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City of the Lost: 03/20/17

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong is the first of the Casey Duncan series. Casey Duncan is a Toronto homicide detective who has a huge secret — she has killed in revenge and gotten away with it. Her past is catching up with her and she needs to get away from it. There is a town in the Canadian wilderness that is completely off the grid where people can go to hide from their past.

Although Armstrong is Canadian, all of the books prior to City of the Lost, even the The Gathering which is set near Nanaimo, was still written in a generic enough way to read well on either side of the border.

City of the Lost from the very first page is distinctly Canadian. Before Casey is hired to be the new sheriff of Rockton, she asks where the town is. Jokingly it's described as somewhere in central Ontario — a place that seems far away to a Toronto resident in the same way that Tracy might as well be the moon to a San Franciscan.

In reality, Rockton is up in the Yukon. It's been off the grid long enough to have it's own sordid history, with a subculture of former residents who have decided to go even further off the grid — think Reavers in the woods. In terms of setting, I was most reminded of the anime, The Lost Village. Similar title, similar out of the way place, similar deadly situation — except that Casey and her friend are the only new arrivals and the village isn't abandoned before they get there.

In all of this though, ultimately, as iBooks likes to remind me, City of the Lost is a police procedural. It's a police procedural in a weird town surrounded by multiple dangers — the elements, the wild folk who are living off the land (such as it is), wild animals, and whatever criminal elements might be living under assumed identities inside the town itself. This first volume draws its tension from the horror of man as monster.

second book in the series is A Darkness Absolute and it came out in February 2017.

Three stars

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Friday, March 24, 2017 at 12:21:26

Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

I really want to start reading Kelley Armstrong since most of her books get great reviews. Which one would you recommend I read first?

Comment #2: Friday, March 24, 2017 at 12:41:22


It depends on what types of books you like. If you want a long running, interconnected paranormal YA, then there are two series: The Darkest Powers Trilogy followed by the Darkest Rising series. If you want a more straight up epic fantasy, there is Sea of Shadows. It's the start of a trilogy, but I haven't finished the series. For adult paranormal romance, there's the Women of the Otherworld — which I haven't read but my husband has enjoyed reading. Omens is the start of a horror thriller. Again, I've only read the first book but I have the second book and plan to read it soon. City of the Lost is a police procedural with horror undertones. Where you start though depends on your personal preference.

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