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Rockton/Casey Duncan #4

Watcher in the Woods

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In #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong's latest thriller, the town of Rockton—and her fans—are in for another hair-raising adventure.

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.

356 pages, Hardcover

First published February 5, 2019

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About the author

Kelley Armstrong

273 books30.8k followers
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,031 reviews
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,780 reviews14.2k followers
January 20, 2019
Rockton, a place of last resort, hidden deep in the Yukon territory. Such a multifaceted place, filled with people being given a second chance. In this fourth outing, Casey and Eric face another possible crisis, someone in town who is maybe more dangerous than previously thought. But who? And how did someone unexpected find their town? Also brings another newcomer, closely related to Casey.

Love this series, such a great blend of mystery and adventure. So enjoy the idea of this place, the mysteriousness of it and the mix of people that have been brought together. A great blending of a thriller, with some interesting character development. Find Matthias absolutely fascinating, and hope we see more of him in future outings.

For some reason this reminds me of one of a few TV shows I used to diligently watch. The series Lost, I think because of the atmosphere and never knowing where this is headed. A very enticing series.

ARC from Netgalley.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,707 reviews25k followers
November 15, 2018
Kelley Armstrong writes the 4th of this series set in the huge wilderness of the Yukon territory in Canada. It worked reasonably well as a standalone as this was my first dip into this series. It has an unusual premise of a highly secret town named Rockton, with little in the way of mod cons, like the internet and away from all signs of civilisation. Problems are virtually guaranteed, given the residents are criminals or victims fleeing and disappearing from society with their secrets in the hope of finding a refuge in Rockton. With so many rules, there is a police force of 3 police officers to enforce them. 32 year old Casey Duncan is the only detective, her boyfriend is Sheriff Dalton.

All efforts to escape detection are for nought when a stranger appears. He turns out to be a US Marshall claiming that a dangerous and violent criminal is in the town. Whilst doubting this, Casey and Dalton look into this. When the Marshall is shot dead, it suggests that he was correct, only there is far more to it as their investigation is to prove. Given the nature of Rockton, there are an unenviable high number of suspects for obvious reasons. Casey's estranged older sister, April, comes for a medical emergency, providing the opportunity for the two of them to address their differences. There are political machinations and intrigue with the disagreements that are emerging about the principles underlying Rockton and its purpose for the mission statement in the highly secret ruling Council, with members providing finance for the town. As the title of the book hints, there is a watcher in the woods.

Armstrong writes a riveting piece of crime fiction, with twists, and with plenty of depth in her descriptions and in her characterisation. The storylines are complex and gripping with a fantastic location. I found the novel entertaining and well plotted, and such a gripping read. Many thanks to St Martin's Press for an ARC.
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,071 reviews363 followers
January 17, 2019
Casey Duncan is back in this fourth installment of the Rockton saga – a series involving the secluded town and its people in the frozen Yukon of Canada.

Admittedly, Watcher in the Woods is part of my favorite series. It’s got a terrific cast of characters, all of whom are quite flawed or they wouldn’t be in the town of Rockton. Rockton, you see, is a secret, very secluded town for those who need to escape either because they are the worst in society or from the very worst in society. It makes for an eclectic and often frightening mix of personalities. In addition to the town’s people, you have a two group of renegades living (wandering/surviving) in the forest surrounding Rockton: those who are true survivalists who didn’t want to go back down south after their time in Rockton was finished and those who are simply too savage to live anywhere at all. They add an additional layer of worry and suspense to the story line.

Watcher in the Woods takes place approximately 2-3 weeks after the last book which means the characters are still reeling from a murder, a crazed woman whom they intimately trusted and a wounded man who is part of their patrol. They have been without a doctor in the town since the former doctor was killed and they desperately need to get medical help for their resident, Kenny. Secreting away in the night, Casey and the sheriff bring back help but they also bring back more than they bargain for as they are followed by a US Marshall looking for his bounty. He refuses to say who it is or why it is so important that he finds “his man” – or woman. When the Marshall is killed, it becomes imperative that Casey – the town’s only detective – discovers who the Marshall was after and why. More importantly, she has to find out how the Marshall was able to follow them and plug any leaks there might be regarding Rockton’s well kept secret location.

