This is the first book I've read in this series by Pettrey and I was surprised to find it a bit darker than her Alaska series. That this is the second book in the series is painfully evident by references to the events in the first book. There is much thinking on the part of characters about events in the first novel in this one. I found it distracting and recommend you read Cold Shot before starting this one.
The heroine is Avery, a photographer who is black listed because of what happened in the first novel in the series. She now works for an independent crime scene investigator, Parker. They have feelings for each other but will not acknowledge them, again because of what happened in the earlier novel.
Avery feels compelled to look for a friend from childhood who has gone missing. Parker helps her. Several federal agents Avery and Parker know are brought in but some are soon distracted by another case involving people being smuggled in by boat. The narrative frequently alternates between the two investigations. The second story line added interest in that it is about human trafficking but I did feel it distracted from the main plot.
The plot of the novel relies heavily on Avery and her relationships with people from her youth. Avery has become a Christian since her rough younger days but those she knew (and knows) have not. There were many complications in the investigation because of Avery's previous relationships. It was all a bit confusing.
There is a strong Christian message in this novel. Avery struggles with her past and must remind herself she is a new creation in Christ and the old is forgiven. There is also the message of sharing the gospel with another when the opportunity presents itself and not delay.
This novel is heavy on character development and romance. There is much ruminating by the main characters. I recommend the novel to those who enjoy a novel emphasizing characters thinking as opposed to suspense, of which there is little.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
Dani Pettrey is the bestselling author of the Alaska Courage series and winner of the Daphne du Maurier award for Inspirational Novel, the Christian Retailing's Best Award for Suspense, and the Holt Medallion for First Novel. She and her husband live in Maryland. You can find out more at www.danipettrey.com.
Bethany House Publishers, 352 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.