Dani Pettrey writes another intriguing suspense in her Alaskan Courage series. Shattered picks up pretty much where Submerged leaves off, with the focus shifting to Piper and Landon and introducing Piper's brother Gage and the reporter Darcy St. James (the main characters of the next book, Stranded).
I do like that Pettrey introduces the secondary viewpoints in her novels - first Piper and Landon in Submerged and then Gage and Darcy in Shattered. It allows one to get a feel for the characters (who seem to star in the following book, making it a smoother transition from book to book) while still moving the plot of this novel along. The relationships seem more developed - Piper and Landon are very sibling-like in how they bicker and meddle with each other in the beginning of Submerged, but the reader gets a feel as to how their relationship starts changing enough that they actually fall in love in Shattered. Shattered has laid a groundwork for why Gage and Darcy even know each other, let alone may possibly develop into something more. This style of writing gives the relationships the stronger foundation of time - they are not confined to 320 pages to meet, get thrown together in some crazy experience, and fall in love and marry all in the same novel.
One small thing still bothers me, unfortunately - Pettrey's use of two familiar names: Meredith Blake and Darcy St. James. Meredith Blake, the prosecutor and Gage's ex-girlfriend, is the name of the evil, gold-digger girlfriend in Disney's 1998 The Parent Trap (perhaps this reference is a little obscure, but I still remembered it). The other, Darcy St. James, is the heroine of fellow Christian suspense author Dee Henderson's True Honor. Of all the possible semi-typical American name combinations, it seemed odd that Pettrey hit on two that I knew from other works. Granted, the personality of Meredith Blake from The Parent Trap suited my image of the unpleasant Meredith Blake in Shattered rather well, so it was actually fitting to picture the actress in my mind when reading Meredith's parts in the novel.
I feel that Submerged has stronger Christian themes than Shattered; Submerged deals a lot in redemption, forgiveness, and living new life in Christ (the old has passed away!), whereas Shattered more lightly touches on Landon's return to Christ. I would not have minded a little more development to that aspect of the story, but what Pettrey includes is still solid.
A highly enjoyable novel, with strong romantic tension and high adventure - I look forward to the next book in the series!
0.5: "Shadowed" (Sins of the Past romantic suspense novella collection)