All of the Rockton tales are action packed and full of secrets, double backs and, yes, romance. That is what makes them so entertaining to read. This one, however, was a bit slow for me in the beginning and I suspect that it was because there was a great deal of minutia laid out for readers who might be joining here at book four rather than at the beginning. There was quite a bit of repetitiveness, who’s who, explanations about the town and how it works, which is fine if you are new to the series but by the fourth book in, it was a little tedious. Once that was past, the book was actually better than any of the previous stories. It was more complex, there was more action, an introduction of new characters, two of whom I suspect are going to be key in future books, and quite a few secrets revealed that led to some “aha” moments. All of this had me looking forward to the next book already and forgetting the tedium that had me skimming in the beginning.

If you haven’t read any of this series you should be able to read this one as a stand alone but I highly recommend that you begin at the start and work up to this one. There is a lot of back story and past history that will make it more interesting for you. Then you can join me in skimming over the mundane catch-up in this book but completely enjoying the majority of the rest. It IS a series that I highly recommend. It’s fun, entertaining, suspenseful and, generally, a quick read.

My thanks to #Netgalley, @StMartinsPress, @MinotaurBooks and Kelley Armstrong for my advanced copy of #WatcherintheWoods.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,168 reviews37.3k followers
June 14, 2020
Rockton is a town in the Yukon where people go to hide out. Criminals and Victims alike. It’s a sanctuary of sorts and it costs a pretty penny to get there.

Casey Duncan is Rockton’s Detective. She and Sheriff Eric Dalton make a pretty good team, personally and professionally. For once, things seem to have quieted down, that is until a US Marshal shows up demanding that they release a resident into his custody.

Once that happens all hell breaks loose. I’m talking murder & mayhem and for a place like Rockton that spells trouble. Trouble that Casey and Dalton simply can’t afford, not if they want to keep Rockton a secret.

“Watcher in the Woods” by Kelley Armstrong is a taut character driven mystery suspense which is filled with thrilling, tension filled moments. What I appreciate about this series is that Kelley Armstrong delves into the characters backstories stories, and here, we see the relationships between the characters continue to develop. At its heart, this series is about the characters, trying to survive under the most unconventional of places, where safety is of the utmost concern. Kudos to Ms. Armstrong for keeping it interesting and bringing both heart and suspense to a great series.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of the audiobook and thank you to Thérèse Plummer for being such a fabulous narrator!

Published on Goodreads on 6.13.20.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,244 followers
February 19, 2019
This series has an awesome concept: a town in the middle of the Yukon that is exclusively for victims of crime, witnesses, or others who need to be safe - like Witness Protection. But, well... nothing ever works out exactly to plan, does it? And, running a town in the middle of nowhere takes lots of money. So, yeah, maybe they also have a criminal or two that had enough money to buy their way in... or a serial killer or two. Like I said, nothing works out exactly to plan...

Casey is our hero and she is a detective that the town needed for their police force. It seems, strangely, that they have a crime problem. Weird, huh? Who could have anticipated that having an isolated town in the middle of nowhere with a shortage of females and a mixture of victims, crooks, and killers would have problems?

Casey ends up in a relationship during the first book, and I like them as a couple. It's like they are grown-ups or something. When there is a problem or hard feeling, they *gasp* talk it out and resolve it. It's almost like the author didn't realize that book couples are supposed to over-obsess and hide things from each other until it's a huge clusterfuck. A mature relationship in a book? It's almost unheard of!

Oh, come on! It's romantic for a old guy to sneak into the bedroom of a teenage girl to watch her sleep!

So, each book is basically a mystery and police procedural story in a very strange setting. You get to know many members of the town and the relationships are always growing and changing - which I like. This book has a murder as its beginning and solving that is the main storyline. In the background are a few other things, including the addition of Casey's sister. She was an interesting character, along with another new person.

The only thing that I would say I had a problem with was something weird, but it bothered me. I know, how untypical of me, huh?
Okay, so Casey can't sleep and wakes up in the early morning hours to go over her notes. She is sitting on the floor, reading, and her boyfriend comes downstairs to find her there wearing only her bra and panties. I'm like, wait what???
What kind of psycho girl would sit around alone only in her bra and panties as her "comfies"?? I know the author is female, but this sounds like something a male author would come up with.

