cover image What Doesn’t Kill Her

What Doesn’t Kill Her

Christina Dodd. HQN, $15.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-335-50753-2

Dodd’s prequel to 2018’s Dead Girl Running starts slowly, weighed down by protagonist Kellen Adams’s complicated backstory, which includes a murder/suicide; a stolen identity; a stint in the army in Afghanistan; a stretch of homelessness; 13 months in a coma, during which she produced a child; and a budding romance with “tall, dark, handsome, Italian-American, broad-shouldered former football player” Max Di Luca. The present-day action finds Kellen at the Di Luca Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, trying to reconnect with her seven-year-old daughter, Rae, and re-establish a relationship with Max, the little girl’s father. She accepts a job with a government agency, and is charged with picking up “a priceless antique head” and taking it to “a weird recluse expert.” When Rae stows away in the van in which her mother is traveling, Kellen finds herself pursued by two groups of villains: one wants her dead, the other wants the antique marble head. Fans of romantic suspense who don’t mind a lack of realism will be satisfied. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Endeavor. (Jan.)