Along with finding the killer, Griffin must face his past, confront his demons and come to terms with a few hard truths to not only protect the woman he can no longer deny he loves, but to feel worthy of her. Unbeknownst to Griffin, the "perfect" Finley is fighting demons of her own when their case places her life in danger, reminiscent of a previous case that left her with scars she desperately tries to hide from her new friends. What exactly happened to Finley also remains a mystery through a large part of the story, adding to the list of mysteries which must be solved.
It may not be fair to compare an author's newest works to its predecessors, but let's be honest; we all do it. While the quality of Dani Pettrey's work remains top notch, I found that I did not enjoy Cold Shot nearly as much as I did the Alaskan Courage series, each book having had me on the edge of my seat throughout. Those were well-researched, had great suspense, character depth and growth and tangible chemistry. This was not the case with Cold Shot. I just did not connect with Griffin and Finley, or their story, to the extent that I was invested in the outcome, or ever feared for their safety at any one point. I was way more invested in the few moments we got to share with Parker and Avery (who feature as the main characters in the second Chesapeake Valor book, Still Life; review to follow in due course). Both Griffin and Finley are likable, intriguing characters, but for me they just did not have the chemistry I have come to expect from Pettrey and I found it hard to get emotionally invested in their story. While Finley is opened interested in Griffin from the get-go, the bigger part of the story sees Griffin fighting his attraction to Finley and shooting her down. At times I also found myself thinking that Finley does not have enough scenes and that she does not feel like a main character. Instead of utilizing the potential a smart and brave female character such as Finley presented, her skills were ultimately not essential to the investigation, and she became a sidekick to Griffin's hero, sadly only serving as a damsel in distress for him to protect. I would say Cold Shot is about 80% mystery, 20% romance, and I personally prefer my mystery-to-romance-ratio way more balanced.
I do love the way Pettrey portrayed both Griffin and Finley as devout Christians who each have a deep, meaningful relationship with God. The religion aspect of the book was perfectly balanced, very much present but not too overbearing to be off-putting to readers who might be non-believers. I loved all of the prayers both Griffin and Finley prayed; those were beautifully written.
All in all Cold Shot is by no means a disappointing read, but I cannot deny that it fell short of my expectations. I am, however, very much looking forward to reading Parker and Avery's story and I will be picking up Still Life shortly.