Monday, February 6, 2017

Dani Pettrey: Stil LIfe

By Kelly Bridgewater

Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

From Amazon

My Review:

I really enjoyed Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage Series and couldn't wait to see what else happens with her writing. After reading Cold Shot, I enjoyed seeing the friends work together to solve crimes and hoped to see more of their relationship.  When I spend a couple of hours reading a mystery, suspense, or romantic suspense, I want to be taken away on a fast pace journey to solve a murder. I, also, want to see a romance that is evident on the page but isn't the focus of the story. I want the romance to deepen the characters.

Pettrey starts the story with a bang and moves along at a nice clip. There were moments were the romance took over and made me want to return to the mystery solving part of the story. Pettrey does follow the clues and keeps asking different people who fingerprints show up at different crime scenes. Her research into the world of art and the suspense elements flowed seamlessly across the story. I never once was taken out of the story and wonder if what she wrote was true or not.

The writing was clear and concise. I stayed in the point of view characters for each scene and completely empathized with each individual character. Through the four different characters solving two different crimes, I understood and enjoyed spending more time with them. As for the characters, no one really matured and grew in the story. No one became a better person by the end. No one's relationship with God was changed for the better or worse. All the characters started one way and ended the same. I wished there was more character development in each individual characters.

As for the plot, there were two plots to keep suspense lovers happy. There was a terror threat and a dead body. I really liked the dead body story. It flowed nicely and kept moving. On the other hand, the terror threat story doesn't come until about fifty percent through the story, and it didn't fit right with the story. It felt like Pettrey needed something to fill her story, so she threw in another twist from left field. As for the suspense, it read like every other romantic suspense novel I have ever read. It is suitable for mature audiences with really no violence on the pages. Fans of Pettrey's other works, Dee Henderson, Lynette Eason, Colleen Coble, and Terri Blackstock should pick up Still Life.

The art angle was original, and I didn't solve the crime until about the end right before Pettrey revealed him/her, which is good for any writer to do. God was mentioned in the story, but not a lot. It won't keep anyone away from reading the novel. Even though Pettrey is marketing this book as darker than previous books, I didn't find it any darker at all. It had the normal about of violence for a romantic suspense novel. Steven James, my contemporary favorite author, is a master at psychological thrillers, and they are MUCH darker!

An interesting look in the art world, Dani Pettrey's latest novel Still Life continued her story in Chesapeake Harbor while filling in information about each individual character's life while keeping the suspense moving.

I received a complimentary copy of Dani Pettrey's Still Life from Bethany House Publishers, and the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Do you enjoy romantic suspense novels that touch the darker side of crime? Why or Why not?

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