Review: Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd

Title: Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd
Cape Charade Series Book One
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


I have three confessions to make:
1. I’ve got the scar of a gunshot on my forehead.
2. I don’t remember an entire year of my life.
3. My name is Kellen Adams…and that’s half a lie.

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 by Christina Dodd is a gripping, suspenseful mystery. This first installment in the Cape Charade series is a spin-off of the Virtue Falls series and can be read as a standalone.

Kellen Adams is a former Army officer now working as an assistant manager at a guest resort along the Washington Coast.  Since business is slow during the dreary winter months, Kellen is in charge while resort owners Annie and Leo Di Luca are on vacation. Things become complicated right away when the remains of the former assistant manager turn up just as the head of security takes a leave of absence. Although Kellen has hired several of her fellow veterans, Birdie Haynes is the only person she feels like she can really trust. When a new round of guests arrive, Kellen is immediately suspicious of Nils Brooks, who claims he is an author doing research for a book he is writing. Is Nils who he says he is? Does his arrival have any connection to the murder of the previous assistant manager?

Kellen has an uncanny ability to immediately size up the people around her and her observations are wry and usually accurate. She hates that she has doubts about the people she implicitly trusted during battle but some of their behavior is eyebrow raising. Kellen has settled into her new job with ease but she is a little uneasy investigating what happened to her predecessor. When Nils takes her into his confidence, she is naturally skeptical of his claims. Kellen warily agrees to work with him after she finds proof that he is most likely telling the truth.

Following a shocking turn of events, the Di Lucas send their nephew Max to aid Kellen in her efforts to figure out what is going on at the resort. Kellen is troubled by her reaction to Max and after his arrival, her fragmented memories of a lost year in her life begin to surface. She is off balance and distressed by her inability to fully comprehend what these flashes of memories mean. Before she can understand how Max fits into her past, the situation at the resort turns dangerous. Unbeknownst to Kellen, her past and her present are about to collide in a shocking and unexpected manner.

With two distinct story arcs, Dead Girl Running is an intriguing mystery. Kellen is a fantastic character who is well-developed and easy to like. She does not let her past dictate her future and with grit and determination, she has (mostly) overcome her somewhat tragic history. The plot is clever but there are a few incredulous twists that are difficult to believe. The investigation into what is going at the resort is well-executed and Christina Dodd does an outstanding job obscuring the perpetrator’s identity.  While the main storyline is completely wrapped up, the novel abruptly ends with a cliffhanger that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Cape Charade series.

1 Comment

Filed under Cape Charade Series, Christina Dodd, Contemporary, Dead Girl Running, Harlequin, HQN Books, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Suspense

One Response to Review: Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kathy