Blog Tour & Review: Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd

Stay tuned below for a review & excerpt of Wrong Alibi!

Series: Murder in Alaska #1
Author: Christina Dodd
Released: December 29th, 2020
Publisher: HQN
Received: Blog Tour
Warnings: Isolation

3 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Wrong Alibi in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wrong Alibi is the first in a brand new series (Murder in Alaska) by Christina Dodd. The location, cover, and description made this novel seem exactly like the sort of read I’ve been looking for.

Evelyn Jones, a young woman in desperate need of a second chance, took a job that required her to move to Alaska. It seemed perfect. In hindsight, it was definitely too perfect. Now Evelyn has been framed for murder, and there’s little evidence to prove her innocence.

She’s free again, and she’s biding her time. Someday she’ll get her hands on Donald White, prove her innocence, and get revenge for the family he killed. All it takes is a bit of patience, a dash of daring, and a whole lot of stubbornness.

“Alone for eight months of the year. No Christmas. No New Year’s. No Valentine’s Day. No any day, nothing interesting, just dark dark dark isolation and fear that she would die out here.”

Wrong Alibi is truly a twisting tale, one that will cause readers no end of fascination as they try and work their way through the mystery. I know that was certainly the case for me. Evelyn and Petie. Petie and Evelyn. Both a host of dozens of questions.

If you read the description of Wrong Alibi, you might be wondering where this Petie comes into play. It was one of the first questions I had, when diving on into this review. That being said, it was a mystery that compelled me to keep on reading.

The first five-ten chapters are probably my favorite of the whole novel, which is a bit surprising. I adored the earlier tone, which did seem to change once we really got into the meat of the mystery itself – that and Evelyn’s past.

Wrong Alibi has a little bit of everything in it; survival, violence, gore, revenge, drama, love, hate (plenty of that), desperation, and so very much more. It’s what made it such a compelling read. Well, that and the twisted series of events that one woman just couldn’t seem to get away from.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1 

ALASKA

 Midnight Sun Fishing Camp 

Katchabiggie Lodge

 Eight years ago

JANUARY. 

Five and a half hours a day when the sun rose above the horizon. 

Storm clouds so thick, daylight never penetrated, and night reigned eternal. 

Thirty below zero Fahrenheit. 

The hurricane-force wind wrapped frigid temperatures around the lodge, driving through the log cabin construction and the steel roof, ignoring the insulation, creeping inch by inch into the Great Room where twenty-year-old Petie huddled on a love seat, dressed in a former guest’s flannel pajamas and bundled in a Pendleton Northern Lights wool blanket. A wind like this pushed snow through the roof vents, and she knew as soon as the storm stopped, she’d be up in the attic shoveling it out.

 Or not. Maybe first the ceiling would fall in on top of her.

 Who would know? Who would care? 

The storm of the century, online news called it, before the internet disappeared in a blast that blew out the cable like a candle. 

For a second long, dark winter, she was the only living being tending the Midnight Sun cabins and the lodge, making sure the dark, relentless Alaska winter didn’t do too much damage and in the spring the camp could open to enthusiastic fishermen, corporate team builders and rugged individualists. 

Alone for eight months of the year. No Christmas. No New Year’s. No Valentine’s Day. No any day, nothing interesting, just dark dark dark isolation and fear that she would die out here.

 With the internet gone, she waited for the next inevitable event. 

The lights went out.

 On each of the four walls, a small, battery-charged nightlight came on to battle feebly against the darkness. Outside, the storm roared. Inside, cold swallowed the heat with greedy appetite.

 Petie sat and stared into a dark so black it hurt her eyes. And remembered…

 There, against the far back wall of the basement, in the darkest corner, white plastic covered…something. Slowly, Petie approached, driven by a terrible fear. She stopped about three feet away, leaned forward and reached out, far out, to grasp the corner of the plastic, pull it back, and see— 

With a gasp, Petie leaped to her feet. 

No. Just no. She couldn’t—wouldn’t—replay those memories again. 

She tossed the blanket onto the floor and groped for the flashlights on the table beside her: the big metal one with a hefty weight and the smaller plastic headlamp she could strap to her forehead. She clicked on the big one and shone it around the lodge, reassuring herself no one and nothing was here. No ghosts, no zombies, no cruel people making ruthless judgments about the gullible young woman she had been. 

Armed with both lights, she moved purposefully out of the Great Room, through the massive kitchen and toward the utility room. 

The door between the kitchen and the utility room was insulated, the first barrier between the lodge and the bitter, rattling winds. She opened that door, took a breath of the even chillier air, stepped into the utility room and shut herself in. There she donned socks, boots, ski pants, an insulated shirt, a cold-weather blanket cut with arm holes, a knit hat and an ancient, full-length, seal-skin, Aleut-made coat with a hood. She checked the outside temperature. 

Colder now—forty below and with the wind howling, the wind chill would be sixty below, seventy below…who knew? Who cared? Exposed skin froze in extreme cold and add the wind chill… She wrapped a scarf around her face and the back of her neck. Then unwrapped it to secure the headlamp low on her forehead. Then wrapped herself up again, trying to cover as much skin as she could before she faced the punishing weather. 

She pointed her big flashlight at the generator checklist posted on the wall and read:

 Hawley’s reasons why the generator will fail to start. The generator is new and well-tested, so the problem is: 

  1. LOOSE BATTERY CABLE

 Solution: Tighten. 

  1. CORRODED BATTERY CONNECTION 

Solution: Use metal terminal battery brush to clean connections and reattach.

  1. DEAD BATTERY

 Solution: Change battery in the autumn to avoid ever having to change it in the middle of a major fucking winter storm.

If she wasn’t standing there alone in the dark in the bitter cold, she would have grinned. The owner of the fishing camp, Hawley Foggo, taught his employees Hawley’s Rules. He had them for every occurrence of the fishing camp, and that last sounded exactly like him. 

The generator used a car battery, and as instructed, in the autumn she had changed it. This was her second year dealing with the battery, and she felt secure about her work. 

So probably this failure was a loose connection or corrosion. Either way, she could fix it and save the lodge from turning into a solid ice cube that wouldn’t thaw until spring. 

That was, after all, her job. 

She shivered. 

So much better than her last job, the one that led to her conviction for a gruesome double murder.

 “Okay, Petie, let’s grab that metal battery cleaner thingy and get the job done.” Which sounded pretty easy, when she talked to herself about it, but when she pulled on the insulated ski gloves, they limited her dexterity. 

Out of the corner of her eye, a light blinked out. 

She looked back into the lodge’s Great Room. The nightlights were failing, and soon she really would be alone in the absolute darkness, facing the memories of that long-ago day in the basement. 

Good incentive to hurry. 

She grabbed the wire battery connection cleaner thingy and moved to the outer door. 

There she paused and pictured the outdoor layout.

 A loosely built lean-to protected the generator from the worst of the weather while allowing the exhaust to escape. That meant she wasn’t stepping out into the full force of the storm; she would be as protected as the generator itself. Which was apparently not well enough since the damned thing wasn’t working.

 She gathered her fortitude and eased the outer door open. 

The wind caught it, yanked it wide and dragged her outside and down the steps. She hung on to the door handle, flailed around on the frozen ground, and when she regained her footing, she used all her strength to shove the door closed again. 

Then she was alone, outside, in a killer storm, in the massive, bleak wilderness that was Alaska.

Excerpted from Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd Copyright © Christina Dodd. Published by HQN Books.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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