23 February 2016

Review: Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

Amazon Description

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

The writing, plot and characters in Cold Shot were all solid, but it felt as if the story was trying to achieve too much, trying to bring in too much history (which is alluded to in the Amazon description, but an ebook doesn’t have a back cover, so it wasn’t so obvious). The story and characters felt a little forced at times, as though the author was trying to hide then reveal the history connecting the main characters. I found it difficult to place where the novel was set at first—I guess most Americans know where Gettysburg is, but not all Christian fiction readers are American.

It also felt as though there were too many characters—most romantic suspense novels have the hero and heroine, plus a couple of related men or women who are being set up to lead in future novels in the series. This was the case, but there were too many additional characters—not just the four college friends, but others as well. It felt as though the story had moved from Griffin and Finley to focussing on other characters, including one off-stage ‘missing’ character (which was a too-obvious set-up for a future book).

The overabundance of characters combined with the complex plot meant the novel lost focus. It wasn’t bad: I simply didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the books in her earlier Alaskan Courage series.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.


  1. Thanks for your thoughtful review. Your comment on the setting of Gettysburg made me really think. For an American, even if you slept through most of your history classes, Gettysburg conjures up distinct images and thoughts. The site of the bloodiest battle of our Civil War and the turning point that resulted in a restored Union, it is still an iconic place in our history. Your comment of not knowing Gettysburg got me thinking about how many significant places in history go right over my head when mentioned in a book. Culloden, Hastings, Dunkirk, Stalingrad -- these are just a few that may mean nothing to people far removed in time and geography. I am determined now to do a bit more research on the settings of the books I read. Thanks!

    1. I've heard of the Gettysburg Address, but still didn't know where it is. It must be a tough balance for authors - giving enough information that people who are unfamiliar with the place will get it, but not so much as to patronise those who do know. It doesn't help that major Civil War battles were fought in a number of states, North and South.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I am currently reading Rachel McMillan's The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder which is set in Toronto in the early 1900s. I was embarrassingly ignorant about that city. But, thanks to Google and Wikipedia, I now know about the places mentioned in the book. I think it will make a difference to have images in my mind as I read about Herringford and Watt's adventures.