Still Life

Still Life – Dani Pettrey – Chesapeake Valor #2 – Bethany House Publishers – 31 January 2017



Work hits too close to home for crime scene photographer Avery Tate when her best friend disappears. The only lead is a chilling photo of her–apparently dead. As Avery, her boss Parker, and his friends dig into the case, she’s forced to confront her feelings for Parker when they come face-to-face with a dangerous criminal.

My thoughts

I do love a good mystery and Still Life has so many wonderful twists, intriguing suspects, and really good, dark mystery. Romance, faith, and friendship in the midst of some serious crime fighting? Love it.

I really loved Cold Shot, the first book in the Chesapeake Valor series. Still Life brings us back to the gang of crime-fighting friends, who this time regroup to help Avery track down her missing friend.

When Avery’s childhood friend Skylar invites Avery to a gallery showing, Avery is excited to think Skylar might be getting her life on track. But then Skylar doesn’t appear and the photograph featuring Skylar is revealed as a fake. Avery is desperately worried about her friend and calls her ex-boss, crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell to help track her down. Then FBI agent Declan Grey is called in to investigate the stolen artwork and the group of friends unite.

The investigation in Still Life is fast-paced and compelling. As we switch between chapters and character perspectives, mainly featuring Avery and Parker, and Declan, Lexi, and Tanner, all aspects of the crime are uncovered. While Avery and Parker chase down leads in regards to Skylar’s disappearance, Declan and Lexi are handed another case involving a dead federal agent and refugees that quickly sparks panic…

We first saw a glimpse of Avery and Parker’s chemistry in Cold Shot. We know that Avery has fallen for Parker, in fact she mentions it several times right from the start of Still Life. Her feelings are the reason she stopped working for Parker a few months ago. She knows he is still in love with his first love Jenna, who died many years ago. As they work the case they each have to address their feelings, both from the present and regarding their pasts. Avery and Parker’s light banter relieves the tension of the mystery, as does the strong friendship of the whole group.

Along with the current mystery of missing model and artwork, Still Life uncovers a few more clues about the missing, presumed dead Luke Gallagher, who was Kate’s boyfriend and a friend of Declan and Parker’s.

It took a little while to sink back into this series and reconnect with everyone. It’s a big group – Declan, Lexi, Griffin, Tanner, Avery, Parker, Kate and Finley – but it is so wonderful to join with them all again. That’s why I think it is important to read this series in order, starting with Cold Shot. While each book has its own main mystery to solve and featured couple, the ongoing mysteries and friendship threads are best understood if the books are read chronologically. Still Life also nicely sets up the story for Tanner and Declan’s romance (yes?? Please?) which is set to star in the next book in the series.

I really enjoyed reading Still Life, loved the romance and was intrigued by the thrilling mystery. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Fiction

Genre: Christian mystery/thriller.

Themes:  Mystery, detective, FBI, photography, crime scene investigation, romance, friendship, missing persons.

Published:  31 January 2017 by Bethany House Publishers.

Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. 352 pages.

ISBN: 9780764212956

Find it on Goodreads