Monday, April 23, 2018

Dead Girl Running

Dead Girl Running (Cape Charade) by [Dodd, Christina]

Dead Girl Running (Cape Charade)- Christina Dodd
HQN Books
Release Date: April 24, 2018


Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Synopsis: Girl running...from a year she can't remember, from a husband she prays is dead, from homelessness and fear. Tough, capable Kellen Adams takes a job as assistant manager of a remote vacation resort on the North Pacific Coast. There amid the towering storms and the lashing waves, she hopes to find sanctuary. But when she discovers a woman's dead and mutilated body, she's soon trying to keep her own secrets while investigating first one murder...then another. 

Now every guest and employee is a suspect. Every friendly face a mask. Every kind word a lie. Kellen's driven to defend her job, her friends and the place she's come to call home. Yet she wonders--with the scar of a gunshot on her forehead and amnesia that leaves her unsure of her own past--could the killer be staring her in the face?


Dead Girl Running begins Christina Dodd's new Cape Charade series with a bang.  Smuggling, stolen artifacts, murder and blackmail all within the first few pages let the reader know just what kind of pace Dodd is going to set for the book, and she lives up to it.  Running's heroine, Kellen Adams, is a puzzle of conflicting pieces: strong, intelligent, independent, while also plagued by nightmares, emotionally fragile, and not always sure she trusts her own mind.  A retired Army veteran, Kellen has been through the war zones (literally) but some of her worst nightmares happened in the United States.  She has a gunshot wound scar on her head and can't remember a year of her life.  

Dodd (Because I'm Watching) does a good job of introducing the reader to Kellen, and let's us see Kellen's confusion and divided self more and more as the book progresses.  Kellen spends most of the book trying to live up to the memory of her cousin and make her proud- only to discover that while she pretended to be that strong person, she actually became that person. In trying to solve the murders shaking up her quiet life at Cape Charade, Kellen finds herself dealing with a suspicious possible-federal agent, obnoxious hotel staff, suspicious guests, and friends she thought she knew and trusted.  Then in comes security expert Max Di Luca (of the Bella Terra De Lucas) and Kellen gets even more confused.  She doesn't know Max, but something about him seems familiar.  Could he be a part of her missing year?  The ending of Dead Girl Running was as energetic and action-packed as any action movie.  But what I liked best was that Kellen remained the independent warrior she had trained herself to be.  She didn't need Max to save her, she saved herself. Repeatedly.     

Readers should be warned that the end of Dead Girl Running isn't the end.  We have to wait until next year's What Doesn't Kill Me to answer some of the questions about Kellen's past- not to mention what she decides for her future!  But the mystery to Running is solved, so don't fear a cliff-hanger of an ending!  Dead Girl Running does contain some scenes of domestic violence and abuse. Dodd handles these scenes and their emotional aftermath with sensitivity, but readers should be aware for possible triggers.

Fans of Dodd's Virtue Falls series will cheer this move down the coast to the Yearning Sands Resort and new readers will wonder how they went so long without reading anything by Christina Dodd.  A must read for all mystery/suspense lovers! 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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