Review: City of the Lost (Casey Duncan #1) by Kelley Armstrong
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…
5 Out Of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery, Survival, Suspense--
Casey goes through the motions of life but is not really living. She takes care of her damaged, needy friend Diana, she goes to work as a police detective and is good at her job, and she occasionally meets up with her lover. She appears to be living, but really she is in turmoil over a past crime she committed, one that looms over her every action. When an opportunity arises to help Diana and get a second chance, she takes it.
I started reading Kelley Armstrong’s books when I stumbled across the first book in the Women of the Otherworld series. I am a huge urban fantasy/paranormal fan and that series hooked me. After a few books, I realized that I love her writing style and have since consumed everything she has written, regardless of genre. Well, I wanted to read this book because it was written by Armstong but I did not feel one way or another about the actual synopsis. Within a few chapters, I was hooked on this story and could not put the book down. I can honestly say that this is one of the best books I have read this year. I was given a digital copy to read in return for my honest review, but I will need to purchase a physical copy to own so I can hug it to my chest in a fit of joy and of course to review parts to see if I missed anything.
The book is a mystery first and foremost, but it was so much more than that too (as I now have come to expect from Armstrong). The plot was so different from anything else I have read, a mysterious town set in the middle of nowhere, inhabited by criminals and victims alike who have paid to escape. Add to the interesting setting, is a terrible crime that needs to be solved where so many viable suspects with good motivations are revealed to the reader. I love a good mystery, and so many times I was convinced I knew who was guilty just to be proven wrong. The actual murderer hit my radar fairly close to the end, but I was still interested to see how it played out. The book dealt with tough subject matter such as murder, cannibals, rape, prostitution, gruesome images, so don’t expect a fluffy cozy mystery.
Developed characters are really important for me to connect to a book. There are so many messed up, guilty yet honest and likeable people in this book, Casey being even more so. She is a people pleaser (even though she does not see it), she is aware that she committed a crime that she will never recover from, yet she still tries to do her best. I love how she interacts with people and analyzes them before actually reacting. I could not have asked for a better female main character. He is tough without being a jerk, takes a hit and keeps going, yet can be sensitive to the situation so she thinks about her reactions before exploding stupidly. There are tons of other well fleshed out characters in this book, actually a whole town full, but the other one I will mention here is Eric. I loved Eric, even from the first moments he was introduced as such a jerk. To use a quote from the movie Shrek, he is like an onion, full of layer and insights that most people do not see, only the tough outer shell. He was such a complicated character, and I enjoyed how small pieces of him were revealed until a clear picture was formed near the end. I have a person in my life that is the same way, underestimated based on the surface and completely fine with it, but underneath is insight and smarts that take time to reveal, so it makes sense that I loved Eric.
I am sure I sound like a fan girl, but I completely am. This was another amazing book by Armstrong that I think anyone who loves a good, unique mystery should read. They might as well just take my money now for when the next one comes out because I will get it (as soon as humanly possible!).