TITLE: CITY OF THE LOST
AUTHOR: KELLEY ARMSTRONG
BLURB: Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. But that’s not why she’s on the run. Her best friend Diana’s ex has found her again, despite all Casey has done to protect her. And Diana has decided the only way she’ll ever be safe is if she finds a mythical town that will hide people like her. Turns out the town exists, and it will take Diana, but only if Casey, a talented young police detective, comes along.
Imagine a secret town, isolated in the Yukon wilderness, deliberately cut off from the world, where everyone is pretending to be someone they’re not. Even good people can get up to some very bad stuff.
Kelley Armstrong is best known for her supernatural thrillers but on this occasion she ventures into the world of detective fiction giving us a new hero in Detective Casey Duncan. I’ve reviewed other novels by Kelley Armstrong and the vast majority of them I really like and for a very good reason. She delivers on plot, keeping you interested in the “what happens next” element of the story, but most of all she creates characters that you connect to and care about.
This novel is no exception and the way she reveals details about the main character over a couple of chapters is as good a demonstration of non-intrusive description as I’ve ever seen.
The story is at heart a locked door mystery but instead of a building we get an isolated small town (given the population we’d think hard of calling it a village here in Ireland, but hey…). When everyone in town has a story they’d rather wasn’t told then in effect everyone’s a suspect. This is a premise that Armstrong handles very well, with just enough information for you to stay on your toes, without making you so paranoid you can’t trust even the main character – or can you?
The cave sequence was so well written I actually found myself holding my breath at times. That hasn’t happened since I read Alan Dean Foster’s novelisation of the original Alien movie a long time ago.
There are plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you happy and a cast that is young enough to keep a youth obsessed CW show runner happy (you never know it just might be TV show material).
I have just two small gripes, neither of which would have any real impact on the enjoyment of reading the novel. The first is the timeline, I couldn’t really get a solid grip on how long Casey was in Rockton. A lot seemed to happen and she seemed very familiar with her surroundings and then we discover only days have passed. The second niggle in the back of my brain was the minor overlap with the concept of Wayward Pines the TV show. Admittedly the similarity was superficial but enough to keep drawing minor comparisons. Nothing more than a distraction though.
All-in-all a good read and I look forward to revisiting Rockton and its new diminutive detective.