Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Doubleday Canada on January 30, 2018
Source: ARC, borrowed
When Casey Duncan first arrived at Rockton, the off-the-grid, isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect.There are no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. She certainly didn’t expect to become the town homicide detective. But, the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned. And she never thought that she’d have to be responsible for him.
The longer Oliver Brady stays in town, the more people seem to die around him. When evidence begins piling up that someone inside Rockton is working as his accomplice, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he’s truly responsible for committing.
Former homicide detective Casey Duncan left everything behind when she and her oldest friend Diana fled to an off-the-grid community called Rockton. Hidden from the government, law enforcement, and civilians alike, Rockton is the sort of place where people go to get lost…and some of those people are hiding from justice.
A mixture of people fleeing danger and those fleeing consequences for their criminal behaviour, Rockton has a unique population of a few hundred people. While Casey and her lover, Sheriff Eric Dalton, aren’t aware of every dangerous criminal living in town, they do have a solid handle on things. At least, until the Council gets involved. Without informing the town’s police force, the shadowy group drops a sadistic serial killer named Oliver Brady in their midst.
The challenge? Keep him alive – and contained – for six months. The group barely manages six days before Oliver is sprung from his cell, abducts a hostage, and goes on a killing spree through the tundra.But is Oliver really responsible for the killings? And was he even involved in the serial murders that resulted in his arrival in town? With the Council keeping mum, a distinct lack of forensic technology, and Oliver in the wind, Casey and her friends are hard-pressed to uncover the truth. And I’m not going to lie, I struggled to figure out exactly what was going on too!
As always, Armstrong does an excellent job portraying the harshness and stark beauty of life in the Canadian wilderness. In THIS FALLEN PREY, Casey, Eric, and Will spend less time in town than they have in previous books, journeying through the forests and the tundra to find their escaped prisoner (and his hostage). They encounter mountain lions, perilously fast-flowing rivers, and myriad other natural dangers out in the wilderness, but it’s the human dangers that are the most dangerous…
Armstrong is clearly building up to a big reveal about the Settlers, and especially those few among them who’ve left certain standards of human behaviour behind. In a place like Rockton, conspiracies abound — but is it really possible that the Council responsible for running the remote town is also responsible for turning these people into monsters? In my humble opinion, it’s more than possible: it’s highly likely. I’m looking forward to learning more about the deceptively sophisticated Settler culture, the nomadic loners like Eric’s brother Jacob, and the explanation for the unbalanced individuals living rough in the wilderness beyond Rockton’s borders.
Twists and turns abound in THIS FALLEN PREY, with Casey and company scrambling to uncover who’s involved in the killings and anticipate what it is that they’ll do next. I actually think there were a few too many twists and “big reveals,” since there was barely any time to absorb the impact of one shocking discovery before we were on to the next. I think that THIS FALLEN PREY could’ve benefitted from a few more moments of calm, as the non-stop action felt more frenetic than anything else. I was hoping for a stronger emphasis on character, especially now that Armstrong has delved deeper into the pasts of That isn’t to say that the twists aren’t good — far from it. Fans of the series, be forewarned: THIS FALLEN PREY ends on something of a cliffhanger. If you’re anything like me, your jaw will practically need to be scraped off the floor by the final page.
THIS FALLEN PREY is another atmospheric, unsettling, pulse-pounding read in the Casey Duncan series. Despite thinking that it was a bit all over the place at times, I really liked it and I’m excited to see where Armstrong takes things next.