Monday, February 26, 2024

A Darkness Absolute: Kelley Armstrong


Description from the dust jacket:

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.

Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year.

Rockton is a small town in the Yukon wilderness, so isolated that most modern conveniences are lacking. A town council has to approve new inhabitants, and most of those applying for residence in Rockton have committed crimes or are hiding from something in their past. Admittance can be based on the individual's usefulness to the town or on a large monetary payment.

Sheriff Eric Dalton and Detective Casey Duncan are the main characters in this series. In this book, they are looking for a man who is capable of kidnapping a woman and keeping her imprisoned in demeaning circumstances for months. They don't know for sure whether the man would be from outside of Rockton, or an inhabitant. And the bad weather doesn't make the investigation and search any easier.

The aspects that drew me to the first book in the series were connected to the setting. I like to read books set in Canada and written by Canadian authors. A remote town isolated from the rest of the world in the Yukon was especially appealing. 

So what else did I like?

  • The author definitely keeps the story suspenseful and, in a town like Rockton, practically everyone is a suspect. 
  • I enjoyed the story overall, and the action never stops. Which is probably good, because it keeps the reader from wondering too much about any implausible actions or decisions, which show up in just about any thriller.
  • The character development is great. I like the main characters, and there are a lot of interesting recurring characters. Even in the case of characters I don't like, I think the characters are well developed.

This is the second book in the series, and it was just as appealing as the first, City of the Lost, which I read about 3 years ago. I will make an effort to read book 3 sooner. There are seven books in the series, published between 2016 and 2022. There is even a spinoff series that I will be interested in pursuing once I read the next five books in the series. 


Publisher:  Minotaur Books, 2017.
Length:      390 pages
Format:      Hardcover
Series:       Rockton, #2
Setting:      Yukon,  Canada
Genre:       Police Procedural
Source:      Purchased in 2020.


Kay said...

I have really enjoyed this series and am caught up on it except for the latest book in the 'spin-off'. Looking forward to reading that one. I like Casey a lot and I think that Kelley Armstrong is quite talented. Would I want to live in Rockton? No, I wouldn't, but it's fun to read about it. You've got some great stories to come, Tracy!

TracyK said...

Kay, I am glad to hear that you continued to enjoy the books in this series. In addition to this series, I would like to try the time travel series she wrote. I have heard good things about it, too.

Margot Kinberg said...

What an interesting premise for a book, Tracy! I'd never really thought about it, but it makes sense that a place like that, that's so isolated, would end up having its own rules, its own secrets, and so on. I have to admit, I don't think I'd like being that far off the grid, but I can imagine the appeal if you're running from something/somenne.

Sam said...

The setting of this series sounds wild - in every sense of the word. You beat me to the punch because I was going to say that it would be exactly the place where almost every resident would have to be considered a suspect or they probably wouldn't be living there. Interesting series that I want to learn more about.

TracyK said...

Margot, I am a complete wimp and would never voluntarily live in a place like that, but it is exciting to read about.

TracyK said...

Sam, when I was reading book 1 in the series, I assumed that a good number of the people were hiding from people who wanted to harm them but it becomes more and more obvious that the majority were in serious trouble with the law before they came. I thought the books might be too dark for me, but they are not.

Cath said...

Like you, I read the first book in this series several years ago, might be longer. I enjoyed it but for some reason never got around to any more. It is a wonderful premise for a book series, wildernesses such as you find in Alaska and The Yukon have always fascinated me. I've just finished watching a 3 part doc. series of one of our UK female comedians doing a trip around Alaska and she went on the Yukon river. I love that kind of thing.

TracyK said...

Cath, that documentary sounds very good. I would like to watch more documentaries, but we have so many unwatched movies on DVD / Blu-ray that we will never catch up. We have watched documentaries (and movies) set in Antarctica. Maybe that documentary series will be available here in a year or so.

Kathy's Corner said...

I read about a third of the way through City of The Lost and I don't know why I never finished the book because I loved the premise and Kelly Armstrong is a very good writer. I am going to try this series again and at least finish the first book.

TracyK said...

Kathy, I liked the first book in the series a bit more than the 2nd one because it has the section where it is explained how and why Casey moved to Rockton. But that section may slow down the book. I hope you have a better experience with it the second time.

Clothes In Books said...

I've not come across this series at all but it sounds fascinating - love the setup. Like you I enjoy books with that kind of very northern setting. I will definitely add this series to the list, though starting with book 1.

TracyK said...

Moira, starting with book 1 is the way to go. I don't know how realistic this series is, but it keeps me entertained. I cannot imagine living in an area with such intense whether.

TracyK said...

Sorry, "weather" not "whether." My proofing is not very good.

thecuecard said...

Hooray for a Canadian setting and the Yukon too. I like cold settings for crime books -- it always adds atmosphere.

TracyK said...

Susan, I like books set in Canada (preferably by Canadian authors) and cold settings and often those two go together. And I am finally getting a better understanding of where the provinces in Canada are located.