I enjoyed The Crushing Depths, which is Book Two of the Coastal Guardian series by Dani Pettrey. It is a fast-pasted adventure-romance story with several detestable villains and a surprisingly sympathetic villain at the end. Multiple storylines are tied together nicely in the conclusion. Although it is a long book - 371 pages in the Kindle version - the chapters are short, which breaks up the reading nicely.
The story begins when a man on the ocean oil rig Dauntless goes out for a smoke and ignites some fumes, which end up burning him to death before help can come. The Coast Guard Investigative Services - CGIS - is sent in to investigate whether it is an accident or murder. Investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers fly out to the rig and almost die en route. Was that an accident, or is someone deliberately trying to stall the investigation? When they do arrive, with the help of some environmental protestors, they learn that the crew is nervous about Henry’s curse - a curse that rests on any vessel in these waters. Could the curse be responsible for multiple accidents?
Naturally, seasoned investigators don’t believe in an old curse, but what or who is responsible? The entire team is involved in tracking down clues on land and on the rig. Questions and danger seem to lurk around every corner. In addition, a Coast Guard medic is being terrorized in her own home. Are these things related? Are the environmental protestors behind this, is it someone on the crew, or are other sinister forces at work?
The story has lots of action as it follows the investigation of multiple deaths connected to the Dauntless. The characters are interesting and believable. Dani Pettrey’s presentation of Christianity is realistic without being intrusive in the story. Almost everyone on the team is involved in a romance in some way, from the ‘she is so frustrating, I can’t really be liking her, can I’ to the long lost loves reunited. Rissi and Mason are certainly front and centre in this department - as well as in the investigation as partners - although some of the kissing descriptions reminded me of The Princess Bride - but maybe that’s just me.
Dani Pettrey is certainly a talented and skilful writer with well-earned rewards. This book is well worth reading, although I would not put it on my “Can’t Put It Down Til It’s Finished” list.