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A Stranger in Town: Rockton #6    by Kelley Armstrong order for
Stranger in Town
by Kelley Armstrong
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

A Stranger in Town follows Alone in the Wild as the sixth episode in Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series, which is set in an isolated Yukon community, developed as a (money-making) haven for people running from their pasts.

A mysterious Council runs Rockton, controlling its communication with the outside world. The series leads are Homicide Detective Casey Duncan, her lover, Rockton Sheriff Eric Dalton, and her dog Storm. Casey's autistic sister April (a physician and neuroscientist) joined them in a previous episode, and her comments continue to inject comic relief.

Previously, Casey learned that the savage and violent cult they call hostiles became that way because of a narcotic brew, which they force people they capture to drink and so, to become 'Humans that belong more in a badly researched prehistoric movie than in twenty-first-century reality.' This episode finally sheds some light on the development of the cult's ritual teas.

A Stranger in Town opens with the discovery of a badly injured woman, who appears to have been a 'tourist on a backwoods excursion.' She only speaks Danish. They give her medical care in their hospital and search for the rest of her party, but find only the dead - did hostiles do it? There are other attacks. Then, a Council elder flies in - Emilie who was one of Rockton's first inhabitants. What is her agenda?

After a Rockton hostage is taken, Casey and Eric head out to rescue her - and find answers. They do, but also must face the fact that the Council seems to be in the process of shutting down Rockton - what's next for all who live there and prefer to stay?

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