A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

A Darkness Absolute

The follow-up to #1 NYT bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s acclaimed City of the Lost, Rockton town detective Casey Duncan makes a terrible—and dangerous—discovery in the woods outside of town.When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past...

Title:A Darkness Absolute
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Edition Language:English

A Darkness Absolute Reviews

  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads

    Last year I read CITY OF THE LOST more out of duty than expectation of loving it. Armstrong writes

    of my favorite urban fantasy series and has been an auto-buy author for over a decade, but I had limited success with her last mystery series (NADIA STAFFORD), so I was prepared to feel pretty MEH about it . . .

    In CITY OF THE LOST, we learned about Casey's inner darkness. In A DARKNESS ABSOLUTE, we watch as she begins to come to terms with it. Once again, s

    Last year I read CITY OF THE LOST more out of duty than expectation of loving it. Armstrong writes

    of my favorite urban fantasy series and has been an auto-buy author for over a decade, but I had limited success with her last mystery series (NADIA STAFFORD), so I was prepared to feel pretty MEH about it . . .

    In CITY OF THE LOST, we learned about Casey's inner darkness. In A DARKNESS ABSOLUTE, we watch as she begins to come to terms with it. Once again, she finds herself in a cave with Anders, completely devoid of light, and once again, it makes her introspective:

    And if Anders can be both darkness and light, perhaps she can as well.

    But there's more to this follow-up than self-discovery. There's also another creeptastic mystery to solve. *shudders*

    I'd thought Armstrong had hit the ceiling of creepy with her potentially cannibalistic mountain people, but she destroys her previous record when Casey finds the remains of two women shoved into a crevice of the aforementioned cave . . . In addition to the still living woman . . . A woman who had disappeared from Rockton over a year ago . . . A woman thought to be dead, b/c a woman of her general description had been found WEARING HER CLOTHES after the spring thaw . . .

    I won't detail the horrors Nicole Chavez endured while held captive in that cave, but there are few reasons a man would do such a thing, so if that type of scenario is unacceptable to you when picking out your next read, you have been warned.

    That being said, Armstrong doesn't give too much detail either. She doesn't need to, so she doesn't, and I appreciated the deft handling of such a horrific reality.

    B/c it is horrific. And an almost palpable dread seeps from the pages into the reader when Casey becomes the mystery man's new target. *shudders violently*

    BUT.

    (Thankfully) A DARKNESS ABSOLUTE isn't all horror and dread.

    Eric and Casey provide blessed relief from the mounting tension as they stumble haplessly through the the early dance steps of a new relationship, neither of them having much experience with such things. I compared Eric to Clay Danvers in my review of CITY OF THE LOST, and the comparison remains apt. In his entirely human way, he is as devoted to Casey as Clay is to Elena, and his fumbles are equally adorable.

    A DARKNESS ABSOLUTE is the second installment of Kelley Armstrong's CASEY DUNCAN series, and it's the best book I've read . . . in ages. I'm not content to say, "this year," b/c it's too early for that to hold much weight, and it's a truly stellar book. Casey's experience may be one I can't personally relate too, but her struggles and doubts resonate in a

    personal way, and the horrors of the mystery she must solve are tempered by the growing relationships with the residents of her new home. I cannot recommend this series more highly. Read it, read it NOW.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Well, I still enjoyed this one, but it was nowhere near as good as the first book.

    A Darkness Absolute is the follow-up to the brilliant City of the Lost, continuing Kelley Armstrong’s new mystery suspense series starring an ex-homicide detective named Casey Duncan. Months have passed since Casey first came to Rockton, a secret community nestled in the remote wilds of the Yukon. People come to this town to escape their pa

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Well, I still enjoyed this one, but it was nowhere near as good as the first book.

    A Darkness Absolute is the follow-up to the brilliant City of the Lost, continuing Kelley Armstrong’s new mystery suspense series starring an ex-homicide detective named Casey Duncan. Months have passed since Casey first came to Rockton, a secret community nestled in the remote wilds of the Yukon. People come to this town to escape their past lives, expecting a safe haven, but the reality is much more sinister. As we saw in the previous book, not everyone in Rockton is who they say they are.

    Now our heroine is on the case again, partnered with her new boyfriend, Rockton’s Sheriff Eric Dalton. Winter has arrived with a vengeance, driving some of the townspeople stir-crazy with cabin fever. One night while Dalton is away on a supply run, one of these listless residents decide to do a runner in the middle of a snow storm, leaving Casey and Deputy Will Anders with no choice but to follow in an attempt at search and rescue. While taking shelter in a nearby cave system, they are shocked when they discover a terrified and malnourished woman trapped in a hole. They are even more horrified when they find out her identity—a former Rockton resident named Nicole, who has been missing for more than a year. This whole time she had been held captive in these caves by an unknown assailant, being subjected to unspeakable acts of abuse.

