Thursday, September 26, 2019

Review - - Strangers She Knows

Strangers She Knows
by Christina Dodd
Cape Charade - Book 3
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Reviewed by PJ

I have three deadly problems:
1. I've seriously offended a maniacal killer.
2. I just had a bullet removed from my brain.
3. My new daughter is growing up too fast--and she's in the line of fire.

Living on an obscure, technology-free island off California means safety from the murderer who hunts Kellen Adams and her new family.... Or does it? Family time becomes terror-time, and at last, alone, Kellen faces a killer playing a cruel game. Only one can survive, and Kellen knows who must win...and who must die.

My thoughts:

Christina Dodd brings readers another compelling page-turner in this thrilling conclusion to her immensely satisfying Cape Charade series. Throughout this series, Dodd has excelled at creating vividly portrayed, complex characters who take center stage amidst the suspense, danger, and action of the surrounding plot. In Strangers She Knows, with Kellen still slowly recovering from life-saving brain surgery, and danger stalking her family, Dodd moves the story from their resort in Cape Charade, Washington to a remote island inhabited by only three people: a university environmental intern, her weird husband, and a temperamental housekeeper/cook for the old mansion where Kellen, Max, and Rae will be staying. It's the only location where Max is certain he'll be able to protect Kellen and Rae from the danger that lurks. But is it safe enough?

I have thoroughly enjoyed this entire series and the main characters are some of my all-time Dodd favorites. I so admire Kellen's strength in overcoming all of the obstacles life has placed in her path. What she has survived in her still young life is almost inconceivable and yet she continues to fight for her family and herself. But I also enjoy her vulnerability, especially as she grapples with motherhood and gradually learns to accept the fears and emotions that accompany it.

Max is a hero for the ages. I adore this man! I love his tenacity, his steadfast loyalty to those he loves, his determination to protect them at all costs. If you want a hero who continues to step up to the plate and prove his love day after day, month after month, year after year, in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds, Max di Luca is your man. 

And then there's Rae. Smart, sassy, filled with boundless energy and curiosity, staunchly devoted to her family, but caught in the hormonal throes of pre-adolescence that keep her mother's head spinning, and the catalyst for much of Dodd's humor; this kid steals every scene she's in. After "meeting" Rae, you will be left with no doubt that Dodd has, at some point in her life, lived with pre-adolescent girls. Like her parents, she's so vividly, and realistically, portrayed, that it would not take a leap of faith to convince myself these characters actually exist. 

Within the action and suspense of the main story, Dodd has also interwoven a fascinating, secondary, WWII story, as told through the entries in a diary that's found in the island mansion. It adds another layer of emotion and mystery, as well as a very interesting twist.   

While the books in this series are primarily suspense thrillers, not traditional romances, along with the action and danger, Dodd includes the emotional journey necessary for this reader to fully embrace Kellen, Max, and Rae's relationship and their well-deserved, and very hard-earned, happily ever after. In order to appreciate that journey to its fullest, I strongly recommend reading the books in this series in order. They are Dead Girl Running, What Doesn't Kill Her, and Strangers She Knows. The series also includes three short stories: Hard to Kill, Families and Other Enemies, and Hidden Truths

Do you enjoy suspense thrillers?

Are you reading the Cape Charade series?


  1. Thank you, PJ! Re: "Smart, sassy, filled with boundless energy and curiosity, staunchly devoted to her family, but caught in the hormonal throes of pre-adolescence that keep her mother's head spinning, and the catalyst for much of Dodd's humor; this kid steals every scene she's in." Why yes. I have two daughters. Oh, and I remember being a pre-adolescent, and not nearly as together as Rae. I hope your readers will enjoy STRANGERS SHE KNOWS!

    1. Miss Dodd, I just finished this book a few days ago, and I adored it! I hope to see more of them!
      This whole series has been terrific. i hope you have more contemporaries in the works.

  2. I thank you for this review. I do enjoy suspense. But, because of my history, I am unable to do much suspense. Causes panic attacks, now isn't that the dumbest thing you have ever heard....but it is actual. I have been a fan of Ms Dodd for quite some time. She is a talented author.

  3. I have been reading this series. I can't wait to read this book. Waiting for it to become available at the library.

  4. Love this series. I have been reading them. So looking forward to the conclusion. I have loved their growth of love and understanding both individually and together. It's a great series.

  5. Suspense thrillers were the types of books I read long before I discovered romances. They and historicals are my favorite types of romances. I enjoy Christina Dodd's books but have not yet started this series.

  6. I've not read the series but I do enjoy page turners and the added romance makes it even better.

  7. I have not read a Christina Dodd book in several years. I always enjoyed her books, so not sure why. This one sound really good. Wonderful review.