Uh, yeah. That sounds like my usual morning routine...

Reality check? We women hate our bras! They are torture chambers that only serve to help us fight gravity or not take an eye out when we run. When we get home to relax? Those suckers are the first thing to be flung from our bodies. Sometimes, we don't even bother taking our shirt off first. The armhole trick works to get that instant relief.

Every female that sees this can immediately feel that sensation. Ahhhh....

Yeah, so the idea that any girl would sit around like this alone? Not buying it. I will buy that she was wearing his t-shirt and some pajama pants along with fuzzy socks and a ponytail. And, maybe a hoodie. Girls being comfy is more like this:

See? This I would believe.

Anyway, other than that, I liked the book. I am even looking forward to the next one because of the new characters.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,180 reviews211 followers
May 4, 2019
While this may qualify as a thriller, it is not a good one. Too many personalities and conflicts dampen and deluge this story like a thunderstorm. 3 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Carolyn (on vacation).
2,245 reviews642 followers
January 5, 2019
This is the first book I've read in this series but I'm definitely going to go back to the start of the series and see where it all began. And yes, it would have helped to have read them in order as there are references to prior events, but enough information was given to bring me up to speed and it didn't affect my ability to follow this episode.

Casey Duncan is a Detective, the only Detective, in the tiny town of Rockton in the Yukon. Rockton is a secret town, isolated and totally off the grid, where people pay to go to hide from their lives for a few years before starting a new life. Some of them are hiding from abusers or people who mean them harm and some of them may be criminals running from collapsed businesses and schemes or even people who've done prison time but need to vanish after their release to become anonymous. How Casey ended up in Rockton is the subject of earlier books but she has chosen to stay and be the town's only Detective. Part of the attraction for her is the town Sherriff, Eric Dalton, the man she loves and lives with and together they make a great team.

When Kenny, one of the residents of Rockton gets shot and the bullet lodges near his spine, Casey and Eric make a risky trip to Vancouver to try to enlist Casey's sister April, a neuroscientist and surgeon, and convince her to come to Rockton to operate on Kenny. Not long after they return with April they detect a stranger in the woods watching the town who declares himself to be a US Marshall with a warrant for one of the town residents. Refusing to tell them who, he unfortunately gets himself killed before they can find out. Now they not only have to hunt down the Marshall's killer and find out who he was looking for but also find out how he knew about Rockton and how to find it.

I enjoyed the setting of this book very much - the ruggedness and beauty of the Yukon. The characters are all flawed or fragile in some way, although many have hardened shells, so it makes them an interesting bunch to watch interacting. Casey and Eric are very much on their own solving the town's problems and many of their solutions are inventive and pragmatic rather than standard practice so it makes for an interesting read. There are red herrings and false leads as Casey and Eric try to find the culprit and prevent further deaths in this gritty thriller.

Profile Image for Maureen Carden.
284 reviews70 followers
January 30, 2019
Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters…
Caring, sharing…
But in tight places
We think and we act as one... uh-huh