    The mystery deepens further when Casey returns to the cave system to look for clues about the perpetrator, but instead finds the remains of two other women. Rockton’s worst fears are confirmed: there’s another killer on the loose. It’s not clear yet whether the one they’re hunting for is a resident or an outsider, but now that Nicole has been rescued, Casey and Dalton must solve the case before the killer can target another victim.

    City of the Lost was my first book by Kelley Armstrong, and I fell instantly in love—with the story, the characters, the setting…with ALL OF IT. It made me excited for the sequel, hoping for the same kind of magic, but unfortunately it just wasn’t there. Don’t get me wrong, because A Darkness Absolute still ended up being a good read, but compared to the first book, something definitely felt lacking.

    So, what went wrong? It was likely a bunch of little issues compounded together, but if I had to point my finger at one thing, it was the story’s predictability. I guessed the perp even before the halfway point, and so the rest was watching Casey, Dalton, and Will run around in circles following leads that I knew would go nowhere. Turns out, reading a book like this can feel really tedious. Worse, when looking at the plot from this point of view, the repeated failures only made Casey and her team seem more incompetent. I also thought the mystery lacked imagination, at least when compared to City of the Lost. Sure, Armstrong threw out some red herrings and a few other distractions to try and complicate things, but I was able to sniff them out from a mile away.

    Obviously, your experience with this book may differ. After all, I probably stumbled upon the answers by pure chance, especially when I’m usually terrible at figuring out who the killer is in all these other whodunits. Taking out the mystery, there’s still a lot to like about this novel, not least of which are the characters and the exquisite atmosphere of the Yukon. A town like Rockton is the perfect setting for a psychological suspense mystery like this, where the isolation only heightens the tensions and the sense of foreboding. Add to that, every resident in town is an unknown factor, since no one likes to share anything about their past. There’s also no fancy forensic equipment or technology in Rockton, so Casey and Dalton have to do their jobs the old-fashioned way. And speaking of them, I continue to enjoy their relationship. The author has dialed back on the romance big time, or at least struck a better balance so that the drama was spread out and not dumped on us all at once like in the first book.

    A Darkness Absolute is also…well, dark. It can be difficult to read these books. People find themselves in Rockton for many reasons, but a lot of them end up there because they are the survivors of violence or abuse, and disappearing into the northern woods is their only chance of escape. We are exposed to a lot of their stories, many of which are troubling or unhappy. It only gets worse with a deranged killer on the loose, and many of the descriptions of what happened to Nicole and the other women can be downright disturbing and chilling.

    Bottom line, A Darkness Absolute was a good, if sometimes frustrating, read. I personally found the story way too predictable for the book to be a satisfying mystery, but I still love the series’ world and characters. I’m not about to give up on Casey Duncan, and I look forward to the next installment.

  • Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)

    This review can also be found at

    .

    I enjoyed this one a lot. It started with a bang and maintained a high level of excitement throughout the story. This is the second book in the Casey Duncan series and I do recommend reading them in order since the events of the first book do play a role in this installment. This book really kept me guessing right up until the very end. I had a lot of fun reading this story and found that I never wanted to put it down.

    I love the setting of th

    This review can also be found at

    .

    I enjoyed this one a lot. It started with a bang and maintained a high level of excitement throughout the story. This is the second book in the Casey Duncan series and I do recommend reading them in order since the events of the first book do play a role in this installment. This book really kept me guessing right up until the very end. I had a lot of fun reading this story and found that I never wanted to put it down.

    I love the setting of this story because it is so different than the average mystery. Rockton is such an interesting little town. The residents of Rockton are such interesting characters and each one really adds something to the story. I like the fact that everyone has their own story and it is usually different that what you would expect. The little group of misfits that call Rockton home have really come together to form a community and it adds a nice tone to the story.

    Casey and Will find a woman being held captive in a hole inside a cave as they take shelter during a snowstorm. They are able to save the woman but the identity of her abductor remains a mystery. Saving the woman is just the start of a very involved case that will put Casey and others in danger before everything is over.

    The characters in this book were great. Casey is very smart and has really committed herself to the town. She is really starting to believe that she belongs and wants to keep everyone safe. Dalton is dealing with his feelings towards Casey in addition to keeping the town's residents secure. Being in a relationship is rather new for Dalton and he is still trying to figure things out. I really like Casey and Dalton as as couple and I do appreciate the fact that their relationship does not overpower the mystery element of the story.

