Book review: ‘Silenced’ by Dani Pettrey

From the back cover:

A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna’s route brings her face-to-face with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something darker? When the case is handed to overburdened sheriff Landon Grainger, he turns to Jake Westin for help. With Jake’s past now revealed, he’s ready to use his talent for investigation again–but he could never prepare for where the mystery will take him.
Kayden’s climbing expertise soon leads her and Jake to the realization that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is onto them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine.

My review:

This is now the second book I have read in the Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey (see my review of Stranded here). As I mentioned in my earlier review, I recommend reading this series from the start, as there was a lot of back story I missed by reading only the third and fourth books.

Silenced begins with a murder mystery, as Kayden McKenna finds a dead rock climber and immediately suspects foul play. With her climbing expertise, she is the logical choice to accompany former cop (and newly appointed deputy sheriff), Jake Westin, in his quest to find out the truth.

The book is written largely from Kayden and Jake’s point of view, although there are several passages written from the perspective of minor characters in the book. I felt that the point of view changed too frequently, often due to very short scenes, and I got confused as to whose head I was in at times. I think this was the main reason why I didn’t feel as invested in the characters as I could have been. The other thing that bothered me was the inefficiency of Kayden and Jake’s interviewing technique – meaning they had to visit/revisit suspects because they didn’t ask the right questions first time around (although I guess the book would have been too short if they got all their answers straight away).

Throughout the book, Kayden has to come to terms with her fear of letting anyone get close to her, and her fear of dying. It was nice to see her heart warm to Jake throughout their investigation, and his protectiveness was touching. I particularly enjoyed the last third of the book, when Jake’s past catches up with him and Kayden’s life is on the line – this part of the story was very suspenseful.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this book, although I’m not sure whether I would read the next book in the series.

Thank you, NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for providing me a free copy of this book  in exchange for my honest opinion.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

To see my ratings system, click here

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Book review: ‘Stranded’ by Dani Pettrey

I’ve read a few favourable reviews of books written by Dani Pettrey, so I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review her latest release, ‘Stranded‘, which is the third book in her ‘Alaskan Courage’ series.

Here is the book jacket blurb:

When Her Friend Goes Missing,
Every Minute Counts

Darcy St. James returns to Alaska to join a journalist friend undercover on the trail of a big story. But when Darcy arrives, she finds her friend has disappeared. Troubled by the cruise ship’s vague explanation, Darcy uses her cover as a travel reporter to investigate further.

The last person Gage McKenna expects to see during his summer aboard a cruise ship leading adventure excursions is Darcy. And in typical Darcy fashion, she’s digging up more trouble.

He’d love to just forget her–but something won’t let him. And he can’t help but worry about her as they are heading into more remote regions of Alaska and eventually into foreign waters. Something sinister is going on, and the deeper they push, the more Gage fears they’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg.

My review:
This book hooked me in right from the first page. It was action packed and full of mystery and romance. The connection between Darcy and Gage was electric and these two characters were very well developed (although without the cover picture I would have had difficulty picturing what Darcy looked like until later in the book). Gage McKenna runs an adventure business offering cruise ship passengers the opportunity to get up close and personal with Alaska. I felt as though I were one of the passengers on the adventure tour, experiencing the sights and getting to know the various members of the McKenna family who all had their own personal story (these are featured in Pettrey’s earlier books in the Alaskan Courage series). Unfortunately I also felt like a bit of an outsider, not knowing some of the back-story, which serves me right for reading the third book in a series and not reading right from the start. Having said that, I’m now really curious to go back and read the earlier stories.

Let’s get back to the romance. [SPOILER ALERT] From the start there was a strong physical connection between the two lead characters, and so many “will they kiss/won’t they kiss” moments that kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen between them. It was funny though because when they actually did kiss I almost missed it – I had to go back and re-read the paragraph to find it.

I like Christian fiction books that don’t shy away from talking about God and what it means to truly be a Christian. I felt this book had a great message of hope for those who are suffering or who think God has deserted them.

This book was also a good length – it took me less than 5 hours to read, which is good because nothing else much got done while I was reading it 🙂

I highly recommend this series, but I suggest starting with Book 1 ‘Submerged‘ so you can follow the characters from the start.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.