Title: Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong
Casey Duncan/Rockton Series Book Five
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 369 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In #1 New York Times bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s latest thriller, the hidden town of Rockton is about to face a challenge none of them saw coming: a baby.
Every season in Rockton seems to bring a new challenge. At least that’s what Detective Casey Duncan has felt since she decided to call this place home. Between all the secretive residents, the sometimes-hostile settlers outside, and the surrounding wilderness, there’s always something to worry about.
While on a much needed camping vacation with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a tragic scene: a woman buried under the snow, murdered, a baby still alive in her arms.
A town that doesn’t let anyone in under the age of eighteen, Rockton must take care of its youngest resident yet while solving another murder and finding out where the baby came from – and whether she’s better off where she is.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong again delivers an engaging, tense thriller set in perhaps the most interesting town in all of contemporary crime fiction.
Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong is a fast-paced and compelling mystery. Although this latest release is the fifth installment in the Casey Duncan /Rockton series, it can easily be read as a standalone. However, I highly recommend the previous books as well.
After months of little crime, Detective Casey Duncan and her boyfriend Sheriff Eric Dalton take off a few days to camp in the woods by themselves. But when Casey hear an unexpected sound in the forest, she, along with her dog Storm, are hot on the trail. When her instincts prove to be correct, she makes two stunning discoveries: a murdered “hostile” and a very much alive baby. Who does the baby belong to? But most importantly, who killed the woman protecting the infant?
Despite not allowing anyone under the age of eighteen, Casey and Eric are granted permission to keep the baby in Rockton until they locate her family. Casey has mixed feelings about caring for the baby and she is surprised by how easily Dalton steps into a foster father role. Despite her conflicted emotions, the couple juggle childcare duties with their search for the baby’s family.
Although solving the murder is not within her jurisdiction, Casey cannot help but ask probing questions as their investigation takes them out into the surrounding wilderness. With little interaction with the two settlements and “hostiles”, there is not much doubt the baby is most likely from one of these areas. Their first inquiry provides an interesting lead, but both Casey and Eric have doubts about the motivation for these revelations. They feel obligated to check out the information but they are also keeping an open mind as they continue asking questions within the other settlements around them.
After stumbling across former Rockton resident Maryanne, Casey seizes the chance to find out more about the woman who has recently escaped from the hostiles. Maryanne is fragile but she is finally ready to tell much of her story. Dalton and Casey learn invaluable information about the tactics used by the hostiles to keep their group under control. Will these new details help them on their quest for the baby’s family?
Alone in the Wild is a fascinating mystery with a clever storyline, a cast of eccentric but likable characters and a beautiful but harsh setting. Casey and Eric continue to grow and evolve as they balance their close relationship with law enforcement duties. With much of the investigation taking place outside of Rockton, this fascinating peek into the various groups offers intriguing insight into the dynamics and beliefs of each settlement. Kelley Armstrong brings this multi-layered mystery to a poignant but completely satisfying conclusion. Old and new fans of the outstanding Casey Duncan /Rockton series are sure to enjoy this latest outing.