By Dani Pettrey
Alaskan Courage, #5
Bethany House, 2015
Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now paired together on Yancey's search-and-rescue canine unit, they begin to put aside old arguments as they come to see each other in a different light.
Then a call comes in from the Iditarod that will push them to their limits. Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing. Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. In order to save her, the man must use his knowledge as a mechanical engineer to do the kidnapper's bidding or she will die.
Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life, but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.
Dani Pettrey is an outstanding writer of romantic suspense that is more character driven than most in this genre, and I'm so glad she writes for the Christian market. Quality writing, vivid setting, rich characterization, exciting storyline, compelling romance - all these elements and more come together in a narrative that captured and held my attention from the very first page. But even more than that, I admire how Dani is able to show the vital role of faith in her characters' lives - which translates to ours as well.
I have only read the last two of this five-book series, but that's all it took to make me fall in love with the McKenna family. Something I think is unique to this series is that the characters, mystery, and romance are all strong in themselves, yet blend together and contribute equally to the story. Readers of the series will enjoy seeing all of the McKennas and their loved ones reunited in this book, with an especially satisfying epilogue.
Combining beautiful and rugged Alaskan scenery, the fascinating Iditarod race, and environmental issues, the mystery theme is highly entertaining in Sabotaged. There's plenty of action, but I especially enjoyed the plot that unfolds gradually through step-by-step investigation and questioning of potential suspects.
One of my favorite themes is that of the reformed bad boy, so I was looking forward to Reef's story. With his "irresponsible, playboy, and risk taker" past, it is inspiring to see him mature, take responsibility, and grow stronger in the faith passed down from his parents.
Kirra is a lovely young lady - vulnerable, sensitive and caring - and I was easily drawn to her. The way she carries guilt and anger from a tragic event in her past is something many readers can relate to, as well as her question of why? Kirra "believed God could make her whole again, but for some reason He hadn't yet. There was still a hollowness eating away inside her - one she attempted to hide, one she tried to fill by taking care of her dogs, but one that wouldn't go away."
I really appreciated how faith and prayer were such natural parts of this story. Sometimes Kirra would pray silently and then recall a meaningful verse of Scripture. That's the beauty of being familiar with God's Word and really spoke to me. But its Kirra's questioning of why bad things happen that almost every reader will connect with, and if there's one verse that encapsulates the theme, it's these words of Christ that Kirra recalled: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Satobated is romantic suspense at its best; highly recommended. I will greatly miss the McKenna family, but am eager to meet a new cast of characters in Dani's next series.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for a giveaway of Sabotaged!
Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and her latest release, Sabotaged. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their daughters, son-in-law, and super-adorable grandson.
Thank you to Amanda Dykes and Bethany Publishing for providing an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.