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MURDER AT HAVEN’S ROCK by Kelley Armstrong: Book Review

A number of years ago, Casey Duncan flees an abusive husband and makes her way to Rockton, a town deep in the Yukon wilderness.  She has heard it was established as a sanctuary for those forced by circumstances to leave their pasts behind, and she is determined to make a new life for herself.  She is successful in achieving that goal, and in addition meets her future husband, Eric Dalton, there.

However, things take a turn for the worse in Rockton, and Casey and Eric decide to form a new community in the Territory, one in which they will have control over who its residents will be.  They can do this because the majority of the funding comes from Casey’s family’s trust; the remaining amount comes from the family of the new community’s builder, Yolanda.

Now, even before its opening, Casey and Eric have been called to Haven’s Rock to investigate two missing members of Yolanda’s crew.  Although the first rule of the community is “stay out of the forest,” apparently Bruno, the town’s engineer, and Penny, the town’s architect, disregarded it.  Thus, immediately after their plane lands, Casey and Eric, along with their dog Storm, enter the woods and begin looking for the two missing members of the crew.

After a few minutes of following the trail that Yolanda reluctantly had constructed to keep the crew members from exploring the forest on their own and getting lost, Casey and Eric become aware that they’re not alone.  Eric leaves Casey and Storm to follow the unknown person, and Casey continues her search for Bruno and Penny.

Suddenly she realizes that Storm is no longer by her side.  She follows the sound of the dog’s whine and discovers her looking at a pile of branches and dead leaves.  As Casey walks closer to get a better look, she slips and falls into a deep pit.  Helped by the small amount of sun that is able to get through the debris, she’s able to see the back of a hand and the ring and wristwatch on it.  She thinks, “I’ve found Penny.”  In fact, the body is that of another woman, one Casey and Dalton weren’t aware was missing.  And Penny and Bruno remain missing.

Kelley Armstrong has written a fascinating follow-up to her Rockton books.  Murder at Haven’s Rock has an outstanding plot and completely believable characters that will make you (almost) want to visit the rugged Yukon and see the community for yourself.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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