This is the first in a new series by Pettrey, taking place on the east coast, Gettysburg. The main characters are Griffin McCray, a park ranger at Gettysburg, and Finley Scott, a forensic anthropologist. Finley had been doing some historical digging at Gettysburg when a contemporary body is uncovered. It turns out to be the body of a woman and she has been murdered. Finley and Griffin set out to discover who the person is, identify the killer and find him.
Finley calls in the help of Parker Mitchell, a crime scene specialist she knows. It turns out Parker and Griffin have a history. It is revealed as the novel progresses. FBI agent Declan Gray heads up the investigation and it turns out he is part of Griffin's past as well.
There are two plot lines that run through this novel. One is identifying the murdered woman and finding the killer. The other is Griffin's past. We learn about the four guys who were best friends, all deciding to go into crime prevention in some way. But disaster had happened in the past and there is a heavy tension between Griffin and Parker. Only God's grace and healing can mend the chasm between the two men. There is also a bit of romance that develops between Griffin and Finley and, though it seems quick, I felt it was rather secondary.
I enjoyed the murder mystery aspect of this novel. I liked reading about all the work it took to identify the murdered woman. It is amazing how much can be deduced from a body. Evidence pointed to a sharp shooter, an accomplished sniper. Griffin had been one with the SWAT-team so we learn quite a bit about that too. For example, a cold shot is the first shot the sniper takes – no practice shots.
The character development aspect of the novel was complicated. Understanding Griffin and Finley required much back story. It was gradually revealed in the book but there was so much of it I frequently felt like I was reading a sequel rather than the first in the series. I'd like to read a whole novel on Finley's previous experiences and another centering on Griffin's past.
I recommend this novel to those who like a forensic mystery with lots of character development. We are left hanging at the end of the novel concerning one of the original four best friends so I'll be looking for the next in the series.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Dani Pettrey is the award-winning and bestselling author of six books, including the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series. She and her husband live in Maryland, have two daughters and one grandson. You can find out more at www.danipettrey.com.
Bethany House Publishers, 336 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this novel from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.