A prologue opens the novel Submerged and thrusts readers right into a mystery - who sabotaged the plane ending in crash that causes several deaths and why? Frequent Christian fiction readers will find a style similar to Dee Henderson. Book one in the Alaskan Courage series features Bailey who returns to the Alaskan village of her teen years to attend her aunt's funeral, fearful that residents will remember her as a wild, reckless girl and will not be able to see the stable, grounded woman she has become. Her plan is to take care of family business and quickly leave town. When a stolen old Russian diary, two more dead bodies, and rumors of an island village that sank years ago in an earthquake seem to be all connected, Bailey's expertise in Russian history is needed. Resuce diver Cole and his family are also thrust into solving the mystery. Despite the danger, Cole is thankful for each day Bailey must spend in Alaska. How can he convince her that he's long ago forgiven her for the mistakes she made ten years ago? And if she decides to leave, how will his heart mend a second time?
This romantic mystery illustrates that when given new chances and new lives, we too often continue to punish ourselves and refuse to truly accept that the past is over. For Bailey, returning to Yancey means facing once again a past she thought she had left behind. Author Pettrey excels in creating exciting beginnings. Both the prologue and the first chapters demanded that I continue reading. At times I felt Bailey fears about her past were a little heavy handed, but then Pettrey included a very realistic scene in which some of the girl's "past so-called partying friends" treated her as they had ten years earlier, making her fears seem plausible.
The violence and crime is not "whitewashed' as it sometimes is in "quiet mysteries," but it is not raw and horrific like many contemporary thrillers. Balanced with the romance and the story's positive lesson about second chances through the Lord, Submerged is a title I could recommend for readers age 13 and up. Older readers like myself, who have read hundreds upon hundreds of books, the style and story will not stand out as unique, but it is still an enjoyable read. Like Dee Henderson's mystery series, this book provides plenty of opportunity for further books set in Yancey, Alaska and featuring more members of the extended McKenna. Check out Dani Pettrey's website to read about her, listen to an interview about Submerged, her first book, and get a preview of her next book Shattered.
I received this title from Bethany House for review purposes. I am not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
Isn't this a great cover? I had this book lying on my counter on a night when I had out of town and dinner guests. Several people noticed it and wanted to know who was reading this book.