Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Kelley Armstrong: City of the Lost

In the first book in a new series Kelley Armstrong takes readers to Rockton Yukon where a town full of secrets has a murderer among them:

Casey Duncan is homicide detective that who holds a secret, she committed murder when she was in college. The man she murdered was the grandson of a mobsters and she knew that one day it would catch up to her. So started the self destructive tendency of her life of playing Russian roulette of what she had done. And it does catch up to her and almost kills her, but her friend Diana has a plan. Diana is on the run from her abusive ex-husband who has been stalking her; A town names Rockton. You must apply to live there and if you are accepted you must leave all your old life behind you. Casey isn't the best candidate, they do not take murderers, but she is something the town needs, a homicide detective.

I have always liked Armstrong as an author, though I will admit it has been a few years since I have read any of her series but I am so happy to find this series as this book was amazing in my opinion. I love a small town as they always seem to have some mysterious secrets well in Rockton everyone has secrets so I knew i was going to like this book. People leave their old life and ways behind them when they come to Rockton so it is a secret as to why each person is there  and their reason can vary so much that no two people are alike or have the same backstory. Some are white collar criminals, some are fleeing stalker or abusive husbands, some are fleeing the law but are actually innocent. Rockton is supposed to provide them with a fresh start. It’s like Armstrong personally asked me what I would like to see for a setting of a book and totally delivering on it. I could not have done it better myself (you know if was actually an author who was on the NY times best seller list lol).

I found the plot intricate, compelling and sophisticated all at once as Casey wades through the information she receives and having to do detective and forensic work the old fashion way. I think that is what really stands out in the book, there are no labs to run tests on samples found it is good old fashioned detective work of putting the pieces together so they are able to track down their killer. This helps set this book apart from others written these days taking detective work back to its roots but in a modern way as well. Let’s say there is no DNA or forensic evidence coming that is going to change everything or put the pieces together. This back to basics approach that Armstrong decided to take was really refreshing.

As this town is small 200 people you are introduced to the murderer along the way it is up to the reader to figure out who. I will say I was able to figure it out. I wasn’t always 100% confident in what I was thinking as Armstrong does a good job of making a lot of people suspects but in the end I was right. There were also some secondary story line twists that I did not see coming at all and Armstrong does a good job of intertwining these events  into the main plot line and mystery. Yes, there is some romance aspect that is put in to the book that did take a bit away from the overall plot but at the same time I can see why it happened, I mean it is a town of 200 and women are in the minority so it was bound to happen.

I really enjoyed Casey as a character, her morals and self destructiveness were are interesting combination as well as her continuing to pursue becoming a police officer. I like that Armstrong did take time to flesh out her back story as who Casey is now is very much dependent on her past, and her reasons for coming to Rockton. Through Casey we are able to get to know some of the other people in the town and due to the fact that she is a homicide detective we get to know why some people are there and it shapes her opinion of them and the council.

This is an awesome start to a new series. It had everything I wanted and then some for a mystery/thriller read. Armstrong knows how to set the stage and keep the story not only flowing but interesting as well. I know I’m invested in Rockton now and cannot wait to read the next book.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Hell Divers Wolves

This is the Fourth book in this series, so you will want to read the first three (Hell Divers, Ghosts, Deliverance) in order to understand this world and well not have some major spoilers from this book. Also this series is amazing, one of my favourites that I have been reading the past few years, so yeah you should just go pick it up. Also don’t keep reading as major major spoilers if you haven’t read the previous 3.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith returns to the original premise of the series of trying to find a place for humans to survive on the desolate Earth:

The Sea Wolf helmed by X and Magnolia set out for their search of the mysterious and deadly Cazadores and their metal island. The ocean is a vast place but X has been there before traveling across what was once the United States, he has the time, patience, and skill to match anything that the ocean can throw at him, or does he. Brutal storms, sea monsters, and the cannibalistic Cazadores may be the least of their worries as the discover what really caused the wars and left mankind struggling for survival in the air. One thing is for sure if X can find those in the air a new home he will, no matter what the cost.

Ah how I love this series, it is amazing and I will not stop singing praises for it. This book had action, twist turns,  suspense, character development and in true Sansbury Smith fashion you never know who is going to make it out in the end. I liked that Sansbury Smith decided to change things up a bit as the mainland was getting so boring (not really but I liked the new direction) and what better way than to have the Hell Divers end up on the Ocean. Sansbury Smith is known for his imaginative creatures on land, so just think what he can come up with in the Ocean, now think scarier and bigger and you're almost there. I also think many of the readers of this series have questioned, how did we as a species get here, why did the world go to hell and why did people flee to the skies. Well four books in and it was nice to get some answers that were more indepth than the little that the AI Timothy could provide. 

This book has a lot of focus on X as he is now. In the previous book we got to see how X changed and became the man he is so it was nice to have this new X be more of a focus in this book. X is the ultimate survivor and fighter and though he may not see his life in the sky anymore as he has spent too many years away plus he prefers his dog Miles to people, he still has those he cares about in the sky that he wants to protect. We also have more focus on Mags in this book and I am happy that she has come more to the forefront as a character.

We are first introduced to the Cazadores in the previous book and X’s previous encounters with them as well as the shock that some humans have been able to survive on Earth. If it's one thing I have noticed in all of the Sansbury Smith books I have read, there are some truths woven in to the story of apocalyptic adventure, so you know that he has well thought out and researched a possibility of the Cazadores and their survival.

One of the most interesting post-apocalyptic series out there and one of my favourite series in general. As long as Sansbury Smith keeps writing this series I will read it. Now on to book 5, Captives.

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