With nearly one million books sold and a Daphne Du Maurier and National Reader’s Choice Award under her belt, bestselling author Dani Pettrey has established herself among the very top names in romance and suspense. Recently closing out her blockbuster Coastal Guardians Series, Pettrey trades the lush coast of North Carolina for the scenic desertscapes of the Southwest to launch a brand-new era of stories with One Wrong Move, book one in the Jeopardy Falls Series.

In this interview, Dani talks with us about her latest novel, One Wrong Move.

FF: One Wrong Move is the first book in your new Jeopardy Falls Series. Can you share with us what this book—and series—is about?
One Wrong Move is about two people with pasts they are ashamed of. Both are trying to make it right, but the road they’re taking only leads down a dangerous path of lies, riddles, and murder. Only when they come face-to-face with their pasts are they finally able to move beyond the hurt and heartache and find healing in God and one another.

FF: The last time you had a new series starting was back in 2019. How do you feel about entering a new era of your storytelling with the Jeopardy Falls Series?
Wow! It’s crazy to think it’s been that long. I’m ecstatic to be launching my fifth series with Bethany House. It often seems like I was just meeting my editor and starting my debut series the Alaskan Courage Saga. At other times, I think of all that has happened in the last decade—all the amazing booksellers, librarians, and readers I’ve met and been blessed by and the stories I’ve told. Now, launching Jeopardy Falls, I’m full of excitement and gratitude. I can’t wait for my amazingly supportive readers to get a new journey to set out on with the MacLeod family.

FF: How many stories can readers expect in this series?
There will four books in the series. One for each of the four MacLeod siblings, if the lost one decides to return home. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

FF: How does this series stand out from the other books you’ve written?
I think the biggest difference is the setting. I’ve always written coastal series. I’m a beach girl and love the ocean, so I’ve always set my series by water, but this time I’ve gone a completely different direction into the desert. Jeopardy Falls is set in a fictional town in New Mexico. Why New Mexico? Because I lived there for seven wonderful years and fell in love with the Land of Enchantment, and I wanted the opportunity to share such a breathtaking place with my readers.

FF: At the same time, what will longtime readers who enjoy your work love about these books as well?
The stories are still full of romance, suspense, adventure, those twists and turns that I love weaving in, and, of course, faith. My characters, particularly Andi and Christian in One Wrong Move, are real and raw and hurting. It’s through their journey together and the unplanned paths God leads them down that they find what they’ve been looking for all along.

FF: Each book in the series follows one of the MacLeod siblings as they strive to overcome a family legacy of crime. Without spoilers, can you give us a little background on the family and their history?
The siblings were raised in Las Vegas by illusionist parents, but beneath the glitz and the charm, their parents were con men, and they forced their children to participate in many of the schemes. They just kept pushing until one day they conned the wrong guy and had to go on the lam. Being raised in cruddy motel rooms, always on the move, always committing whatever crimes they could find to keep them going, the siblings—now grown—have to live with the trauma they endured as kids. Their mother incarcerated and their dad killed in a car bombing, the four siblings struggle to find their footing. It takes time and some big mistakes of their own before they find level footing in Christ. Now, they’ve turned their lives around and have devoted themselves as private investigators to bring those pulling cons, schemes, and heists to justice. To work off some of their “red.” It’ll take some rough roads with Jesus to see and accept that they are already forgiven and can let go of that need to prove ourselves worthy.

FF: This book takes place in the fictional town of Jeopardy Falls. What do you look forward to readers experiencing about this new locale?
A brand-new experience for those who have never experienced the Southwest. There will be beautiful sunrises over the mountains, purple- and orange-hue sunsets, horses, open land and skies, and a close-knit ranching community of wonderful and often quirky neighbors.

FF: Throughout your career, you’ve highlighted a variety of law enforcement and investigative professions in your books. What kind of research was required to write Christian and Andi’s characters accurately?
I spent a lot of time researching what private investigators do, the resources available to them, and the boundaries they can’t cross. It was fascinating and a little crazy to see all they, and anyone who’s good at research, can pull up on an individual. I also read a lot on real-life heists and the insurance agents who investigated them.

FF: What kind of reader do you envision will fall in love with Christian and Andi’s story—as well as the rest of the series?
I think readers who enjoy sweet romance, fast-paced suspense, and the fun of trying to figure out whodunit and how on earth the hero and heroine are going to survive.

FF: Do you have a favorite character that you’re especially excited for your readers to meet?
Greyson Chadwick. He’s surprisingly not one of the siblings, but he works with them. He’s a man of mysteries I still haven’t fully figured out, so I’m really excited to dive in to his story thread.

FF: One of the main themes in One Wrong Move that both Andi and Christian must deal with is facing the past to find healing. How do you think confronting old and often painful memories or choices that we’ve made can help us move forward?
I think there’s a place where we should confront past memories and past mistakes, but the key isn’t wallowing there. I come from a trauma background, so I’m not making light of the pain of anyone’s past, but rather speaking of a lesson I learned in my own life.

I had a lot to deal with and walk through, but at some point, I realized I needed to stop treading water and to swim for the shore. I feel like that’s Christian, and once he realizes he’s free to swim to shore, he will. Andi is in a different place with her past, one that keeps her in a killer’s crosshairs. How she deals with it is very different, which made the story really interesting for me to write. Seeing how God has different paths of healing for each of His children.

FF: What do you hope readers experience when picking up One Wrong Move?
I hope they feel like they’re part of Jeopardy Falls, riding in the car with Christian and Andi, seeing everything firsthand and experiencing the story as if they were there. I’ve called my stories “Armchair Adventures” since my debut novel, but it’s how I hope my readers enjoy my stories. Going along on the journey, the ups and downs, and Tilt-A-Whirl moments right from the comfort of their favorite chair with a yummy drink in hand.

One Wrong Move
Jeopardy Falls Series #1
Dani Pettrey
Bethany House
Genres: Mystery/Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 6, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎0764238485
ISBN-13: ‎978-0764238482

Book Summary:
Taunting riddles. A deadly string of heists. Two broken hearts trapped in a killer’s game.

Christian MacLeod was pulled into a life of crime at a young age by his con artist parents. Now making amends for his corrupt past, he has become one of the country’s foremost security experts. But when a string of Southwestern art heists targets one of the galleries Christian was in charge of securing, he is paired up with a gifted insurance investigator who has her own checkered past.

Andi Forester was a brilliant FBI forensic analyst until one of her colleagues destroyed her career, blaming her for mishandling evidence. She now puts those skills to work investigating insurance fraud, and this latest high-stakes case will test her abilities to the limit.

Drawn deep into a dangerous game with an opponent bent on revenge, Christian and Andi are in a race against the clock to catch the perpetrator, but the game is far from finished, and one wrong move could be the death of them both.


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About The Author

Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.