Still Life by Dani Pettrey
Genre: mystery, suspense
Publisher: Bethany House
Date: January 31, 2017
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Olmedo
Fiction Addict Scorecard: B
When a controversial shot turned Avery Tate into a persona non-grata in the photography world, she applied for a position as a crime scene photographer. To her surprise, the crime scene analyst, Parker Mitchell, hired her. But when feelings toward the man started to grow, she bolted.
Now, in order to support a friend who modeled for a photography exhibit, Avery must face the very community who rejected her. But when Skylar doesn’t appear and the photographer insists he didn’t take the only shot of her posing dead, the evening takes a macabre turn.
With Skylar missing, Avery has no option but to turn to Parker for help. However, working with him could prove more dangerous than she ever imagined. Not only is she falling harder for someone whose heart belongs to another, their investigation also leads to a twisted individual — one who now has his sights set on Avery.
The guys are back! Longtime friends Parker, Griffin, and Declan tackle another case in the second installment of Dani Pettrey’s Chesapeake Valor series. A story of second chances, Still Life centers on Parker and Avery.
Darker than her previous novels, due to Avery’s broken past and one very disturbed man’s obsession with death, the author still manages to find the balance of showing sin and evil without going overboard with gory details.
The romance aspect differs from the typical path so many stories follow in that Parker and Avery are already in love with each other by the time the reader joins them. This allows us to see some struggles they faced as a couple and how their pasts colored their new relationship. Given her history, I could sympathize with Avery’s fear of rejection. She did too well as it was, considering all she had experienced.
While I love Pettrey’s style and writing, this book didn’t rank as high for me as her previous novels. I found the mystery too predictable. Despite the presence of red-herrings, I easily saw through them as characters and events that were only meant to mislead. Also, the thread of faith didn’t flow as naturally. Nonetheless, I enjoyed getting to know Parker and Avery, and more than ever, I can’t wait to find out more about the missing fourth friend — Luke.
I recommend Still Life to Pettrey’s fans and romantic suspense readers, though I would suggest starting with Cold Shot if you haven’t read it yet.