“Dead Girl Running” by Christina Dodd is an action-packed mystery novel in more ways than one. Not only is there the mystery of who, at the fancy Washington State resort, is the head of a smuggling ring, there are also mysteries aplenty about the main character. Her name is Kellen Adams, or that is what those around her believe. In reality, the truth is much different.
In fact, the reader knows from the start three things about Kellen (confessions that she shares):
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.
A big part of the mystery is who exactly Kellen Adams is, what happened in her past, and what happened during the year that she cannot remember. She has the scar from a gunshot on her forehead, and she has no idea how it got there.
Kellen is thrilled when she leaves the army to get a job at the Yearning Sands Resort. It’s run by a gentle older couple, the Di Lucas, and she’s a competent assistant manager. But when the couple leave her in charge after a few months, things get bad, fast. Kellen discovers that the resort is the base for a master smuggler who has been stealing priceless relics from archeological sites around the world and selling them. In the process, the head of this operation, called the Librarian, has killed several people. And Kellen must find the Librarian before more people are killed.
The writing is brilliant, and although there are many characters, Dodd is able to clearly describe them all so they don’t get mixed up as the story unfolds. Some of the characters, many of them, are not who they appear to be at first, and there are a few red herrings.
Along the way, Dodd gives the reader glimpses into Kellen’s past lives — both the one she remembers and the one she does not. It’s carefully done, and the story lines all work well together. Kellen as a main character works well. Although the reader might struggle to understand the person she was in the “before” part of the story, there’s much to admire in the person she is in the “now” part of the story.
Best of all, there’s a sequel, “What Doesn’t Kill Her,” which will continue Kellen’s story.
Please note: This review is based on the final, paperback book provided by HQN Books, the publisher, for review purposes.