Monday, August 15, 2016

City of the Lost (Casey Duncan Novels #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Publication: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Source: Publisher

New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author Kelley Armstrong delivers us to Rockton, a secret little town in the far north where the hunted go to hide. And where a hunter has now come to play.

Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. Since then she’s become a talented police detective, tethered only to her job, her best friend, Diana, and the occasional evening with her sexy, no-strings-attached ex-con lover, Kurt. But then Diana's abusive ex finds her again, despite all Casey has done to help her disappear. And Casey’s own dark past begins to catch up with her. The two women need to run—and Diana’s heard of a place where they won’t be found, a town especially for people like them…

Casey Duncan was one of my favorite characters in this book. She is smart and strong, but she feels constant guilt regarding an event in her past. Her friend Diana, who has an abusive ex, convinces Casey to consider moving to Rockton.
But you can’t just decide to move to Rockton. There is an application process and a thorough screening involved. The town is very very isolated, and once the “counsel” approves your application and you arrive, there is no leaving unless they allow it or if the residents break one of the rules. Living under different aliases, the people living in Rockton are all hiding from something, so no one is who or what they seem. Rockton gave off a small town/wild west vibe to me. Food and water are rationed. Everyone has to work to earn their keep. Entertainment is limited, unless you count the town brothel. And the sheriff keeps a tight lid on everything. Or at least he tries to.
Even though Casey’s past is a little shaky, she is a very good detective. Although Dalton (the sheriff) has made it clear that he does not want her in his town. Wanted or not, she is needed. Casey soon finds out about a rash of grisly murders occurring and takes it upon herself to help investigate. Since the town is surrounded by miles and miles of wilderness, could it be dangerous wild predators? Or could something or someone far more sinister be at work here?

I first fell in love with Kelley Armstrong’s writing when I started reading Omens (The Cainsville Series #1). The world building and the characters are usually strong, interesting, and multi-layered.  And that’s especially true with this book.
The City of the Lost is an entertaining story that captured me from the first chapter. It’s filled with complex and gruesome murders and unique quirky characters. I’m always leery of romances thrown into mysteries, but this one was well done IMO. And it didn’t really have a strong presence in the story. Even though there was always something going on, things never felt overwhelming. There were a number of surprises sprinkled throughout the story. The mystery was cleverly done and the culprit was not easy to guess. I am excited to see what direction Kelley Armstrong takes this new series. And even more excited to read book two, A Darkness Absolute, slated for release on February 7, 2017.

RATING: 4 out of 5.


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