Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows this crime will catch up to her. Casey's best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana's husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it's time for the two of them to disappear again.
Diana has heard of a domestic violence support town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you're accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval.
As a murderer, Casey isn't a good candidate, but she has something they want; she's a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn't the only secret Rockton is hiding - in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.
An edgy, gripping crime novel from bestselling writer, Kelley Armstrong, City of the Lost boldly announces a major new player in the crime fiction world.
City of the Lost is the first installment in Kelley Armstrong's Casey Duncan series. As shocking as it seems, Armstrong can write stories that don't center around vampires, werewolves, demons, or fae. Case in point is the author's Nadia Stafford series which I haven't finished reading yet, but will one day, and the Age of Legends trilogy which I just finished reading. City of the Lost is a story that centers on Canadian homicide detective Casey Duncan.
Casey's life has been hanging in the balance wondering when the shoe will drop on her secret. 12 years ago, she took the law into her own hands and killed someone. Deservedly I dare say. Even though she has been a detective at the top of her game for awhile now, she still worries that one day soon she will say the wrong thing to the wrong person, and the mob will put a quick end to her. So, when her best friend Diana discovers that there is a place for those seeking a second chance, and a way to start over, Casey jumps at the chance.
But, there is always a catch. Everyone must fill out an application, be interviewed, and approved by a council that oversees the town. In a town of 200, the average age of the population 35 and a majority men, the selection process is a curious matter. To further drive home how secluded Rockton really is, there are no cell phones, no internet, no computers, and only a select few are able to leave without being approved by the council. It is also deep in the heart of the Yukon.
Rockton is a place that has its fair share of dark and deadly secrets. Secrets that a newly arrived detective who wasn't wanted in the first place, will have her hands full uncovering who she can trust, and who may be waiting to put a knife in her back. It also has a Sheriff who is as prickly as they come, and keeps things close to his chest. This is a town that welcomes those who have done some damning things in the past. Rockton allows them time to hide from anyone who may be looking for them.
Casey isn't all that likable when you first meet her, but she does get better as the story unfolds, and she starts to understand what she has walked into. Before arriving in Rockton, she was walking around like a zombie and sleeping with an assortment of men to ease her pain. Her best friend is about as useless as those who continue to vote for corrupt politicians over and over again and then complain how corrupt they are.
Casey's exploits in Rockton begin and end with Sheriff Eric Dalton. Dalton is distrustful of nearly everyone except maybe his deputy Will Anders. Upon meeting Casey, he begrudgingly accepts her because he needs a detective. He gives her a sort of probation, if you will, then throws her into the deep end when brutal murders pop up like jack rabbits. Casey and Eric's relationship is a tough pill to swallow at times. But, I hesitate to jump on board for fear of potential rifts ahead.
One of the better aspects of this story is how well Armstrong
keeps the killer's identity a secret until near the very end. I do like the fact that Casey grows as a character the longer she is in Rockton. I can take the romance or leave it truth be told. Her relationship with Diana is one of those things that you just have to either grin and bear it, or page through. Will I read the sequel called A Darkness Absolute? Probably.