Thursday, July 20, 2023

Review: Murder at Haven's Rock by Kelley Armstrong

by Kelley Armstrong
Release Date: February 21, 2023
2023 Minotaur Books
Kindle Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250865410
Audiobook: B09YJ39RL4
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Deep in the Yukon wilderness, a town is being built. A place for people to disappear, a fresh start from a life on the run. There’s only one rule in Haven’s Rock: stay out of the forest. When two of the town's construction crew members break it and go missing, Casey and Eric are called in ahead of schedule to track them down. When a body is discovered, well hidden with evidence of foul play, Casey and Eric must find out what happened to the dead woman, and locate the still missing man. The woman stumbled upon something she wasn’t supposed to see, and the longer Casey and Eric don’t know what happened, the more danger everyone is in.
My Thoughts
Murder at Haven's Rock is the first book in the series and one I am so glad to read as I was upset upon learning the 'Rockton' series was ending.  This series sets our favourite people on a new path, onto new adventures, deeper into the Yukon wilderness, and this book does not disappoint. The town is not even built, but Casey and Eric are called to discover the whereabouts of a missing woman hired as part of the construction crew and discover much more than they expected.
This was an interesting book as the town has yet to be functional, but people being people, it was inevitable that drama would happen right from the get-go.  As always, I enjoy the banter between Casey and Eric and have enjoyed watching their relationship develop and grow.  It was nice to see new characters in this book and I spent the time trying to figure out how they were going to fit in this new environment, something I enjoyed. I may sound cryptic here, but I don't want to mention any of the characters as I think it is better if you go in without knowing anything or anyone, as I did, and just enjoy the ride. I am happy that some of the characters from the 'Rockton' series will be returning for this series, and look forward to seeing how the new and the old will interact.  There should be some interesting times ahead.  I was also happy that April was in this book as I love her character. I really feel the author has done a great job depicting a character with functioning autism.
The plot was far more complex than I thought it would be originally. There was one main rule, don't go in the forest, and naturally, that rule got broken.  The Yukon is a beautiful place, and I enjoyed the setting, but it can also be extremely dangerous, not just weather-wise. There are a lot of predators roaming those woods and a lot of nefarious goings-on, some of which is hinted at in this book.  The action moves fairly quickly and as soon as something happens, something else happens.  I actually needed to stop and process once in a while just to take in what I learning.  It is a whole new world our characters are entering, with different rules and expectations, much rougher even than what they are used to, and I think Casey and Eric are going to have to tread very carefully.
Murder at Haven's Rock introduced some new characters and a brand new setting. This book was a lot of fun to read and I thought the plot moved along rather quickly, although it was more complex than I thought it would be at first, introducing some possible future conflicts, even if this one had a more than satisfactory resolution.  Even though the town is half-finished, Casey and Eric learn there are already people who will shortly be arriving due to their emergency situations, setting up some interesting scenarios.  But there is just something about those woods, that call to enter despite being told they are forbidden. I, for one, would have broken that rule as well.   Even though this is a spinoff series, it felt fresh with a mix of new and old characters, and interesting twists and turns. I am looking forward to the next book.