When I saw this book on the list of books I could review for Bethany House, I immediately selected it. I have been planning to read Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series for awhile now, but I had put it off in order to read several of the other books waiting for me. Stranded is the third book in the romantic suspense series based in Alaska. I must confess that I have been somewhat obsessed with Alaska for close to twenty years now, and the setting was what drew me to this series. My mother is in Alaska right now on a cruise with excursions similar to the setting in Stranded, which reminded me that I should write my review. I hope the setting is the only thing my mother’s trip has in common with the cruise in the book.
I finally read the first two books in the series, so I could read Pettrey’s latest. I think I read all three books in five days. I had a hard time putting them down and stayed up reading well into the night. I feel like I should review the whole series, but I’ll try to focus on Stranded. I would strongly encourage you to read Submerged and Shattered before beginning this third installment because I think those two books are a little better than this one, plus they provide you with much background information on the main characters. Some authors rehash all of their characters’ histories from their previous books in a series to make sure the reader isn’t lost, but Dani Pettrey develops the main characters in each book in the series instead of giving the reader every detail in the first book and repeating all the details in each subsequent book. I like her style. I’m already looking forward to learning more about the next two characters in her next book.
Stranded is packed with ample suspense and sexual tension between the main characters, but I thought the plot line was somewhat fantastical. Darcy St. James is a reporter on board a cruise ship who is supposed to be writing about the adventure excursions, hopefully painting them in a positive light in order to encourage more guests to purchase excursion packages. Her real reason for being on the cruise ship is to help her friend, an undercover reporter, who has discovered something that scared her so much she requested Darcy’s help, but she disappears as soon as Darcy arrives. As the story unfolds and Darcy searches for Abby, Darcy places herself in harm’s way more often than any sensible person ever would. She uses the excuse of being a reporter to explain why she questions everyone repeatedly about Abby’s disappearance when she isn’t even supposed to know Abby. Darcy is working undercover as an adventure reporter and nearly blows her cover on the first excursion. I felt like her character was too easy for the other characters to read and would have gotten herself killed halfway through the book if it was more realistic. I still enjoyed the story and all the twists. I also enjoyed seeing the characters from the first two books develop a little further in this book.