These song lyrics from White Christmas are most definitely not written about Det. Casey Duncan and her sister Dr. April Duncan. Casey has a very problematic relationship with her genius sister. However Rockton needs Dr. April Duncan, so Casey and her lover/boss/best friend Sheriff Eric Dalton sneak April into Rockton to remove a bullet from the spine of a Rockton resident.
Let’s keep talking movies. Big strong lawman, either Wayne or Eastwood finds his way into town to arrest a serious criminal. In Watcher in the Woods the arrival of a Deputy U.S Marshall (DUSM), Mark Garcia, at the seemingly protected and extremely hidden Yukon town of Rockton is far more serious than the news of a dangerous criminal hiding out. After all, the entire town is made up of the wrongly convicted, or survivors hiding out from abusers and stalkers, and maybe a few white collar criminals who bought their way in. But sanctuary for serious criminals, nah, couldn’t happen. BWAHAHAHA.
The DUSM refuses to tell Casey and Eric who he has come to arrest and take back to the States; and even more worrisome, how he found Rockton, a supposed impossibility. When the DUSM Garcia is shot dead, Rockton’s problems just went from dreadful to dire, because sure enough this guy really was a Deputy U.S. Marshall. The killing of a U.S. lawman is an extremely serious event, a Federal agent even worse.
Garcia is incorrectly referred to as a U.S. Marshall. Marshall’s are high political appointments, one over each U.S. judicial district. The correct nomenclature for Garcia is Deputy U.S. Marshall. DUSM are the worker bees of the Marshall’s service.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Casey discovers that her perceptions of her parents, her life and her sister might be partially wrong and wouldn’t that be a kick in the backside. It’s touching to watch Casey make these realizations first with not a small amount of push back and chagrin, then with grace.
As much as I love Rockton; the fascinating stories, the splendor of Yukon's boreal forest, the terrifying hostiles that live outside of Rockton, it is the residents of Rockton I miss from book to book. Where else can you find a madam asked to treat someone “on the spectrum”, or a butcher to treat a sociopath, or even find an assassin/comic book illustrator?
Rockton gains some fascinating new residents, while losing a few. Some old relationships are partially mended, others are shattered.
Watcher in the Woods is a terrific, serious crime story, but it has some extremely amusing dialogue and situations; sometimes the same scene. Bear bowling, anyone?
Armstrong is revered for her various world-building series. Rockton might be the most normal; I think it might be the best.
One thing hasn’t changed. The rabbits. They are still waiting.
Thank to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,362 reviews338 followers
February 22, 2023
Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong
Rockton / Casey Duncan series #4. Begins where the last story left off. Thriller.
A U.S. Marshall shows up in Rockton, asking for a resident to be handed over, yet he won’t give a name or photo of the person he’s looking for. By the next morning, the Marshall is dead and Casey’s sister is one of the suspects. It’s up to Casey to follow the clues and weed through all the lies and hidden stories of the Rockton residents.

Twists and turns as Casey analyses clues, people and lies.
Storm is still a favorite.
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,818 reviews428 followers
August 16, 2023
The best part of this book was getting to know more about Casey through the addition of her sister as a character. Other than that, it was a good mystery and a great addition to the series, but my first non-5-star read of this series so far! Unfortunately, I did have to break this up into 2 reading sets due to not rechecking it out. Hence, my reading of it was a bit more spread out than I would have liked and perhaps added to the breaking up of the mystery as more than I wanted and made it feel like the investigation got a bit too lengthy.

I like that there is a new romance brewing, and it is interesting to learn a bit more about the council, but the main mystery fizzled out pretty early on for me, and then it was just a matter of going through the motions. Bastion is very intriguing as a character, and I am excited to see what comes next and what more we will learn about the council.

Anxiously awaiting Book #5, Alone in the Wild, and I hope there is much more to come.

4 Stars for me

My Take on the Rockton Series
#1 City of the Lost 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
#2 A Darkness Absolute 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
#3 This Fallen Prey 🌟🌟🌟🌟
#4 Watcher in the Woods 🌟🌟🌟🌟
#5 Alone in the Wild 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
#6 A Stranger in Town 🌟🌟🌟🌟
#7 The Deepest of Secrets 🌟🌟🌟
Profile Image for Heather.
217 reviews63 followers
September 20, 2019
This is a fun and entertaining series to read! I especially enjoy the vivid Yukon imagery and well developed characters. This one makes me want to travel to Dawson City, mine for some gold, enjoy the scenery and traipse about on the wooden sidewalks.

I wasn’t as engaged in the murder mystery depicted in this one, but welcome the introduction of Casey’s socially unique sister, the ever encroaching hostiles and of spooky Bastian. Looking forward to how it all comes out in the wash with these new characters in the next book.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,906 reviews852 followers
February 5, 2019
If you haven’t read the previous books being that this is the 4th installment there are bound to be spoilers here. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, you are definitely missing out! This series is riveting, suspenseful, and full of twists and turns! I always want to set aside a chunk of time so I can read each book straight through!

