Somewhere in the Boreal Forest, there is a small community called Rockton. It’s sometimes called the City of the Lost because it’s inhabited by people who, for one reason or another, really wanted to get away from it all.
They may be in a witness protection program. They may be running away from some danger in their lives. In some cases, they may be criminals on the run from the law. In Rockton, they live under assumed names. They tell as much, or as little, about themselves as they chose.
Dawson City is the closest actual town to Rockton, and it’s generally only accessible by plane. I suppose one could get there overland, but there’s no road. It would be a long walk in the summer. It might be easier on a snow machine in the winter, if you had enough gas to make the trip.
Rocktonites (or perhaps Rocktonians) don’t try to make the trip. If they wanted to be in the world, they would not be in Rockton in the first place. They would not have gone to a place so off-grid that there are no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, and very little electricity.
Casey Duncan went to Rockton for a couple of reasons. One was her own, in that she was a homicide detective who had killed someone. Mainly though, she went to help her friend, Diana, hide from Diana’s brutal ex-husband. That turned out to have been a mistake, as we learned in the first book, City of the Lost, which was originally released in serial form in several mini e-books a couple of years ago. (It’s now available as a collected volume.)
Casey managed to put her skills to work, finding employment as a detective working for the town’s sheriff, Eric Dalton. There was a murder to be solved and she proved her worth getting to the bottom of it.
In this second book, she is settled in and close to being happy in the town. Things get complicated while she and a deputy are out searching for a resident who has bolted from a bout of winter cabin fever. It’s not so much that they want to bring him back as that they want to save his life.
On this search, they get trapped in a cave in a storm. In the cave, they find a woman who had gone missing months earlier, and has been held captive all this time. Getting her back to town is the beginning of a very tense period in the community. There are attacks. There is suspicion. People get hurt, and there is a need to find out who is doing all this, and a need to put a stop to it.
Canadian author Kelley Armstrong is better known as a writer of novels with supernatural trappings including werewolves (she wrote the books from which the TV show Bitten was adapted), witches and other supernatural beings. More recently, she has branched off into mysteries and thrillers.
There are three Rockton novels already in print. The third is called This Fallen Prey, and the fourth, Watcher in the Woods, is due out February 2019. Armstrong has produced 43 novels and short story collections since she began publishing in 2001. They’re not heavyweight material, but they’re enjoyable.