Sunday 6 February 2022

Book Club highlights on a bright, sunny Sunday...

It’s earlier than my usual blogging time this morning, as I was awake a couple of hours earlier, so if I sound a bit groggy or half-asleep today, that’s my excuse!  I better get drinking my steeped tea to wake myself up!

My Volunteer book club met virtually yesterday morning to discuss Canadian author Kelley Armstrong’s novel City of the Lost, the first book in the “Rockton” series.  Here is my description of the setting from last year:

“All of the books are set in the town of Rockton, located in a remote northern region of the Yukon, but you won’t find it on any map; this off-the-grid town is populated by about 200 people, all adults, who are fleeing something, a murderous ex-lover, or a gang out for blood.  But not all residents are innocent victims; some are fleeing the law or retribution for crimes committed in their past lives, details concealed by the council and provided only on a need-to-know basis.  Homicide detective Casey Butler ended up in Rockton initially to help her friend who was fleeing an abusive ex-boyfriend, but she has demons of her own that would be better left un-faced.  There she meets Sheriff Eric Dalton and Deputy Will Anders, along with the motley crew that make up the town, and she struggles to accept the fact that no one is who they say they are, so no one can be trusted and nothing is really as it seems.  Still, she manages to settle in and become comfortable enough to call this place “home”, at least for now, something she’s been unable to do for years… Part wild west story, part wilderness survival tale, and a big part murder mystery... Armstrong manages to blend all of these various genres in exciting and all-too-convincing ways that will make you, the reader, care deeply about some characters and want to find out more about others.  I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys complex mysteries, especially those that take place in unusual settings.”

In this first book, one resident is dead and another disappeared months ago, and while Sheriff Dalton doesn’t want to admit it, he needs the help of an experienced trained detective; fortunately Casey Butler fits the bill.  They have different styles of investigating, which makes for many challenging moments, but as more bodies turn up, they must find a way to work together to stop this madness before others are killed.  I love this series, and two of my friends who are also avid readers started this series upon my recommendation and binge-read them all, so I thought maybe some of my book club members would also want to read more.  Alas, this was not the case.  They all thought it was a well-written, complex and interesting mystery, but I think the main complaint was that it was too violent.  I warned them that the other books were just as brutal, so I think most of them will not read any more.  We discussed the themes of friendship and loyalty, the relationships between the various townspeople, Eric’s complicated family situation, and the interesting way Armstrong managed to make us suspect just about everyone of being the murderer.  One member wants to know how Casey’s complicated relationship with her friend Diana turns out, and another wants to listen to this as an audiobook when the library purchases it, as she doesn't read many physical books and her library copy had small, faded print, making it difficult to read.  I don’t know if I planned this when I added it to the list, but Armstrong’s latest “Rockton” book, The Deepest of Secrets, comes out this month and I can’t wait to read it.  It was interesting for me to reread this first book and pick up on the hints and clues as to where this series might be going, which direction it might be headed.  I think Armstrong is an amazingly talented writer who can pull off just about anything seemingly seamlessly.  If you enjoy mysteries but want to try something different, I think that this series is the one for you.

That’s all for today.  Get outside and enjoy the sunshine and milder temperatures!

Bye for now…

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