Still Life by Dani Pettrey - Fast Paced Suspense in the Art Scene

Monday, February 27, 2017

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Author: Dani Pettrey
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: 
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Genre: Fiction; Suspense, Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Series: Chesapeake Valor, Book 2
Rating: ★★★★★

After her professional life was derailed, Avery Tate shifted her focus to a new path that included work as a crime scene photographer. But working closely with the best forensic analyst there is, Parker Mitchell, turns out to be more complicated than Avery bargained for. Between her unrequited love, and his devastating loss that leaves him with a broken heart, a healthy relationship between them seems impossible. So she leaves. 

When her friend goes missing, Avery can think of only one person she trusts with this case; Parker. As she, Parker, and their team of elite law enforcement friends search for this missing girl, they uncover a twisted plot that’s goes beyond what they imagined they’d find.

Every book Pettrey writes is further proof of her skill as an author. First she intrigued us with her mystery that mingled with history in her Alaskan Courage series. Now, she’s proving herself as a cutting-edge suspense writer with “edgier” techniques and plots. Still Life is a fantastic novel that continues the story of a crime-solving group of friends. These include Declan, Griffin (from Cold Shot) and of course, our favorite Irish brogue speaking hero, Parker.
I want to know why you love me. Because I don't make sense without you. You're part of me.” - Still Life
Parker is, of course, a memorable and noble hero. His pursuit of Avery is pure and his acceptance of her secrets indicative of how he lives his life. Avery too is a strong, independent heroine who’s character is a woman we admire. Though it took me a few chapters to find my groove with this book (simply in coming to remember who everyone is, and their roles), once I did, the cadence flows easily and becomes gloriously familiar. The strong ties of friendship is to be admired, as is the sense of justice. All are themes that feature in this book with emphasis. It’s not just the storytelling, but each are themes that are ingrained in these characters DNA.

Aside from the mysterious angles, red herrings and whodunits, the romance in these stories works brilliantly well for one reason. This “golden rule” reason being that these characters aren’t strangers when the book begins. Whether it’s explored on page or not, we understand they share a past, which helps “sell” the realism of their shifting relationship – a relationship that has to pollinate in the span of days (thanks to the compacted story line). Declan also plays a greater role in Still Life than I'd expected, all of which is leading to Blind Spot (book three). 

It’s all of these important details that make the story, and bigger picture arc (the team seeking Luke, their missing college friend) that sets this up as a top of its class novel. Fast paced, this adrenaline laced story is sure to thrill any adventure seeker. Especially those of us who wildly cheer when, at the end of the day, it’s the good guys who win!

Synopsis: 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. – Goodreads

Coming Next from Dani Pettrey: FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that “the wrath is coming,” Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She’s sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can’t deny, and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell–and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives. – Goodreads, October 2017

Sincere thanks to the author and publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book.

Review text is © Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon), 


  1. I loved Still Life too! I can't wait for the next book in the series.

    1. Neither can I, Heidi. This series thus far has been amazing! Looking forward to discovering more about these characters. They're all so memorable. :)


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