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by Kelley Armstrong
Minotaur, February 2018
358 pages
ISBN: 125015989X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Casey Duncan, a police detective in what just might be one of the more unusual settings for a mystery series, discovers how important it is to treat those she loves as capable adults in this third in the series. Rockton is a town on the edge of civilization in the Yukon, not just isolated but actually actively hidden. Its residents, who have either chosen or been chosen to live there, value their off-the-grid existence and the chance for new lives that it offers. While the town provides a new start to those who were cast out, often violently so, in traditional society, it also provides a dumping ground for those willing to spend big money to make their own pariahs disappear. Rockton exists as a somewhat civilized oasis in the midst of a hugely dangerous forest that is populated by ferocious wild animals and equally ferocious humans.

As the book opens, a plane carrying a bound and gagged prisoner pierces the net of security surrounding Rockton, and Casey and sheriff Dalton discover that they must keep both the prisoner, Oliver Brady, and the townspeople safe for the six months that Brady has been dropped into their midst. Brady tells a story of being framed for multiple murders, while the step-father who is financing his disappearance in the far north tells a story of Brady's depravity. When Brady inevitably escapes into the wilderness, his obscenely rich step-father arrives to help in the search and capture. Throughout the search, which involves multiple near-death experiences for Casey, Dalton, and the other searchers, Casey vacillates between believing Brady and believing his step-father. She also learns that she cannot continue to accept responsibility for everything and everyone, but must learn to rely upon the skills and perspectives of others within her small community. In the end, a significant amount of blood is shed as the truth comes to light and the guilty meet their justice.

Rockton has been the beloved center of all three books in the series, but by the end of this book both Casey and Dalton are straining at the restrictions placed upon them by the town's managers' willingness to place its inhabitants in danger for financial gain. It seems possible that Armstrong is preparing to send Casey and Dalton into the wilderness for a life more under their own control. It will be interesting to see how the author decides to deal with Casey's discontent with the town just as she has truly begun to value the sense of community it provides.

Sharon Mensing, retired educational leader, lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors in rural Wyoming.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, March 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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