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.
Reviewer’s Note: I requested the Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of book 2 in this series over two years ago. I did read that book before reading this one. Sometimes it’s hard to realize when the book is part of the series. However, please note that this review might be colored since I have already read book 2.
The Rockton series is centered around Casey Duncan who is a city detective with a past. At the age of 30, she’s overcome being physically (and potentially) sexually assaulted by four assailants, (accidentally/on purpose) murdering her former boyfriend, and the sudden death of her parents. However, she’s full of guilt and floundering in her life. So when her best friend’s life is in danger and the mob family of the ex-boyfriend she murdered is coming after her, Casey agrees to move to the middle of nowhere.
Rockton is a small town that is allows people to escape a variety of situations from domestic relationships to potential convictions for white collar crimes… for the right price.
As soon as Casey arrives she finds herself surrounded by body parts and single men who are more than interested. Casey discovers that life in a small town can be full of drama and trouble. Especially when 75% of the population is male and there’s no plumbing or electricity. I’ve always found that side characters can make or break a storyline. This story has no shortage of characters calling who are willing to call you a bitch or throw a punch. In fact, I found myself even more amused when these incidents occurred. At times, it was almost like Jerry Springer: Woodland Edition, but in a classier setting.
Overall, this is a fantastic series. I really enjoy the idea of relocating to the middle of nowhere and trying to start over. For Casey, this journey allows her to discovers some truths that she didn’t know (or didn’t want to acknowledge) and begin to find peace within herself. The plot is full of interesting subplots and the town is full of broken and yet intriguing characters that keep you interested and wanting more. Kelley Armstrong does a great job of making the middle of the wilderness sound inviting and I enjoy that the murderer(s) are not so easily realized by the reader.