After a hiatus from Baltimore's photography scene, Avery Tate finds herself back in the fray of things when her friend, Skylar, invites her to the opening gala for a Black Dahlia-inspired photo exhibit that Skylar posed for. Only Skylar doesn't show for the gala. Avery begins to worry when, after studying her friend's photo, she fears the depiction of death is far too real. Suspecting foul play, Avery reaches out to the one person she trusts to help her find the truth- expert crime scene investigator Parker Mitchell. Avery and Parker had worked together previously, that is, until her feelings for Parker became too much. Knowing her heart may be trampled in the process, Avery courageously works along side Parker tracking clues to her friend's disappearance hoping to find her alive. What she finds in the process is redemption from her own shameful past, comfort from friends as she faces Skylar's ultimate fate, and an abiding love she never thought possible from the man who stole her heart. Filled with unexpected twists to the plot, Pettrey once again presents an exciting romantic suspense thriller with an ending that is full of surprises!
I am loving this series, and especially enjoy having the whole Chesapeake Valor gang woven throughout the plot of Still Life. Their support and care for each other and the interplay between the different personalities is delightful! In Cold Shot, readers were introduced to Avery as a minor character. Still Life reveals a strong, brave, and determined female lead through Avery's character which is quite refreshing! No wilting flower here! A vulnerable side of Avery is also showcased as she has to face Parker knowing her heart may be broken and that any hope she may have at a relationship with him may be crushed when he discovers a past that shames and embarrasses her. But of course, the lovable Parker Mitchell had other plans! As in Cold Shot, Pettrey showcases Parker's depth of emotion as he loves hard, plays hard, and is fiercely protective of those he cares about. Once he lays to rest his feelings of betraying his first love who was murdered seven years ago if he pursues Avery, Parker unleashes his feelings for her revealing a deep love filled with devotion and passion for her.
One last thought I'd like to share. I have read in some other reviews that readers have felt uncomfortable with the dark, morbid back drop of this novel in the Black Dahlia theme. It is an author's job to draw the reader in and make them feel as though they are part of the story and surroundings. If the reader did not feel the urge to sleep with a light on or look over her shoulder, Pettrey would not have done her job well. I say BRAVO to Pettrey!
This review contains my own thoughts and opinions. I received a free preview copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Dani Pettrey, is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the author of the bestselling romantic suspense Alaskan Courage series. She is winner of the 2013 Holt Medallion for First Novel and the Colorado Romance Writers 2013 Award of Excellence. She and her husband have two daughters and reside in the D.C. Metro area. To learn more about the author and her books, visit her website at danipettrey.com.