About This Book
Finally returned home, Reef McKenna find his beloved Alaska facing its greatest threat.
Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska’s arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.
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. 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 was my introduction to the Romantic Suspense genre, and ever since her debut Submerged I have breathlessly awaited each new installment of the Alaskan Courage series. But I was admittedly worried about this final book: would it be a fitting conclusion to the saga of the McKenna clan? Would it give me a proper chance to bid adieu to characters I’ve really become invested in for the past four books? I’m delighted to say my worries were completely unfounded. In a word, this book ROCKED.
I’ve really enjoyed watched Pettrey’s storytelling skills develop along with her series. She uses a brisk combination of action, reflection and dialogue to really bring the story to life and keep readers on the edge of their seats. A fast pace is typical for this genre, but it never felt rushed. I was dropped into the action from the very first page, and the story just kept shifting to higher gears as the story unfolded. I couldn’t put it down! This genre lends itself more to external conflict than internal, but Pettrey does an excellent job of peeling back the layers of her characters to reveal how they’re growing and changing as they deal with the harrowing events thrown at them.
Reef, the youngest McKenna sibling, has been something of an outcast for most of the series, especially after he was accused of murder in the second book, Shattered. Thus, while we’ve had glimpses of his character growth over the past four books, it was great to finally see him front and center. And what a tenderhearted, swoon-worthy hero he proved to be! Kirra was also a very compelling heroine and very relatable as she struggled with having bad things happen to her despite always walking the straight and narrow path. And, as hoped, this series finale brought the entire McKenna clan back on stage for plenty of nail-biting action and adventure, and the final scene was a perfect, heartwarming curtain call.
Reef and Kirra’s story really began in the previous book, Silenced, but they still had plenty of ground to make up in this book, and readers who haven’t read the rest of the series will not feel left out. They each have difficult pasts to overcome, and—what’s always so much fun with this genre—they not only have to fight for their relationship, but they have to fight to survive long enough to even have a relationship! They absolutely earned their “happily ever after,” as did the entire McKenna clan. And readers who have read all or parts of this series before will enjoy returning to the vast natural beauty of America’s “Last Frontier.” I particularly enjoyed the behind-the-scenes story of the iconic Iditarod dogsled race. Who knew all that was happening while the racers compete? I sure didn’t!
These characters are all believers struggling to live out their faith in their day-to-day lives. Their conversations about God, their prayers, and their doubts make the spiritual thread of this story very realistic. And readers will surely be able to relate to the themes of hope and restoration woven throughout.
There is a minimal body count, though nothing is graphically described. The story of Kirra’s past makes for a couple of pretty intense scenes, including a near-physical confrontation that implies (though never actually uses) explicit language. And, as normal for this genre, there are some other dangerous, life-threatening scenes as Reef and Kirra are threatened, chased, hunted, shot at, etc.
Pettrey has soared to the pinnacle of her genre, and her great blend of emotional connection to the characters with the unique Alaskan setting make her a standout favorite for me personally. While I’m a bit sad to bid this series farewell, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! And I know men and women of all ages who enjoy thrilling adventure stories are right there with me. But for now, I have teary eyes and a huge smile on my face as I close the book on Sabotaged and on the McKenna family. I didn’t want this book or this series to end! With each new volume of the Alaskan Courage series, Dani Pettrey’s storytelling skills have clearly blossomed, and in this fifth and final book, she weaves an ecoterrorism mystery full of red herrings into the iconic Iditarod race to create the perfect final act and curtain call for her brilliant debut series.
Available February 3, 2015 from Bethany House Publishers