Saturday, December 24, 2022

Rockton's relocation brings new questions

Haven's Rock
Kelley Armstrong
February 21, 2023

Murder at Haven's Rock is a spin-off from the earlier Rockton series after seven books. Set in the Canadian Yukon, Rockton is one of the most unique crime series I have read, and I was sad to see it go, even though that storyline had run its course. Rockton was founded as a refuge for people on the run from abusive relationships and problems not of their own making. People with unpopular political views also made up the shifting population. Over the years, Rockton devolved into a money-making enterprise, allowing some unsavory and murderous characters to take refuge there. Sheriff Eric Dalton, who was born there, and his now-wife, Casey Duncan, are tasked with riding herd on the population. Detective. Casey was one of the latest residents running from her problems. Throughout the series, their relationship matures. Casey, in particular, grew more comfortable in her own skin.

When Rockton met its end, the two had enough resources (along with others) to build a new Rockton called Haven's Rock. The plan was to stay away during the settlement building, which is nearly finished. Eric and Casy are called back because the project's architect has vanished into the forest. As one of the crew says, "shit happens up here." Does it ever!! There is a missing woman, a dead woman, an attacked worker, and a gold miner hiding in the forest. There is also a woman living in a highly camouflaged cottage who claims to be a nature photographer. Haven's Rock is not as secluded or safe as hoped.

Some of Rockton's former residents will be returning but are only mentioned here until the end. April, Casey's physician sister, has to come back when the bodies multiply. The new characters are certainly "colorful" and may have nefarious plans. The bad apples will go, but some others whose motives are not clear ask to remain. I predict another stellar series from Kelley Armstrong that will keep me guessing.

Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own. 

RATING- 4 Stars

The Start of a New Contempoary Trilogy from Jayne Ann Krentz

The Lost Night Files #1
Jayne Ann Krentz
Berkley Books
January 3, 2023

Few authors are as prolific and successful in their chosen field as Jayne Ann Krentz, and has who knows how many NYT Bestsellers to her credit. Sleep No More kicks off a new trilogy, The Lost Night Files. Krentz specializes in Romantic Suspense with a paranormal twist in both contemporary and historical settings. 

Pallas Llewellyn spent the night at The Lucent Springs Hotel and woke up with frighteningly enhanced psychic abilities and no memories of the night. Two other women, Amelia Rivers, and Talia March, had the same experience. They reacted differently, but all their lives have changed. The three have banded together and now have a cold case podcast. They cover all sorts of cases, but their own is always uppermost. When Pallas gets a message from Ambrose Drake suggesting she investigate the Carnelian Sleep Institute and that he witnessed a murder there, she agrees to meet him. After a rough start, the two make a deal to work together. There is a lot of shady activity in the town of Carnelian, including murder, drug rings, and financial malfeasance at a small local college.

Krentz always writes engaging characters, and Sleep No More does not disappoint. I especially liked Ambrose Drake, a writer whose life has been upended by his experience at Carnelian. He suffers from crippling sleep deprivation and is not precisely the macho hero. His writing career is in shambles, and his personal life even more so. In fact, he is a mess, but the two manage to find love and support despite it all. 

Thanks to Berkley and Netgalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING-4 Stars