A Stranger in Town

A Stranger in Town

Book - 2021
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"In the latest riveting thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, the paranoia increases--along with the stakes--as the town of Rockton tries to solve the latest mystery at their door. Detective Casey Duncan has noticed fewer and fewer residents coming in to the hidden town of Rockton, and no extensions being granted. Her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, presumes it's the natural flux of things, but Casey's not so sure. It seems like something bigger is happening in the small town they call home. When an injured hiker stumbles from the woods, someone who seems to have come to the Yukon for a wilderness vacation but instead is now fighting for her life, it's all hands on deck. What--or who--attacked this woman, and why? With the woman unconscious, and no leads, Casey and Eric don't know where the threat is coming from. Plus, the residents of their deeply secretive town are uneasy with this stranger in their midst. Everyone in Rockton wants this mystery solved--and fast"--
Publisher: New York, New York : Minotaur Books, ©2021.
ISBN: 9781250781727
Characteristics: 356 pages ;,25 cm.

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ldusername
Mar 17, 2021

The sixth installment in a suspenseful murder mystery series with a unique premise where everything and everyone is at the extreme far end of the spectrum of what we consider normal/civilized. The setting in the wilderness of the Yukon allows the author to remove all forms of high tech/CSI from the equation and Detective Casey Butler has to solve her murder mysteries sleuthing the old fashion way using her brain and guts alone. I don’t believe you can jump into this series midway and I highly recommend to start from the first book in the series.
This story comes somewhat on the heels of Alone in the Wild timeline wise and the pace picks up again after the breather we got with Alone in the Wild. Casey and Eric are back to living in that constant pressure cooker and for the first time we see Casey (and Eric somewhat) starting to bulk a bit even if it was a fleeting moment. You do live that tension with them and feel it. We are again back to a plot with a high body count that involves multiple murders and throw in multiple kidnappings and assorted assaults for good measure! It justifies why the relationship between Casey and Eric was back to the background again. This series was never really big on sex scenes to begin with but here there was maybe one or two liners which was a bit disappointing since the relationship continues to be an essential element of my attraction to this series. The plot picks up similar themes from Alone in the Wild with more details about settlers and hostiles. But there is a bit more about Rockton and its usual characters than in Alone in the Wild. This made sense and resulted in closing a major thread running through several books while simultaneously throwing Rockton in its biggest crisis yet. A kind of a cliff hanger. So now I am on tenterhooks for the next book!
The murder plots and assorted reveals are well done and advance the overall story beautifully as usual.
The weakness in the plot were minor such as the role of language/accents as a plot element and the lack of explanation about the owner of the single boot.
I am also still waiting for further explanation around April’s continued involvement in Rockton. As jarring as her initial presence was weaved into the story, it is treated as a complete non issue and as if she rightfully belongs. Overall, this is suspenseful and well written book. Kelley Armstrong is my favorite author, I would recommend all her books in general (Elena and Clayton are a must read) and this series in particular.

m
Mahala
Mar 13, 2021

Another amazing book that I couldn't be put down. It definitely was worth the wait to have Casey solve the mystery of the hostiles. Now there is an even bigger problem for Rocktown and I can't for the next book to see what happens.

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maucarden
Feb 15, 2021

I am disappointed there are still no killer rabbits in A Stranger in Town…or any rabbits. Nor is there bear bowling-although there are bears, oh my. In A Stranger in Town human predators take center stage and hold it they do in another Rockton tour de force.
Rockton is the little Yukon town that does not exist on any map, nor do very many people know about it. Due to some sophisticated technology, it is almost impossible to find, unless you just stumble across it. It was started more that sixty years ago as a hide-out for the idealists who were caught up in ugly governmental witch hunts. Later, much later it became the home of last resort for those who are wrongly accused, wrongly convicted, or hunted by loved one. In very recent years it seems as if the main requirement is large amounts of money, morality not required. In Rockton you can reinvent yourself. Become who or want you want. Sometimes you can even become a better person.
Casey Duncan is the town detective who was tricked into coming to Rockton, but has since fallen in love, first with the loved/hated Sheriff Eric Dalton then with both Rockton and the Yukon. Oddly enough, with a town filled with criminals her work load is fairly light, until the times it isn’t.
One day she and Eric set out from Rockton to do a bit of trading with a group of settler teenagers who are partying at a lake along with teenaged Sebastian from Rockton. They are the children and grandchildren of people who left Rockton, not wanting to return south. They have a hard life, but they did not turn into “hostiles” as the main group of forest human predators is known.
While visiting with the teens a severely injured woman comes stumbling from the forest. They get her back to Rockton and Casey’s sister saves her from her injuries. It is almost impossible to find out her story as she is Danish, until they find a new resident who knows Danish.
Casey and Eric find her campsite and two other bodies, all showing signs of murder by hostiles and animal predation.
While Casey and Eric try to discover what is behind the death of the Danish campers, two other mysteries occupy Casey; how and why did the hostiles evolve from hippie type settlement, and why are people no longer arriving in Rockton or giving extensions to stay? Casey and Eric have always said they have a plan B in case the Council who runs Rockton try to separate them, they just didn’t think it would be needed for other reasons. Nor do they really have a plan B. Now the main question, who will stand with them?
Casey’s sister, April, although a brilliant doctor and researcher is on the autism spectrum and has always gone untreated, which has also had a very negative effect on Casey. Another Rockton resident is a young sociopath who killed his parents at age ll. He is being treated, but Casey and Eric hold their breaths hoping for the best. Not having experience with either condition, it still strikes me that Armstrong handles these two characters in a knowledgeable and sensitive way.
This is world building at its best. Kelley Armstrong’s world of Rockton is just as intriguing, just as fascinating as her paranormal and fantasy worlds. Her characters and storytelling is exceptional. I can’t think of anyone who does it better. Maybe as well, but not better.
Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Press for an ARC. (less)

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