Note: Slight spoilers for previous books in this series.
This is the fourth installment of the series that so far includes City of the Lost, A Darkness Absolute, and This Fallen Prey.
Casey Duncan, 32, is a homicide detective in the town of Rockton, a hidden place in the Yukon that takes in people on the run. Years earlier she killed her former boyfriend – not that she went to meet him intending to kill him, and not that he didn’t deserve it, but it happened, and it haunts her. It also made her “eligible” for life in this town, especially because the sheriff there, Eric Dalton, needed a detective. Rockton only has around 200 residents, but they are people, as Casey understands, who have “either done bad shit or have got serious baggage.”
Since the series began, Casey and Eric have entered into a close personal relationship, as well as being partners on the job.
This “episode” begins only a short time after the previous book. Casey and Eric have traveled to Vancouver to see if they can convince Casey’s older sister April, a brilliant neurosurgery consultant, to come back with them surreptitiously and provide medical assistance. One of the residents, Kenny, was shot in the back by a sniper they were trying to apprehend. His situation is grave, but he refuses to leave Rockton to go to a hospital, because he knows if he does, he won’t be allowed to go back.
April agrees to come with them for the weekend, and they return to Rockton. But someone has apparently followed their plane, and presents a new threat to the community. He claims to be a U.S. Marshal, looking for someone dangerous who committed a federal felony. Of course, this could be almost anyone in Rockton, but the man won’t provide the name of his target.
Needless to say, the residents of Rockton – some of whom are not only victims, but white collar criminals, psychopaths, and/or sociopaths – know this as well, and are nervous and upset over the arrival of this marshal. And when the residents of Rockton are upset, it gets perilous for everyone.
Evaluation: As always, Armstrong had me guessing until the denouement, which followed a tense run-up with everyone in danger, and with almost everyone under suspicion. The ending made clear that while this particular incident wrapped up, the story isn’t over yet. It’s not my favorite series by Armstrong, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book. She is one of my favorite authors, and I enjoy all of her work.
Published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, a division of Macmillan Publishers, 2019