A Darkness Absolute (Rockton, #2)
by Kelley Armstrong

I started off with Armstrong in her early UF career with the werewolves of Bitten, so was reluctant to start her Thriller (no paranormal elements) Rockton series, but wow, this second installment blew me away just as much as #1 City of the Lost.

Casey is still in Rockton, a hidden town deep within the frozen Yukon wilderness populated solely by people running away from their pasts. It is run with a cranky, iron fist by Sheriff Eric Dalton, with whom, Casey has made her own peace both as his deputy and in a more personal nature.

Armstrong can write strong women. Casey is so awesome because she’s confident, can arm-lock bigger men with aikido, understands the inner psychological workings of both tormented men like Sheriff Dalton and Hannibal Lector like psychos like the Rockton town butcher, and because she’s still angsty about female friendships and loves tequila. So even when EVERY person tells Casey in this book that “she’s interesting” in a Mary Sue like way…I can forgive Armstrong because Casey REALLY is interesting.

This is a Thriller, and Armstrong takes us for a thrilling ride from the very start and doesn’t let up at all! Casey must survive snow storms, possible attacks from crazy settlers, small town politics, a kidnapper, etc. etc. all while trying to figure out who is kidnapping women from Rockton who venture out into the wilderness alone. And she also has to figure out the new dynamics of her relationship with Sheriff Dalton, as they both are lone wolves by nature. (seriously, some of the best parts are when Armstrong has Casey misinterpret Dalton’s glances and hesitations)

This is such an exciting and sickly fascinating fun adventure both into wilderness living and the brokenness of human psyches. But its not for the faint of heart. There is deep emotional trauma referenced here by survivors of sexual assault and violence.