Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Review & Interview - - Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd


Wrong Alibi
by Christina Dodd
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: December 29, 2020
Reviewed by PJ


Eighteen-year-old Evelyn Jones lands a job in small-town Alaska, working for a man in his isolated mountain home. But her bright hopes for the future are shattered when Donald White disappears, leaving her to face charges of theft, embezzlement—and a brutal double murder. Her protestations of innocence count for nothing. Convicted, she faces life in prison…until fate sends her on the run.

Evie's escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, isolated from her family, working under an alias at a wilderness camp. Bent on justice, intent on recovering her life, she searches for the killer who slaughters without remorse.

At last, the day comes. Donald White has returned. Evie emerges from hiding; the fugitive becomes the hunter. But in her mind, she hears the whisper of other forces at work. Now Evelyn must untangle the threads of evidence before she’s once again found with blood on her hands: the blood of her own family…

PJ's Thoughts:

I know I've said this before but it bears repeating. Do not begin reading a Christina Dodd suspense novel in the evening unless you plan to forfeit a night's sleep. Wrong Alibi is another excellent example of why this advice holds true. Intense, compelling, more than a little scary, and completely addictive, it's a wild ride that kept me flipping pages from start to finish. A full-immersion experience. I could not put it down. Even when I finally turned the last page, these characters refused to leave my head. 

In this newest novel from Dodd, she takes readers into the untamed wilderness of Alaska with an edge-of-your-seat thriller that had my heart in my throat for much of the journey. The characters are so well developed it's often difficult to remember that what you're reading is fiction; their situations so realistic I frequently found my heart racing with fear, anxiety, or shock. The journey Evie travels - from a gullible teen ripe for framing to a strong, savvy woman determined to bring a killer to justice and restore her reputation - is fraught with danger, unimaginable challenges, and more twists and turns than a mountain road. Each time I thought I knew where the story was heading, Dodd tossed in an impeccably-timed twist that left me gasping, right up until the final reveal...which I did not see coming! 

If you enjoy suspense thrillers with a tightly-woven plot, fully-formed characters, unexpected twists, evil villains who will have you checking your windows and locking your doors, unexpected flashes of dry wit, and a hopelessly naive protagonist who, through maturity, determination, and dedication, molds herself into a heroine who not only wreaks vengeance on a killer but saves herself in the process, Wrong Alibi is a book you'll want to read. It has my highest recommendation. 


Q&A with Christina Dodd

Welcome, Christina!

Thank you, PJ. We've known each other a long time, and it's always great to visit The Romance Dish.

It's always great to have you visit. Congratulations on the release of Wrong Alibi. I loved it, even if it did scare the spit out of me. What should readers expect from this novel?

To be close to her family, a young woman just out of juvenile detention takes a job that seems too good to be true…and finds herself charged with a gruesome double murder. Her escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, working under an alias at an Alaskan wilderness camp. Bent on justice, intent on recovering her life, she searches for the killer who slaughters without remorse. Can she find him before she's caught again…with the blood of her own family on her hands?

I enjoyed the Alaska setting in this book. You really brought it to life for me. Have you visited? If not, what kind of research did you do?

When I was a kid in California, our neighbors and dear family friends moved to Alaska. Nothing, not even the great Anchorage earthquake could shake their love for the state. (I know, a pun. :groan: ) They sent Alaskan gifts; I inherited my mother's cups by Robert Mayokok, an Intuit artist who proudly depicted his culture,

and my whole writing life, I've had an Inuit doll on my desk watching me work. I haven't visited Alaska, but I was destined to write WRONG ALIBI.

Alaska is so big, so diverse, so harsh in its climate and its long dark winters, it is the perfect place for murder. The challenges have created funny, strong, helpful Alaskans. For the manuscript, I needed a few Alaska jokes and asked online for help. Which gave me:

Do you know what a bear thinks when it comes across a camper in a sleeping bag?
Mmm, a taco.

What does a bear think when it comes across a camper with pepper spray in a sleeping bag?
Mmm, a spicy taco.

This book has more twists and turns than an Alaska mountain road (which I love). Do you plan them ahead of time or are you sometimes surprised by unexpected plot twists that pop up during the writing process?

Discovering the story as you write it seems so bold! So artistic! So adventurous!

