This Fallen Prey is the third book in the Rockton series by Kelley Armstrong, and in some ways this might be the best one to date. Casey has been in the town for almost a year and has settled in to life there as a detective, and into her relationship with Eric Dalton as well. She's settled into the rhythms of the town, she knows how things work, but her and Dalton are shocked when the shadowy council that runs the place sends them a serial killer to watch over. Oliver Brady is a very bad person, and the council wants him in Rockton, out of sight, for six months. Dalton protests vociferously but to no avail- what the council wants, it's going to get.
Dalton and Casey know they don't have the facilities or expertise to handle someone like this, and they're right. It's probably not a surprise to say that things go sideways, and when bad things happen Rockton turns into a powder keg waiting to explode. Some of the residents want to lynch the guy, while others seem sympathetic. Dalton and Casey have to try to keep him alive, but when an apparent assassin comes to the area and starts shooting at people in the woods, everything goes off the rails.
This series is amazing. This is one of those books I wanted to just keep reading- in fact I read the last tow hundred pages in one sitting, staying up very late to do so. I felt like I was slipping back into this setting very comfortably from the first chapter, and it was so nice to do so. I hope this is a series that goes on for a long time. I don't always agree with Casey's decisions, and that was definitely the case here, but there's no question her and Dalton are a compelling couple. And Rockton is such an enigmatic place- I mean everyone there is either a criminal or a victim who is trying to hide from their past, and so who can you really trust? Casey unfortunately learns that other than Dalton, maybe there's no one she can really trust.
I like that Kelley Armstrong is slowly lifting the veil on some of the outside groups that live in the wilderness around the town- the First Settlers and the hostiles especially. Ever since the first book I've been curious about these two groups, and in this one we learn more about both. The hostiles in particular are very interesting, and while we don't learn much, we definitely know more. I also have been hoping for a paranormal element to appear, and I'm happy to report that while there is still no paranormal per se, there is a definite hint that she may be going in that direction. That's about all I can say, but I'm here for that.
Jacob returns, and seems to be dancing around the possibility of getting to know Nicole, and some of the other curious characters that live outside the town also appear. I was hoping Tyrone Cypher, the larger-than-life guy that has a fun repartee with our detective, would appear, and I wasn't disappointed. He's frankly amazing. I cheered when he showed up. Armstrong is taking her time developing some of these folks, drawing them out slowly, and it feels so natural. We learn more as Casey does. If I have one complaint about this book, it's that the plot may be slightly too convoluted. By the end I was like really? Maybe one or two too many strands , but it's full of shocks and twists and frankly I did not see things coming. This one is a knockout, all in all, and my first 5 star of the year.
FURTHER DISCUSSION/ SPOILERS
Here I just want to discuss some spoilery plot points and some of the developments in the series, so if you don't want to be spoiled turn back now! Okay, still with me? I like that Casey's relationship with Dalton continues to evolve, they're in such a good place now. Is wedding in the offing? Judging by one of their conversations, it appears possible. This is also the second book in a row where I suspected Anders was going to turn out to be a bad guy at one point, and I'm glad I was wrong. I like Jen too, even though she and Casey have such a fraught relationship. It looked like she was going to be in trouble too, but apparently not.
Petra being an assassin was a shocker! And I couldn't wait to see who the sniper turned out to be. The back and forth between Oliver and Wallace though irked me a tad- even as the end of the book approached we still didn't know who was who, in terms of the killings. Like I said above, maybe a bit too convoluted by half. But that's my only real complaint. Other than not getting more of Cypher!
I like though that Armstrong is clearly giving us Cypher in small doses. I would venture to say she likes writing him, as he's easily the most fun character in the series, at least to me. The books need a little levity since they're fairly dark and grim. Jacob is also interesting, and the fact that he and Nicole are dancing around their mutual attraction is cute. This is one of those series where yeah the mystery or whatever is interesting, but it's the characters and their relationships, their development, that interest me, and I love seeing the layers peeled back.
What do you think of the hostiles revelation? Casey now suspects that the council has had something nefarious to do with former residents, perhaps turning them into hostiles or experimenting on them? This is where I think the paranormal element may come in. This to me was a great development.
