Westerhall Books (2020)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/20)
“Grave Instinct” is the first book in the new K-9 mystery series by award-winning author, Bev Pettersen.
Nikki Drake dedicates her life to becoming an investigator after a difficult childhood, the tragic loss of her father at an early age and a missing sister. Teaming up with Gunner, a trained K-9, Nikki works on building her business. Ten years after her sister’s disappearance, another young lady goes missing. This triggers a lot of memories for Nikki and she is determined to help solve this case. Justin, Nikki’s former coworker at a horse stable, who is now in law enforcement, begins to take on a different role in her life. Romance ensues, but Nikki has a hard time trusting and moving on from the scars caused by her past. It doesn’t help that a friend, who has special gifts, has warned her not to trust someone close to her. Nikki has to quickly figure out who that person is, because not only does she risk losing her relationship, her life is in danger.
“Grave Instinct” fast paced and involves complex characters. The author Bev Pettersen did an excellent job of creating a complicated plot with a likeable, but sometimes frustrating heroine. Frustrating because the heroine is impacted by her past which makes it hard for her to move forward. She has to push through to move forward. However, her flaws are well understood because of the backstory presented regarding her childhood. The other characters are also well developed and continue to evolve as the story progresses.
Incorporating a canine, who is also affected by his past, adds a nice element to the story. The dog is the one character that the protagonist knows that she can trust. Pettersen also writes in vivid detail so that readers can clearly see the settings, without being dragged down by too much detail. Her descriptions flow well. I look forward to following along with the heroine on her next adventures in this series. Fans of mystery will enjoy “Grave Instinct.”