Yeah, I don't do that. I write a synopsis and stick pretty closely to it. If I didn't, I'd be frozen, panicked I was writing myself into a corner and in the end would have to throw the whole project away. The surprises come from the characters, how they react, who they are and how they develop as they face the challenges they encounter. Some of the characters I love — the heroine of WRONG ALIBI, Evie, is one of the most interesting characters I've ever written. Some of the characters I loathe — the killer of WRONG ALIBI is a psychopath, interested only in himself, indifferent to another's pain, and incapable of guilt. I created him, and he scared me. He's all too real.

What’s next? 

I'm writing a suspense set in a village on Big Sur California, where a local legend says on foggy nights the town is said to disappear and when it returns, it brings lost souls back from the dead.

Okay, that will be one I'll definitely be reading in the daylight!

Let’s play a quick round of complete this sentence.

My favorite Christmas tradition is…

Dragging the Christmas tree up the hill.

The book I’m most eager to read is…

Jayne Ann Krentz's upcoming romantic suspense ALL THE COLORS OF NIGHT.

The holiday movie I watch every year is…

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the original TV show because …

The song!

"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel. You're as cuddly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel... ...Mr. Gri-inch! You're a bad banana w a...greasy black peel."

::Sniffle:: They just don't write lyrics that touch the heart like that anymore.

And the message!

"Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand."


Thanks for visiting with us today, Christina. Would you like to add anything else or ask our readers a question?

2020 has been, almost universally, a difficult year. (“A difficult year, Christina?” you shriek. “You have a talent for understatement!”) The New Year is close and as we stand "heart to heart and hand to hand" never have we been so hopeful that 2021 is shiny with joy, love and happiness. If you'd like to receive book updates, a free short story, and a lot of humor in your inbox, please join my mailing list. I'd be delighted to have you as a newsletter friend!

Today I'm giving away the audiobook CD of SECRETS OF BELLA TERRA to one lucky winner. Due to mailing restrictions, the contest is restricted to U.S. residents.

Readers, have you read any of Christina Dodd's books? Do you have a favorite?

What was your favorite holiday movie that you watched this year? 

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, December 31 will receive an audiobook CD of Secrets of Bella Terra, the first book in Dodd's Scarlet Deception trilogy (one of my favorite Dodd romantic suspense series). 

*Must be 18
*U.S. addresses only 


  1. I'm already on Christina's list... I loved the insights into her writing process. Now I have to find an Inuit doll. I had worked on projects that impacted all of Alaska back in the 1980's as an Air Force officer, and can relate to the taco jokes. Alaska Air Command had, at the time, a stuffed bear that was 10 FEET TALL standing in their lobby. ugh.

    Susan in AZ (where the weather is tons better than Alaska in December)

    1. Alaska is one place I've always wanted to visit. Hopefully, one of these days!

  2. I am a fan of Ms Dodd's. You have made this book sound terrific.

    Thanks for the terrific interview and review. I hope everyone is taking care and staying safe.

  3. I love reading Ms. Dodd's books. I agree with you PJ, do not start one of her books at night.

    1. I've lost count of the number of times I've finished one of her books at 3:00 AM or later. Especially her thrillers!

  4. Great interview PJ. I love learning more about an author and their process. I loved this book as well and will definitely be looking for more books penned by this amazing author.

    1. She has so much to choose from, Carla. I've followed her from historical romance to contemporary romance to romantic suspense to paranormal romance and now, suspense thrillers. Obviously, she's one of my favorites. ;-)

  5. Christina Dodd is one of my favorite authors. I agree completely that you should not start one of her books unless you plan on staying up until it is finished. I read her historicals first (Some Enchanted Evening: The Lost Princesses #1 being one), her paranormal series, and her suspense books. Alaska is the perfect setting for this type of story. We finally made the trip to Alaska in 2019. There is so much uninhabited area, it would be very easy to disappear. We passed families walking along the highway 20 - 30 miles from any town with no houses in sight. It is beautiful, rugged, and for many reasons, dangerous country. I look forward to reading Wrong Alibi.

    1. Forgot to answer your question. White Christmas is my favorite holiday movie.

  6. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this interview, PJ and Christina! No need to include me in the drawing!