Monday, February 12, 2024

Kelley Armstrong: The Boy Who Cried Bear

This is the second book in a spin off series called Haven's Rock. You will at the very least need to read the first book in this series Murder at Haven's Rock in order to understand what Haven's rock is about. However, if you have time I highly reccomend the series that this one is a spin off from, the Rockton series, first book is City of the Lost. Even just reading the first book in that series will set you up with a bit more understanding for this one.
Kelley Armstrong is back in the latest Haven’s Rock first and this time a boy’s life is at stake:

Detective Casey Duncan and Sheriff Eric Dalton already feel comfortable in their new town, hidden in the Yukon Forest but even they are still learning the new forest around them and the new residents in town are even more unprepared in the forest coming from "down south" which is why people are not allowed to wander in the forest alone. While on a planned hike, the youngest member of the town Max (10 years old) is started to see a bear chasing them, but this is no ordinary Bear, Max swears that it was running on two legs and had human eyes. Casey and Eric know the dangers a bear can present, and they set off to find the bear, but while they are gone Max disappears into the forest. Some say he has run off, some say he was taken. it is up to Casey and Eric to find him, but strange occurrences are happening all around them, in town and in the forest and they are not sure what they are up against.

What I really enjoy about Armstrong's writing is that she does not rely on dead body after dead body in order to keep readers attention, instead she relies on old fashion detective work, tracking and setting to create a tense atmosphere to keep it suspenseful and interesting 

In this book, we have a missing child which is the main focus for Casey and Dalton and it is about uncovering clues hidden within the forest and from the residents in town in order to piece together what happened and where Max could have gone and if someone had him. Are there additional interesting side plots where things will be taken further in additional books, absolutely but I found that they were done in a way that intertwined well with this story that it did not become confusing. It personally just made me want to read further in the series to see where Armstrong will take things.

As Haven's Rock is a new place for those who need a place to hide for a few year, it has new rules compared to Rockton. This is really seen with having kids and couples in town instead of just allowing singles to enter. This has created a new dynamic that Casey and Dalton must deal with, as well couples fight, children are curious and Casey and Dalton are still getting a feel for the place. Their authority get questioned a lot more here as well. I personally love the new dynamic and it adds something new from the previous series. And wow, the bomb that gets dropped in this book is just amazing.

I enjoy that Casey and Dalton spent a lot of time in the forest and that the forest is a big unknown here as Dalton did not grow up here and it is not as predictable of a place as it was in their previous home. I think that this unknown forest gives the book additional suspense as they look for Max, as they don’t know the woods like they did before. Their hands are more tied here and they must rely more on Storm and Dalton's tracking skills to try and find him. You can tell on more than one occasion that they are frustrated with their progress and you have to even wonder how much easier their job might have been if they were still in Rockton

One of my favorite additions to this book/setting is their mysterious neighbours, Casey and Dalton know that they cannot trust them, but cannot quite figure out what they are doing way out in the Yukon. There was a lot more interaction with them as well in this book and I can't wait to see that subplot unfold even further in future books. I feel like there is more to come to head with them sooner rather than later

I like Alice’s character growth. even though we don’t see a lot of her in this book, the scene with Kenny is super sweet.

Another solid book by Armstrong. I am a big fan of Dalton and Casey so anytime they are in a book you know i'm going to pick it up. I highly recommend this series, and reading it in order, to fully appreciate the characters, setting and storylines that Armstrong has set up.


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