Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Shattered" Review

Piper McKenna can’t believe it when her brother, Reef, stumbles into her house covered in blood. When he is later arrested for the murder of a fellow snowboarder, Piper is determined to learn the truth.

Deputy Landon Grainger feels caught in the middle as he makes the arrest of Reef for the murder of Karli Davis. The McKennas feel like family since they took him in years ago, and he feels as if he is betraying them. But the evidence is overwhelming, and so Reef has to go to jail.

With Piper launching her own search for the truth and the sheriff only concerned about a quick conviction, Landon makes the decision to follow Piper and see where their own investigation may lead. But is Landon concerned with finding the truth or with a growing sense of protectiveness towards Piper that seems to be leading to something more?

Shattered follows the McKennas and Landon as they race to uncover the truth about Karli Davis and her murder. And the more they find out, the more dangerous it becomes.

I enjoyed the first novel in the Alaskan Courage series, Submerged, by new author Dani Pettrey, but I wasn’t necessarily blown away by it. That is the same feeling that I have about this second offering, though from the many reviews I have read online, I seem to be in the minority.

While the suspense was great and the plot was action-packed, the main thing that made this novel only OK was that the mystery was almost impossible to figure out. A key piece of information – the only thing that I saw to figure out the killer and the motive and the connection to Karli – was not revealed until 80% of the way through the book. (I was reading on my Kindle, so I know!) It wasn’t even hinted at anywhere in the previous pages of the book. The reader didn’t have any idea that this person or place existed until that point in time, so how could we have ever figured it out? It just came out of left field. Even after finishing the book, I am having a hard time remembering the bad guy’s name and motive, which for me says that I had no connection with the facts throughout the novel.

One thing I liked about both books in this series is that there was a good balance between the suspense and the romance portions. While the reader knows from the beginning that the two will probably get together, it was neat seeing how all of that fit together within the background of the action and suspense.

If we are talking purely about the romantic story, though, I thought the plot devices used were ones that are overused in this genre. The “Big Misunderstanding” and the “If You Would Just Sit Down and Talk about How You Feel Already” tactics were what kept the characters apart for practically the whole book. Not the most original ways to keep that part of the plot going, but it did do its job, I guess. There are several times where it is mentioned that characters (not main ones) are sleeping around, a scene of almost date rape, and a couple of times where a character (a main one this time) mentions needing to take a cold shower. The good thing is that this is balanced by Piper and others saying that the best thing to do is to wait until marriage to have sex.

As for the characters in this novel, there are a lot of them, especially minor ones who are only mentioned in the course of the investigation. I did like how the next book was set up in this one, at least partially. It was also quite exciting to have the investigation take the characters to different places in Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, and California. The characters talked so much about how cold it was in Alaska (zero or below zero in some cases) that I really felt sorry for those snowboarders out there having to compete in that cold weather!

So, after saying all of that, I think one of the best parts of the novel was that there was a clear message of God’s grace and forgiveness and guidance that came through. The main characters (most of them) comprehend the reality that Christ died for them on the cross and try to live their lives for Him.

While there were some things about Shattered that kept it from being a truly great read for me, the book was still compelling with its suspense and fast-paced action that kept the plot moving.

I will give Shattered ... 3 BookWorms.

Shattered by Dani Pettrey
Bethany House Publishers
Publication date: February 1, 2013
Alaskan Courage Series #2

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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