Review: A Stranger in Town by Kelley Armstrong
Conspiracy lovers who want to be proven right, this is the book for you! For the past few books in this series, the main arc dealt with the "hostiles". These are people who have gone "wild" in the Yukon and have become increasingly violent and brutal against Rockton and the different settlements. Whilst this book can read as a standalone, it is recommended to read the previous books in the series to fully understand how the town of Rockton works and the different relationships between the key people in the town.
Casey and Eric are shocked to come across a stranger in the woods. It is rare for people to come this far into the Yukon. Tourist will probably not survive the weather, regardless of the unusual warm weather. When this stranger is not only a lost tourist but severely injured, Casey and Eric need to make a hard decision, can they bring this person into their closed and secret town?
Ms. Armstrong does an amazing job at providing clues for Casey to figure out what is going on in the town and outside of it. The political maneuvering between the Rockton, the different settlements and a specific "clan" can cause a headache. It feels like everyone is a potential foe that may or may not be a frenemy, just for today.
The twists and turns that happen in this story keep me riveted. Casey keeps trying to figure out what is going on and each new piece of information and dead body only complicates it. I am impressed where the story takes us because I was baffled and a few times I had to back track just like Casey. I love when an author keeps me on my toes. Ms. Armstrong continues to develop the main characters and their complexities show through in their interactions with each other.
Whilst the hostiles inception and situation is finally solved by Casey, I don't believe this is the end. There has been a foreboding regarding the motives of the board and council. With the latest developments in this book, it appears Ms. Armstrong is setting up for the next arc. I am eager to see what happens to Casey, Eric and the Rockton core group.
There is one subplot that still bothers me and I am not sure what to think of it. It surrounds Eric's childhood and how he came to Rockton. I cannot help but think of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. They are not the same but the underlying principle is there... colonization and civilizing savages. It speaks to a bad time where people with the best of intentions cause unintended consequences with their hubris. Eric's childhood seems to be a wound unable to heal. It will be interesting to see if there is ever a resolution to this travesty.
This mystery thriller is highly recommended to readers who enjoy watching the the road to hell, paved with good intentions.