TRIGGER WARNING (HIGHLIGHT BELOW):
RAPE. MENTIONS OF INCEST.
A DARKNESS ABSOLUTE
Series: Casey Duncan #2
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release date: February 7th 2017
When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.
Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year. When the bodies of two other women turn up, Casey and her colleagues must find out if it’s an outsider behind the killings or if the answer is more complicated than that…before another victim goes missing.
“Here? Interesting is the best thing a person can be.”
A Darkness Absolute is a great and thrilling second installment to the Casey Duncan series. The setting of Rockton continues to be unusual and filled with dangerous possibilities, the characters are strong and developed, and the mystery is engaging. Some readers have picked this up as a standalone, but to fully understand the setting and its characters I recommend everyone to read the first book, City of the Lost, which is also an amazing story.
Kelley Armstrong has struck gold writing this mystery series. This novel starts with a bang, throwing us into the action right away, and maintains its fast-pace until the very end. There are twists and deaths and danger, some of which the reader can figure out for themselves, and the plot never fails to be interesting and engrossing.
City of the Lost was actually one of my favorite reads of 2016. I took a chance picking it up, after disliking a few of Armstrong books, because the world-building sounded really cool and unique: Rockton, a town where people go to when they’re on the run from something — or someone. I fell in love with that concept, and am glad to say my love for the series extends to A Darkness Absolute.
There is a brand new mystery this time around, although it does tie-in with some of the events that happened in the first installment. Armstrong knows how to set up an engaging mystery arc, leaving enough little clues along the way to make reading fun and giving readers the possibility to throw in their guesses of who’s guilty and what’s happening. There are also some very well executed twists along the way, which only enrich the story.
The character development is another highlight. Casey as a main character continues to be a delight to read about, especially when she’s kicking ass. She’s changed since the beginning of the series, and for the better. The same can be said about Dalton, who is still my favorite character, as he struggles with some of his personal views and his past. We also get a little more information about a few other characters — Jacob, Val, and a few others —, as well as get a glimpse of life outside of Rockton.
Romance is one of the elements of the book, although I’d say it’s more present in this installment than in the previous one. Casey and Dalton’s relationship continues to develop, and it brings a sweetness to the plot that sometimes is necessary. Still, that is not the focus of the plot and it does not take anything away from the main arc.
The ending does feel a little rushed and abrupt, but the journey there consist of some pretty great story-telling. So overall, A Darkness Absolute is a very enjoyable read and a strong addition to one of my favorite Mystery series. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the genre and who likes unusual and unique settings.