Title: Still Life
Author: Dani Pettrey
Series: Chesapeake Valor #2
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Crime Fiction
Publishing Date: January 31, 2017
About the Book:
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.
Dani Pettrey has done it again with another great suspense. The main roles in this book switch over to Parker and Avery, but the others continue to play strong roles as well. I really liked the dynamic the author created between the characters as a group of friends so that they were there for each other in ways that their different strengths individually made them stronger as a group.
I have to say that my favorite part of the story was Avery’s side of things. Going back into her neighborhood, she is riddled with guilt over her friend’s lifestyle choices because she blames herself. She had a rough childhood but grew up as best friends with Skylar. When they were still young kids, Avery started getting into some criminal behavior and talked Skylar into joining her. Years later, Avery is a Christian but Skylar hasn’t changed. Avery’s search for Skylar really tugged at my heart the most.
One thing that I really struggled with in this book however, was sorting out some of the details. The characters ended up involved in more than one investigation in the book and I was confused in several places as to which case they were actually investigating. Some of the people they were investigating were involved in both, and I believe that’s a major reason why, but the two cases themselves weren’t really connected. I felt closure with the one case in the end, but the other I’m expecting the author to continue into the next book.
I’m curious to see where the author continues this series. Without spoiling, there were several “hints” to the next book that I’m excited to see how they play out. Dani Pettrey is a pro when it comes to building suspense, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
Age Appropriateness: As with the first book in the series, I’m not recommending this to younger readers. There are a lot of references to Skylar’s lifestyle, particularly her promiscuity. There is some child sexual abuse discussed as well. As with the first book, even though they say it’s for protection instead of romance, unmarried characters who are attracted to each other stay at each others’ homes. I personally wouldn’t recommend under 15 or 16.