    I would recommend this book to fans of mystery thrillers. This story contains a complex mystery that had me turning pages as fast as I could. There are quite a few twists and turns to keep things really interesting. I can't wait to read more of this exciting series.

    I enjoyed this one. I like the cast of misfit characters and the strange little town they call home. The mystery kept me guessing until the end.

  • ♥Rachel♥

    I love the setting and premise of this series! If you’re a fan of a well-plotted mystery with plenty of suspense, twists and turns, and multi-dimensional characters, (a detective without a self-destructive streak, thankfully!) the Casey Duncan series is for you.

    Rockton is a refuge city for those on the run. A city off the grid and under the radar, perfect for any trying to escape a whole range of situations: a stalker, abusive partner, or punishment from a crime. Applicants are vetted

    I love the setting and premise of this series! If you’re a fan of a well-plotted mystery with plenty of suspense, twists and turns, and multi-dimensional characters, (a detective without a self-destructive streak, thankfully!) the Casey Duncan series is for you.

    Rockton is a refuge city for those on the run. A city off the grid and under the radar, perfect for any trying to escape a whole range of situations: a stalker, abusive partner, or punishment from a crime. Applicants are vetted for violence risk, meaning someone who poses a threat to others will not be admitted. Well, that’s the theory, anyhow. In book one,

    , Casey and Eric found some exceptions that cost the town dearly. Are there more to be uncovered?

    Casey is very smart and insightful, considering the motivations of everyone she deals with, helping her manage the residents in Rockton, as well as track down a particularly clever killer.

    I was on edge so many times sensing danger, worrying that something terrible would happen to Casey! Kelley Armstrong did a wonderful job setting the stage for one nail-biting tale! The crime was disturbing, because it’s so very similar to the horrifying things we hear in real life.

    I love the romance between Eric and Casey! They’re in the new stages, smitten, and at times vulnerable wondering just how much this relationship means to the other.

    Just when I think Diana

    Jen is just awful. She was in book one and things haven’t changed. That’s how she goes about getting a job?!

    Just like the first book, the current mystery is solved, albeit in a chilling way, but I’d say the punishment fits the crime! I can’t wait for the next mystery! If you haven’t read the first book,

    , I’d highly recommend starting with that one first.

    Therese Plummer, one of my all-time favorite narrators, is fantastic, as usual. She makes any book even better with her performance.

    This review is also posted at

  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    I was hooked on this series after reading the first book and was so eager to get my hands on this and start it right away. By the time I had finished the last page, I knew that I had come across a series that was every bit as unique and original and well written as they get.

    Once again Armstrong has managed to write something that stands out and demands to be taken notice of. With characters that are every bit as dangerous and disarming and they are charming and endearing.

    There is something so b

    I was hooked on this series after reading the first book and was so eager to get my hands on this and start it right away. By the time I had finished the last page, I knew that I had come across a series that was every bit as unique and original and well written as they get.

    Once again Armstrong has managed to write something that stands out and demands to be taken notice of. With characters that are every bit as dangerous and disarming and they are charming and endearing.

    There is something so backwards yet fascinating about the town they live in. The rules they abide by and of course the people who are chosen to live there.

    This series, in a word is addicting. I have a hard time putting it down each time I pick it up and was left feeling almost bereft when I was pulled away from it and had to wait hours before I could pick it up again.

    I am was truly like an addict waiting for their next hit. Itching to open the pages again and immerse myself once again in the crazy town of Rockton and all that happens there.

    With a romance that light enough to not over shadow the true heart and mystery of the story but present enough to warm your toes and melt your heart, this series really does have a bit of it all.

    I am so sad I will have a long wait until the next book comes out, I wanted this story, these characters to last forever and will be on pins and needles waiting for the next one.

    *ARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Yodamom

    The narration was off for me on this one. I had a problem with the immature quality of some of the voices of the characters. I wish I would have read it instead. It was an interesting story with some very off beat entertaining moments but the reading didn't work this time

  • Maureen Carden

    Rockton is a rumor. A maybe place if you are in trouble. If you are in deep trouble but lucky, you find it is more than a rumor, that it is a small town totally off the grid in the harsh environs of the Yukon. A town originally meant for someone fleeing an abusive spouse, a stalker, someone wrongly accused or convicted of a non-violent crime. Later Rockton changes, with maybe a hit man, murderer, or a sex offender; but always someone who pays very well inserted into town and past Sheriff Eric Da

    Rockton is a rumor. A maybe place if you are in trouble. If you are in deep trouble but lucky, you find it is more than a rumor, that it is a small town totally off the grid in the harsh environs of the Yukon. A town originally meant for someone fleeing an abusive spouse, a stalker, someone wrongly accused or convicted of a non-violent crime. Later Rockton changes, with maybe a hit man, murderer, or a sex offender; but always someone who pays very well inserted into town and past Sheriff Eric Dalton and his small department. But eventually Dalton will find out the true crime behind the false entry crime.

