Book Review: Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite Canadian authors. I’m constantly amazed at her range of work as well as how many books and genres she has written across in her career. I especially love how with the Rockton series she sets it in the Yukon because the Territories are so beautiful and often forgotten even among Canadians. That being said, the fourth book in the Rockton series was definitely my least favourite.

When a U.S. Marshall is sent to Rockton to collect a dangerous person but can’t identify who the person in town is, Detective Casey Butler and Sheriff Eric Dalton become naturally suspicious. When the possible U.S. Marshall is killed it only makes Casey and Dalton’s situation worse as they try to find out who the mystery killer in Rockton could be, and Casey’s visiting sister April only complicates matters in the search for the killer.

I was happy that Watcher in the Woods introduced readers to Casey’s sister April in this book. After a lot of talk about April in the past three books it was nice to finally see the sisters interact with each other, and Armstrong does give a pretty interesting story between the two characters which I really enjoyed reading. The problem was that April seemed to constantly be pushed to the sidelines of the book, which is granted since the main plot of the story is about finding out who in Rockton killed a U.S. Marshall. But the other Rockton books seemed to balance Casey’s work and personal storylines a lot better than this book. I found myself more concerned with how April and Casey’s story was going to end than if Casey and Dalton were going to catch the murderer.

Which of course leads me to my main issue with this book, it seemed too rushed. The third book in the series, This Fallen Prey, ended so strongly and ended with a lot of threats to Rockton’s exposure as well as the town itself. But little of the last book was mentioned in this one, same with the threats. There were some talks of the town council acting strange and some plot points were explained though they seemed to quick and cleanly explained for my taste.

Casey and Dalton’s relationship also seemed weirdly distant though nothing was written any differently. Their relationship just felt flatter than usual, and I wasn’t as interested them as a couple as I was in the previous books (also I forgot how annoying it is that Casey refers to Dalton as her lover multiple times).

The only thing I can figure is that Watcher in the Woods is the calm before the storm and that the next book will reel me in like all the others. Even though this book felt like a dud to me, I still can’t wait to read more about Rockton.

Publication: February 5th 2019
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 356 pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
My Rating: ⛤⛤.2
Summary:

The secret town of Rockton has seen some rocky times lately; understandable considering its mix of criminals and victims fleeing society for refuge within its Yukon borders. Casey Duncan, the town’s only detective on a police force of three, has already faced murder, arson and falling in love in less than the year that she’s lived there. Yet even she didn’t think it would be possible for an outsider to find and cause trouble in the town she’s come to call home.
When a US Marshal shows up in town demanding the release of one of the residents, Casey and her boyfriend, Sheriff Dalton, are skeptical. And yet only hours later, the marshal is shot dead and the only visible suspects are the townspeople and her estranged sister, in town for just the weekend. It’s up to Casey to figure out who murdered the marshal, and why they would kill to keep him quiet.

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