Watcher in the Woods
by Armstrong, Kelley

Watcher in the Woods is the next gripping installment of #1 bestselling Kelley Armstrong's riveting Casey Duncan series.

The secret town of Rockton has seen some rocky times lately; understandable considering its mix of criminals and victims fleeing society for refuge within its Yukon borders. Casey Duncan, the town's only detective on a police force of three, has already faced murder, arson, and falling in love in the several months that she's lived there. Yet even she didn't think it would be possible for an outsider to locate the town and cause trouble in the place she's come to call home.

When a US Marshal shows up demanding the release of one of the residents, but won't say who, Casey and her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, are skeptical. And yet only hours later, the marshal is shot dead and the only possible suspects are the townspeople and Casey's estranged sister, smuggled into town to help with a medical emergency. It's up to Casey to figure out who murdered the marshal, and why someone would kill to keep him quiet-before the killer strikes again.

KELLEY ARMSTRONG graduated with a degree in psychology and then studied computer programming. Now, she is a full-time writer and parent, and she lives with her husband and three children in rural Ontario, Canada. She is the author of City of the Lost, the first book in the Casey Duncan mystery series.

Armstrong's new Rockton novel begins almost immediately after the previous one, This Fallen Prey (2018), ended. In the hidden-away-somewhere-in-the-Yukon, off-the-grid town of Rockton, the place where people go when they need to disappear, a man's life is at risk from a gunshot wound. Casey Duncan, one of Rockton's three police officers, leaves town to bring back her estranged sister, April, a surgeon. While April is in Rockton (her presence there is a secret from nearly everyone), a U.S. marshal shows up, insisting that he be allowed to take one of the town's residents into custody. Soon the marshal is dead, and the suspect pool is not very deep: the town's residents and Casey's sister. Casey doesn't have much to go on, but she's determined to find out who wanted the man dead and why. The Rockton novels are fine blends of story, character, and setting. The town of Rockton is not merely window dressing, and its characters aren't superficially drawn. In fact, the two elements feed off one another, with the vividness of the place adding depth to the people who inhabit it. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

A Canadian town whose population includes people running from criminals and criminals running from the consequences of their crimes is infiltrated by a U.S. Marshal bent on bringing an unnamed resident to justice. Rockton Detective Casey Butler is on an unusual new mission. Usually something of a maverick working alone to solve crimes, Casey has relied on the help of her sheriff, Eric Dalton, who's not only her technical superior and frequent investigative collaborator, but the first man she's ever committed to living with or calling her boyfriend. The two leave the safe haven of Rockton, a secret town in the Yukon, to recruit Casey's sister, April, a gifted doctor, to operate on Kenny, a resident who's been badly injured. Although Casey and April have never been close, Casey convinces April to sneak into town to save Kenny's life. The bigger hurdle is getting April to Rockton without alerting the town council, especially Phil, its hidebound new leader. Rockton is a planned c ommunity of residents hiding from outside threats, but the town's pay-to-play rules mean that some residents are perpetrators of crimes hiding out to avoid paying their debts to society. After April comes to town, Casey and Dalton discover a man camping out in the surrounding woods. Mark Garcia identifies himself as a U.S. Marshal on the hunt for a Rockton resident he won't identify except to say that the fugitive's psychopathic tendencies will endanger residents. Casey and Dalton, uncertain whether it's riskier to work with Garcia or against him, are unable to wrest the resident's name from Garcia before he's shot and killed. Now Casey must work with Dalton to counteract that threat to Rockton as she tries to forge a path to peace with April. Building on the hidden world she's built, Armstrong focuses less on the moody atmosphere earlier installments (This Fallen Prey, 2018, etc.) have favored than on the politics and interpersonal dynamics of her metaphorical lions and lam b s—though it seems like everyone here is a bit of a lion. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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