Book Review: City of the Lost (Rockton #1) by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3 stars)
Publisher: Sphere

A remote town in the Yukon Territory full of people who need to disappear from the real world was the draw for me with this one. That just sounded like the best setup. And it delivered in a big way on an atmospheric setting.

It also delivered in the grisly murder category. I wasn't expecting those details but I have to admit it added to the story and upped the tension as I read. The main character, Casey was likable and interesting enough but so many other characters were terribly flat that I didn't enjoy them as much as I'd hoped. Anders and the sheriff were better crafted than most of the rest. Casey's romance felt perfunctory. So much so that had it been omitted from the story, I don't think the thrust of the tale would have lost a thing. In fact, it may have benefitted. I came for the setting and mystery and they were what kept me reading.

I won't spoil the major plot points but I will say that as to the biggest one, I didn't see that coming. After so many other revelations, I was sincerely surprised. Still, the very end of the story felt abrupt and a bit of a letdown. On the other hand, the ending has left the perfect opening for all kinds of conflict in the next book. I get it, I just felt it stretched the rubber band of my credulity to the snapping point and I was slightly annoyed. I'd read the next in the series but I'm not diving in immediately.

I'm neutral on recommendation with this one. It's fine as a story but if you don't read it, you can still claim to have lived a full life. If you find yourself at a cabin or beach house and you come across this book, it won't be the worst read you could find in a remote location.

Summary: 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 that someday 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 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, and 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.

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