Cape Charade #1, The spin-off series of Virtue Falls. I requested this off NetGalley with no expectations of actually getting to read it and was ecstatic when I was approved, so thank you very much HQN. It's been about a decade since I've read Christina Dodd, I enjoyed her historical romances and then she started writing the PNR and I couldn't get into them and missed Virtue Falls but if they are anything like this book I will go back and read them. Dead Girl Running is so chock full of stuff and has so many things going on, the book was addictive. The main character Kellan has a past and it's doozy of a past. She's missing a full year of her life, has a scar from a gunshot high on her forehead, she served in the military but was medically discharged and something so traumatic happen in her early adulthood that it changed who she was. After being discharged from the military Kellan was looking for some place to call home, a sanctuary where she could but her demons behind her and the luxury resort in the middle of nowhere Pacific Northwest seemed like the perfect place.
Because this is the first book of a new series and because Kellan has such an immense past especially since one year is missing from her memory there are flashbacks, quite a bit of them, but they are necessary not just for the story but as character development. As things unfold with the main plot Kellan is reminded of her past and she starts to look at it differently. Not to mention just about everything from her past is coming to slap her in the face and she has no choice but to face them head on. It all starts with the body of a mutilated girl being found on the resort premises, even more discouraging when it is discovered to be a former worker at the resort. Kellan left alone for the first time to manage the resort on her own is left trying to figure out everything. The elderly owners who are on vacation take pity on her and send their great nephew to help out with security, but Kellan finds something about oddly familiar about Max Di Luca.
The romance is secondary to the main plot but is essential to Kellan and her character development. The secondary characters are quirky and fun ranging between a silver screen actor, a stern and almost unlikable guest relations manager, and a handful of veterans Kellan served with in the military. Overall, the main plot was great it kept me guessing and had a few red herrings to lead you astray but the overall book with all the distractions and Kellan not knowing who to trust any more adds to the frustrations of getting to the bottom of the problem. This was a great book and I look forward to reading more from this series.