City of the Lost (Casey Duncan)
by Kelley Armstrong
Cover Artist: Woods by Dirk Wastenhagen / Gallery Stock;
Woman by Joyce Vincent / Arcangel.
Review by Gayle Surrette
Minotaur Books Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250092168
Date: 17 January 2017 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
[NOTE: This review originally ran in our May 2016 issue of Gumshoe Review.]
Casey Duncan is a homicide detective and she's very, very good at her job. She also has a secret. She killed her boyfriend years ago, and the boyfriend's parents have mob connections. Casey knows that eventually they'll find her. Diana, her best friend, helped her clean up and has kept her secret all these years.
Diana also has a habit of getting involved with men she shouldn't. Case in point, Diana's ex used to abuse her and, since he's a powerful and rich lawyer, the only way to get away from him was to run. Casey moved with Diana so Diana could get away from her ex and yet have a friend nearby. The problem is Diana's ex has found her and the beating was pretty bad, although not quite bad enough to warrant a hospital.
Diana has a plan. She's heard of a town up north where people who need to hide can go and never be found. She wants Casey to come with her. Casey feels that she can't say, "No." So, they make contact and find that the place really does exist and they are pretty picky about who they let in.
It seems this town has a need of Casey's skills as a detective. There's a murderer at large and, since everyone has a secret identity, well, it's not going to be easy. Adding to the difficulty of the case is a Sheriff who doesn't want her there, a best friend who has changed complete since arriving, a rising body count, and enough secrets being kept by the residence to make any detective grind their teeth in frustration.
I loved it. The character of Casey is well drawn and three-dimensional. She's got baggage, but it's logical with her background. And still she copes and moves forward -- she solves puzzles and murders, even serial murders, are puzzles to be solved. The townspeople are interesting, quirky and, in some cases, downright walking a tightrope between sanity and chaos. The setting, the Yukon Territory, north of Whitehorse and south of the Arctic Circle, is as much a character as the people.
The plot is twisty enough to keep readers guessing until the final reveal. There's humor, light and dark, a bit of romance, and a high body count. Add in the tight plotting and setting and this is definitely a thriller to keep a reader turning the pages.