This sounds fantastic but also sounds like I probably need to go back and read the first two books before tackling this one. Adding all three to my TBR based on your enthusiastic review :)ReplyDelete
Yay! I think reading them in order would add more since you'll be in from the ground floor, so to speak. :)Delete
I haven't read her books in quite some time, it seems I may need to change that soon.ReplyDelete
I started with these and now I want to read more of her stuff!Delete
It sounds like this is one of those books that is impossible to write about without taking notes. I rarely take notes because writing reviews is not something I have to do. I'm glad you liked it though.ReplyDelete
Actually it wasn't that bad, I don't think I took any notes, but there is a lot of fun stiff going on! And I hear you on not having t odo reviews, I like that flexibility too since I don't request ARC's.Delete
It's been ages since I read a Kelly Armstrong book! I can't believe I'm not aware of her latest works. This one sounds like an absolute page-turner. Will have to look into the first book!ReplyDelete
Oh yeah these are great!Delete
This series surprises me with its intensity with every review I read!ReplyDelete
They just seem to get better and better!Delete
I can't believe I haven't started this series. Armstrong is one of my favorite authors. I only skimmed your review because I didn't want to spoil anything. But I'm glad you think the series is amazing!ReplyDelete
Oh I do, and you have to read these- I think you'd love em!!Delete
Detective stories aren't my thing, but I love the cover. 😊ReplyDelete
It's not even really a detective story, more like a survival story half the time, but I hear you. And isn't that cover cool??Delete
I think I might give this a try. I used to love Armstrong but her books got kind of boring and too similar for me. But this sounds different and it's been a while.ReplyDelete
Karen @ For What It's Worth
Oh I hope you do- would love to know what you think!Delete
Congrats on your first 5 star review of the year! I recently read my first too!ReplyDelete
Yay! This one was awesome.Delete
I like the cover, it is creepy. I have not read these by her, just her UF stuff way backReplyDelete
Yeah I want to read more of her, and I love that cover!Delete
I absolutely loved this! This series really does keep you on edge and I love that I never know who can be trusted and what their agenda is. ;) I love the direction it is going too with the counsel and town members.ReplyDelete
I love Kelley Armstrong, but I haven't read this series yet! It sounds really great! I didn't read the spoilers for obvious reasons, but the rest of your review was lovely!ReplyDelete
"And Rockton is such an enigmatic place- I mean everyone there is either a criminal or a victim who is trying to hide from their past, and so who can you really trust?" That makes it sound so twisty and I love it! I enjoy not knowing things when I'm reading a book.
Do You Dog-ear?
Glad you enjoyed! I still think the first one is my favorite, but this was definitely a huge improvement over the last one, which I thought was more predictable. I'm with you on some of your reactions in the spoiler section. I just can't believe the thing with Val! She was such a fixture in the town and in the series so far. And that cliffhanger was evil. I kind of like it though, it would be great to see this series evolve from a case-a-book series to one featuring multi-book story arcs.ReplyDelete
~Mogsy @ BiblioSAnctum
Skipped the spoilery section but I'm now really looking forward to reading this one. Picked up some new thrillers this week and will have to add this to the pilesReplyDelete
I'm glad you loved this one and enjoy the series so much! I need to read the first one so bad. I love her books, but I haven't read one in ages. :/ReplyDelete
I still have yet to read a Kelley Armstrong book. Which is sad. I even own some, so I have no real excuses. I will probably start with a standalone, even though this series does sound really good! How many books is it supposed to be? It's great that it keeps getting better, too. Glad it was such a win for you!!ReplyDelete
It's been so long since I've read Kelley Armstrong, and I keep hearing such good things about this series. One of these days I'm going to find the time to read it:-)ReplyDelete
It sounds like there's a lot of chaos in this book, I can see how it would be one that would be hard to put down! And I love those series where you're able to just slip back into the world immediately. And compelling characters are great! Sometimes even more so when you don't always agree w/ them! Glad you loved this one.ReplyDelete
I have been wanting to read a book by Kelley Armstrong after hearing so many good things about her books. Perhaps I should start with this series.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your review!
This sounds awesome! And that COVER! Definitely going to check out this series soon!!ReplyDelete
This series just gets better and better! I was shocked by some of the revelations, and I agree I think Casey can't trust anyone but Eric. I still can't stand Jen, she caused all kinds of trouble, and seems only out for herself. I hope the series goes on for a long time, too! Wonderful review, Greg! :)ReplyDelete
I absolutely love this series too. The whole world of it is so interesting and new! I didn't like this book as much as the previous installments, but I still really liked it. I think like you, near the end, I was kind of like, really? Get on with it! Just too many different surprises. Cypher is one of my faves too! I wanted more of him as well. As for the hostiles - maybe the council is doing something to them. I am looking forward to finding out! Great review!ReplyDelete