Review of Murder at Haven’s Rock by Kelley Armstrong

Casey Duncan is back! With a new town, some new characters, and, of course, murder. That can’t be a good omen for a brand new town, can it?

Blurb: Haven’s Rock, Yukon. Population: 0

Deep in the Yukon wilderness, a town is being built. A place for people to disappear, a fresh start from a life on the run. Haven’s Rock isn’t the first town of this kind, something detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton, know first-hand. They met in the original town of Rockton. But greed and deception led the couple to financing a new refuge for those in need. This time around, they get to decide which applicants are approved for residency.

There’s only one rule in Haven’s Rock: stay out of the forest. When two of the town’s construction crew members break it and go missing, Casey and Eric are called in ahead of schedule to track them down. When a body is discovered, well-hidden with evidence of foul play, Casey and Eric must find out what happened to the dead woman, and locate those still missing. The longer Casey and Eric don’t know what happened, the more danger everyone is in.

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The beginning of last year saw the end of Rockton, the short-term home of former detective, Casey Duncan, in Kelley Armstrong’s The Deepest of Secrets, the final book in the Rockton series. To say that I was disappointed by the ending of the book regarding it being the last entry in the series was an understatement (you can see my review here). I even made the proclamation that if a new town was created by Casey and Eric I wasn’t sure I would care. Haha. Final laugh on me because I learned that I do care.

Murder at Haven’s Rock opens with a very curious town architect, Penny, following an individual into the forest and then bad things happen. In Rockton, we soon learned that if you wander into the forest unprepared, or sometimes even prepared, bad things happen. Penny found out the hard way.

While Casey and Eric were not quite prepared to arrive in their new town, they must arrive early in order to find Penny along with a missing engineer, Bruno. The mystery begins when Casey accidentally falls into a pit and discovers a dead woman.

First, I just want to express my amazement with Kelley Armstrong who moves so easily through her series. I just read and reviewed her time travel mystery novel, The Poisoner’s Ring, set in Edinburgh and now I’m in the Yukon wilderness with former homicide detective, Casey. The dangers are different but the dangers abound as does good, page-turning writing.

With Murder at Haven’s Rock we have an introduction to some characters who will no doubt be regulars, Yolanda, granddaughter of the formidable Emilie, and others (sorry for the vagueness; I feel it could be spoilery). I liked these characters, what they brought to the novel, and I like the characters that Armstrong is bringing back from the Rockton series. That is the wonderful thing about being an author, you can get rid of and keep the characters you want.

As usual, there are a number of unexpected occurrences, even up to the end, when my favorite suspect was not the murderer. Enter twists and turns, none of which couldn’t be explained. Those outcomes are always satisfying.

Yes, a new Casey Duncan novel, which feels like Armstrong breathed fresh air into the series.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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