Cold Shot (Dani Pettrey) – Review

4 stars


Finley climbed in her car and shut the door before swallowing a handful of deep, unsteady breaths.
Declan had been shot.  Griffin had been with him.  What if Declan didn’t pull through?  What if Griffin had been the one shot?  Feelings she hadn’t wanted to acknowledge burst uncontrollably through her, trembling through her limbs with searing anxiety.
She lifted her jangling keys, willing her hand to settle so she could slide them into the ignition when movement in her rearview mirror caught her eye.
“Hello, Dr. Scott,” the man said from the backseat.
She froze.
His gun settled against her headrest, the muzzle flush with the back of her skull.
“Wh-who . . . are you?”
“General Perera.  But you, my dear, may call me Mark.”

Publisher’s Overview
Four Best Friends.
And Then One Went Missing . . .

In college, Griffin McCray and his three best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore Police Department, Declan Grey would head to the FBI, and Parker Mitchell would study to become a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now years later, Griffin has left the police and his friendships behind. Still trying to forget a case that went bad when he was a SWAT team sniper, he’s living a quiet life as a park ranger at Gettysburg. Quiet until skeletal remains are uncovered near Little Round Top–and they aren’t Civil War-era.

Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott discovers evidence pointing to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Grey steps in to take over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of crime, danger, and murder.


My review
There’s plenty going on in the first installment of Dani Pettrey’s new romantic suspense series: Skeletal remains found in a Civil War burial ground that are much more recent than the 1860s, a close friend who disappeared seven years ago without a trace, and a tragedy that has come between best friends.

Finley Scott is all but finished the archaeological dig at Gettysburg National Military Park when grave robbers unearth a skeleton that still has soft tissue attached. Little does she know that Parker Mitchell, the Crime Scene Investigator she calls to the site, was once Chief Ranger Griffin McCray’s best friend – not that you would be able to tell from the tension that thickens the air whenever they’re near each other. When Griffin calls FBI Agent Declan Grey in on the case, the fractured trio of life-long mates is complete – if you’re not counting Luke Gallagher, whose disappearance seven years ago remains a mystery.

Add in a crime scene photographer (Avery Tate) and a private investigator and hacker extraordinaire (Kate Whose-surname-I-can’t-seem-to-find) and you have quite a cast of characters to play with.  It is fairly obvious that these characters will form the basis of future books in the series, along with their interpersonal tensions and unanswered questions about the past.

This was a bit of a mixed read for me. The story kept me intrigued, but I felt as though the writing let me down a little. We often ‘hear’ everything the character is thinking, whereas I prefer to infer this from the dialogue and action or make my own observations. The character’s thoughts also interrupted or slowed the flow of the scene at times or made the dialogue seem redundant. For example, at one point Finley looks at Griffin, thinking to herself that he has just made an extremely keen observation. He cocks his head because she’s staring and questions her: “Yes?” She apologises: “Sorry.” She blinked. “I was just thinking what great observation you had.”

There were also some aspects of the character/romance development that didn’t quite gel for me.  Griffin has supposedly been behaving boorishly towards Finley prior to the beginning of the novel (as a protective measure against his attraction to her), and so he’s been both the bane of Finley’s existence and the object of a growing, but unwanted attraction for the last five months.  Despite this, there was very little tension in their relationship, and there didn’t seem to be any reason for this supposed change.  Griffin’s lack of confidence in his instincts and Finley’s panic attacks and previous trauma are also referenced frequently in the earlier stages of the novel, and yet they kind of fizzled away as the novel progressed.  We learn more about the circumstances behind these through the course of the novel, but I didn’t feel that we were shown how they came to terms with the incidents.

That being said, these things didn’t ruin the story for me, they just prevented me from being as fully immersed in the story as I would have liked.  I did like the brief scenes from the antagonist’s point-of-view that built up the tension without revealing his identity.  The plot moved along at a good pace with a few twists and turns along the way, and the tensions between Griffin and his friends added an extra dimension to the story that will carry through to at least the next book in the series.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Buy from:        

Release date:  2 February 2016 (available on Kindle now!)
Pages: 336
Publisher:  Bethany House
Author’s Website:

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, New Releases, Romantic Suspense and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.