bitter char of eucalyptus settled in the back of her throat, each breath more desperate than the last. 

The wildfire that devastated the Victoria countryside Alison calls home sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to obliterate the carefully constructed life she is living. When Alison emerges from her sheltering place, she spots a soot-covered cherry red car in her driveway, and in it, a dead woman. Alison has never met Simone Arnold in her life . . . or so she thinks. So what is she doing here? 

As Alison searches for answers across Australia’s scorched bushlands, she soon learns that the fire isn’t the only threat she’s facing. . . .

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"Collins writes with incredible pace and precision, knowing exactly when to bring tension to a roiling boil and when to lower it to a suspenseful simmer. Radiant Heat will hook you with its lively prose and thrilling premise, but it's Collins' unflinching portrayal of a woman in grief and rage that'll make it difficult to forget this complex debut." - Jean Kyoung Frazier

"Fans of Tana French and Jane Harper will enjoy Sarah-Jane Collins' excellent debut thriller, Radiant Heat. It boasts a rich setting and a complex, well-drawn heroine, but it's the quality of Collins' prose that sets this book apart from other entries in the genre. A huge accomplishment, and a delight to read." - Nicola Maye Goldberg

"Riveting. Smoldering. Chilling. By weaving a psychological thriller into a backdrop of ecological disaster, Collins ingeniously captures how the most intimate betrayals produce trauma of planetary dimensions. Radiant Heat scalds in the way only honest fiction can." - Jakob Guanzon

"Atmospheric and gut-wrenching, Radiant Heat crackles with electricity. Collins has woven a masterful tale of grief and revenge and the vulnerability of our lives battling against the force of the elements, both within ourselves and outside." - Melissa Larsen

"A searing, gorgeous novel twisting and turning with obsession, grief, fear, and survival. Collins' writing is as fierce as it is thoughtful. You'll feel the blistering air in your lungs and the scorched earth beneath your feet. Radiant Heat will haunt you, long after the last page." - CJ Leede

"Radiant Heat is sharp, intense and propulsive. Sarah-Jane Collins weaves a story of environmental catastrophe and its aftermath with a compelling mystery that raises meaningful questions about the world and the self. An impressive debut." - Sam Lipsyte

"A vivid and propulsive novel that shimmers with the heat and intensity of the Australian bush, where the lingering threat of violence hangs over the raw, visceral beauty of the landscape. Collins has crafted an unforgettable tale of survival, resilience, and community in the aftermath of personal and collective grief. Radiant Heat is a thrillingly suspenseful, heartbreaking and ultimately exhilarating read." - Madelaine Lucas

"Sarah Jane-Collins's Radiant Heat is a smart, gripping thriller that deftly draws a connection between violences both personal and ecological. Radiant Heat is a scorching page-turner." - Isle McElroy

"Gripping from the first page, this tale of destruction, survival, and mysteries uncovered in the ashes kept me up late into the night." - Kate Alice Marshall

"Sarah-Jane Collins' thrilling debut heralds the arrival of a first-rate storyteller with a bright future and talent to burn." - Elissa Schappell

"A sense of blooming dread, and the deft, finely painted lines of an artist at work. This close and claustrophobic mystery captures something important about disaster - the way it can crest a hill and we find ourselves woefully unprepared. A finely observed and utterly compulsive read." - Hayley Scrivenor

"A spectacular novel about survival, grief, and strength, Radiant Heat cuts to the heart of what it takes for one woman to live beyond immeasurable personal and collective violence. Here is a haunting, heart-rending mystery that moves with such breathtaking grace and force, it carries the unstoppable spread of fire itself." - Mina Seçkin

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