Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
Review: She may be the baby of the family but Piper is one determined girl. Her brother’s return to Alaska is shattered when he stands accused of murder. Fiercely protective of those she loves, Piper refuses to believe that Reef could ever murder anyone even as the evidence is mounted. Making matters worse, the one person Piper thought she could trust, is who makes the arrest. Deputy Landon Grainger is conflicted at the prospect of arresting Reef McKenna. For over ten years, he has been a part of their family and Cole’s best friend but now, in order to uphold the law, he has to follow where the evidence leads, only doing so will mean crushing Piper. Refusing to stand by helpless, Piper determines she’ll carry out her own investigation, and Landon can do nothing to stop her. In order to keep close tabs on her, he sticks to her side, wanting to protect the woman he has silently loved since they were kids…
It is rare for me to be giddy over a suspense work of fiction. Sure, I like the genre as well as the next person but it’s one I’ve drifted from since reading Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series years ago. Nothing seemed to intrigue like those books. Until now. In Dani Pettrey’s terrific character driven series, I feel as if I’ve stepped into a world that, although it’s nothing more than fiction is in fact, very real. At the heart of the story is the McKenna clan. We likely remember Piper, the “pesky” youngest McKenna sibling whose apparent reckless choices suspiciously strikes a raging fear in the heart of family friend and Deputy, Landon Grainger. Piper is an interesting lady. Her character is easily loved and I particularly enjoyed her young age as it made her motivations and personality more relatable and easy to identify with. Everything Piper does is to protect her family, perhaps she even overcompensates with this trait because she is the youngest and most “protected” by each of her siblings. We feel Piper’s heart as she fights to clear her brother’s name. Because of Piper’s persistence, the story is actually a compelling one.
Normally, I don’t pay much mind to or anticipate the supporting cast of characters in a story. This series is a completely different scenario. It’s the support the McKenna’s lend one another that makes the outlines and background of the story so charismatic. In my naïve attitude, the task of creating genuine romantic sparks is one not easily surmounted. This is where Piper and Landon being an influential part of Submerged makes their story all the more poignant. Landon’s heart is Piper’s completely – perhaps even to a fault since he allows his anger, hurt and confusion to control the choices he makes. It’s a spiral that almost begins to rule him again as it once did in the past. Even though these characters are what makes the story charismatic and center every part of the narrative, none of this even begins to touch the suspense which is terrific. There isn’t a single hole to the plotting, written skillfully to make the reader work to figure out what the mystery is. Even the culmination of the ending is good. What surrounded the cause of the mystery was impressive and seemed plausible though surprising. Like she did with Submerged Dani Pettrey never shirks in creating nail-biting suspense. It’s a novel that will cause you to pause to catch your breath – in more than one of its beautiful vistas.
What’s Next: When her friend vanishes from a cruise ship, reporter Darcy St. James isn’t satisfied with their explanation that she simply left her job of her own accord. Something isn’t lining up, and Darcy believes the only way to find the truth is to put herself in Abby’s position. Within days, Darcy learns her friend wasn’t the only person to disappear mysteriously. Last summer, a woman vanished under almost identical circumstances.
Gage McKenna has taken a summer-long stint leading adventure excursions for the passengers of various cruise lines that dock for a few days of sightseeing. He’s surprised to find Darcy working aboard one of the ships, investigating a troubling report. Something sinister is going on and the deeper they dig the more Gage fears they’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg. – September 2013
Synopsis: Piper McKenna couldn’t be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed–but despite the evidence, Reef swears he’s innocent. And Piper believes him.
Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he’s also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon’s career.
With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada’s rugged backcountry–and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.
With thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for reviewing purposes.