    Eric is a dictator, answering only to the off-site council. He has to be to keep the residents safe. If you go into the forest you are put on wood chopping detail. If you go stir crazy and run, you are hunted down and returned. It's too dangerous in the forest. There are settlers, mostly former residents or their descendants who live off the grid and are neither friendly nor welcoming. Then there are the hostiles. Considered to be more animal than human, no one knows what they really are. But most of all the forest itself is dangerous. Not trying to kill you, just not caring about you.

    While Eric has flown south on a supply run, one of the residents makes a run for it. Detective Casey Duncan and Deputy Will Anders decide to go after him. After a blizzard hits, they take shelter in a cave where they make the nightmarish yet welcome discovery of a young woman who has spent the last year as a prisoner in a hole in the cave. This woman had been termed a runner. After an extensive search and with convincing evidence of her death turning up, the woman had been declared dead.

    The remains of found of two more women missing from years ago are found and Rockton is turned upside down with fear. Tentative contacts with wary settlers, harsh weather, and an outside ruling council hinder investigations. No one can face the idea of contact with a hostile. Except for a resident who would like one "to study".

    Once again I was sucked into this lost town although I might not want to move to Rockton as I wish to do with Louise Penny's Three Pines. Armstrong has created a world that is both compelling and unsettling. The characters, including the minor characters are fascinating, each with their own story to hide. The romance between Eric and Casey is sweet, watching two loners navigate the perils of a true relationship. This is a stellar follow up to City of the Lost. It will be a long wait until the third book comes out.

  • Diane S ☔

    Yukon territory, a vast frontier, the perfect place to hide a village, a place where people who are in danger in the outside world can escape. This is where Casey and her friend Diana, an abused wife, were allowed to come, their lives in danger, a place where they could be safe. But is anyplace absolutely safe? Run by a committee on the outside, a committee that is supposed to weed out those who are violent or a threat, but do they?

    Second in this intriguing series, a place out of time, no cell p

    Yukon territory, a vast frontier, the perfect place to hide a village, a place where people who are in danger in the outside world can escape. This is where Casey and her friend Diana, an abused wife, were allowed to come, their lives in danger, a place where they could be safe. But is anyplace absolutely safe? Run by a committee on the outside, a committee that is supposed to weed out those who are violent or a threat, but do they?

    Second in this intriguing series, a place out of time, no cell phones, not investigative tools other than those that can be seen, no formal lab, yet crimes must be detected, solved. When a young woman, thought dead, is found held prisoner in a cave, Casey and Eric must investigate, attempt to find the person who is capable of this kind of maliciousness. There are settlements, those whom after the five years allowed, did not want to leave and set off on their own, formed their own settlements. Then there are the hostiles, little more than animals and of course there are the actual animals, jaguars, etc. A dangerous place, why everyone in the town is encouraged to not wander outside of it, unless accompanied.

    The characters and their back stories, why they are here are slowly being revealed in each consecutive book. Interesting to say the least, but the best part of this series, what Armstrong does masterfully is the pacing, it is fast throughout, not a page where I was bored, wanting to prod the story on, there is literally no down time. Good stuff with this series.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Mackey St

    is the follow up thriller to City of the Lost by

    . Both books are set in the fictional, off the grid village of Rockton in the middle of the Yukon, Canada. It's a refuge, a secret place for those people who desperately need a place to hide, a place of protection or for those who can buy their way in and avoid prosecution from the law. It's an interesting group of characters in this town. And it's an interesting group of three law enforcement officers, includin

    is the follow up thriller to City of the Lost by

    . Both books are set in the fictional, off the grid village of Rockton in the middle of the Yukon, Canada. It's a refuge, a secret place for those people who desperately need a place to hide, a place of protection or for those who can buy their way in and avoid prosecution from the law. It's an interesting group of characters in this town. And it's an interesting group of three law enforcement officers, including the MC Casey Butler who is a former homicide detective with a past of her own.

    In this second installment Casey is more comfortable in her role as Detective. There is less introduction to the people in the town, which I know was necessary in the first book but it was nice to move past that, and the mystery itself is the focal point of the story. I actually enjoyed this book more than the first. That is the sign of a well seasoned author and I appreciate that about Kelley Armstrong and her series.

    It's not "heavy reading," but it is well written and if you enjoy a good mystery with action then you will like this series. I do think it's important to read the books in order. They are written in installments and you will be rather confused if you don't.

  • Jilly

    Awesome fun! If you liked the first one, you will love this. If you haven't read the first one, you really should.


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