City of the Lost
As a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s paranormal romances, I was eager to get lost in City of the Lost, the first book in a new series featuring police detective Casey Duncan. Ms. Armstrong’s fans will be interested to learn that this novel does not contain paranormal elements, but don’t let this keep you from giving it a try. It’s a riveting story, filled with heart-stopping suspense as well as a sizzling romance.
Shortly after turning eighteen, Casey Duncan killed a man and was able to get away with it. Twelve years later, she’s still searching for a way to live with what she’s done. True, her boyfriend at the time deserved to die after leaving her to be savagely beaten by drug dealers, but Casey hasn’t been able to put her past behind her. She’s doing the best she can, working a job she loves and spending a few nights a week with a guy she might be able to care for someday.
Then trouble appears in the form of the ex-husband of Casey’s best friend Diana. Despite all Casey has done to protect her, Diana is terrified he’ll kill her, and, after finding her friend badly beaten, Casey finally realizes Graham isn’t going to give up. Obviously, her veiled threats aren’t enough to keep him away.
Diana has been preparing for this day for a little while now. She’s heard of a town created to hide people like her, but after talking to those in charge, she learns she can’t enter the town of Rockton unless Casey goes with her.
Ms. Armstrong proves her creative genius with the invention of the mythical town of Rockton. Located deep in the Yukon territory, it’s remote and desolate, making it the perfect place for people to disappear. It’s mostly self-sustaining, and would-be residents must have a skill they can use to help keep the town afloat. This is where Casey comes in. A string of vicious murders have the residents of Rockton spooked and the local sheriff baffled. He needs help from the outside, and intelligent, strong-willed Casey looks like his best hope.
Afraid people from her past are catching up with her and determined to keep Diana safe, Casey agrees to leave her old life behind and settle in Rockton. Once there, she is confronted with love and danger, both stronger than anything she’s ever experienced. Working alongside the moody sheriff, she works to bring a murderer to justice and to claim the happiness she never really thought she deserved.
I must admit to being initially put off by Sheriff Eric Dalton. He’s very rude and critical, making it hard to work out what Casey sees in him. As the story progresses, Ms. Armstrong shows us a different, softer side of our hero, and I did eventually warm up to him. I enjoyed his interactions with Casey, especially when she puts him in his place, something none of the town’s residents seem willing or able to do. I found his attraction to Casey a little difficult to understand at first, but I did become invested in their HEA.
The mystery element is what really shines about City of the Lost. Ms. Armstrong has created a group of very complex characters, each of them guarding his or her own secrets. No one is really who they seem to be, and I loved the countless twists and turns the story takes. A few things were easy for me to figure out, but on the whole, I was kept guessing until the last page.
I’m not sure what direction Ms. Armstrong plans to take for the next book, but I’m definitely eager to find out. I can’t wait to learn more about the residents of Rockton.