Quick catch-up for those of you who haven't read this series yet. (Start at the beginning with City of the Lost!) Rockton is a town that doesn't exist on any map, completely off-grid, hidden in the Yukon. The residents? They're all running from something or hiding from someone. Nobody asks too many questions. A town full of liars, thieves and criminals provides a wealth of opportunities for story telling. But even this town needs some laws - and someone to enforce them. That's where Detective Casey Duncan comes in - she was a homicide cop 'down south'. She and Sheriff Eric Dalton are partners at work - and at home.
But occasionally the anonymity of Rockton is breached. In a Stranger in Town, a Danish tourist is found outside the barrier wall of Rockton, gravely injured. What - or maybe who -attacked her? Strangers aren't welcome in Rockton though, so the sooner she's gone, the better.
Why do I love this series so much? I'm fascinated with the idea of a hidden town in the northern reaches of Canada. It's certainly a possibility. Armstrong's imagining of this is so detailed, from settings inside the walls and beyond. The outlying settlements and other wilderness dwellers have opened up so many plot lines.
The characters are just as well drawn. Casey is such a great lead - she's tough, intelligent and determined - but not perfect. I really enjoy her internal reasoning and subsequent deductions as she investigates. Her relationship with Dalton is well written. I'm not a big romance reader, but Armstrong does it well. Their relationship is believable, not 'over the top' and enhances the book, rather than being the main focus. There are many, many supporting players, each with their own secrets, strengths and weaknesses. They all have a role to play and I've come to appreciate how they add to the overall depth of the plots and the fabric of Rockton. Storm the dog, with his baleful looks and chuffing, is a favorite of mine.
The mysteries Armstrong presents are not easily solved and I quite like being kept guessing .This latest is no exception.
There's always more to want from this series. The details on the settlements and the hostiles have been slowly eked out over the previous five books. A Stranger in Town gives us answers I couldn't have imagined. And there's a satisfying resolution that closes this latest case. But, that last chapter leaves the reader - and Rockton - wondering what's next for their town and the residents. I cannot wait for the next entry! Armstrong's work is just so, so...well, so readable! And addictive. See for yourself - here's an excerpt of A Stranger in Town.