Watcher in the Woods
picks up right after the events of This Fallen Prey. Eric and Casey are desperately looking for a doctor to come up and treat and assess Kenny, determine if there’s any permanent damage from the shooting. The counsel, of course is being less than helpful so Eric and Casey decide to take matters into their own hands and enlist Casey’s sister for help, sneaking her in before the counsel knows. Casey and her sister, April have never been quite in sync growing up and the death of their parents didn’t help, so there’s a tension between them. Being together in Rockton forces Casey to look at their relationship, slowly realizing things may not have been as they seemed. April is brusque and different. I’m enjoying her character and eager for future developments.

With all this going a on a man claiming to be a US Marshall shows up to claim one of the Rockton residents. Casey and Eric wisely question the situation and from there things get dicey!

There are a few characters here that I continually love to hate, like Roy! That guy is a prick at best. I’m glad Casey basically kicked his ass in the last book. Unfortunately, he is more than a nuisance in this installment.

Jen as usual is annoying, and I’m not sure why Casey puts up with her or keeps her on as part of the militia. She’s more trouble than she’s worth, IMO. Could be a case of keeping the problem child close and occupied to avoid issues?

Interesting developments with Petra. We get answers after that shocking turn of events from the last book.

Phil doesn’t seem quite as bad as Val, the last representative of the mysterious, far away Rockton counsel. The jury is still out on him, though. I’m still stunned by Val’s actions in the last one!

We meet Sebastian, a new and interesting addition to the mix. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.

The Rockton series just keeps rocking, (lol!) and I LOVED this installment! As usual there were lots of twists and turns, and non-stop action. But the thing I love most about this series is the characters! Of course, Casey and Eric are my favorite, and I love how they reason out whatever mystery or conflict they face; smartly analyzing the situation and motivations of all involved. And they continue to present a strong, united front. Their romance continues to shine, and I’m glad none of the drama of this story comes from their relationship.

A copy was kindly provided by Minotaur Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,891 reviews
February 6, 2019
4.5/5 stars

Watcher in the Woods is the fourth book in the Rockton/Casey Duncan mystery/thriller series.

I love Kelley Armstrong and I absolutely adore this series. This book takes place approximately 2 weeks after book three.

The narrator is once again 32 year old detective Casey Duncan. These books take place in a small off the grid hidden town called Rockton (in the Yukon/North West of Canada).

Each of the books in this series have a self-contained mystery. But we get to see many of the same characters in all of the books. The title for this book was particularly fitting to me, as there is someone watching them from the woods.

My favorite people in this series are Casey and her boyfriend Sheriff Dalton. I love them so much!

I'm also completely obsessed with the hidden town of Rockton. I love how there are only 200 people in this town. I love that it is completely hidden from the rest of the world. And I love the forest that borders the town and all the trouble that occurs there.

The mystery in this particular book has to do with a US Marshal who is searching for a particular Rockton resident. Which resident was he after? Also is that same person after the Marshal? This mystery was really exciting and I really enjoyed this aspect of the story.

The author reminds us of what happened in the last book, which I appreciate. And we are introduced to a new special character. I really hope that this new person appears in the next book.

There were some amazing twists and turns in this book. And it all leads up to an amazing conclusion. I just love this series and can't wait for more of Rockton!

Thanks to netgalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read this book.
Profile Image for Fiona.
1,268 reviews230 followers
February 24, 2023
Watcher in the Woods is the latest entry in the Rockton series, and one of the best yet. While most of the books can be read alone, this and This Fallen Prey should definitely be read together; I wouldn't say they can't stand alone, but it would make for a pretty poor experience.

We begin where we left off - five or six situations that look like they're about to explode into chaos at any minute, a couple that already have, and it's Casey and Eric at the centre of it all trying to perform the world's most intense juggling act. By now, though, they've got most of the town behind them, and it's glorious to finally see Rockton really coming together to support the people who keep putting their life on the line in their service.

Speaking of, we're back in town for this one, and though there's a couple of excursions it's where most of the book takes place. That's a big plus for me - and the interactions between April and Casey were another. I do love the way Kelley Armstrong has handled people talking to each other in this series - it's so uncommon, and it's so welcome to see people just talking things out. And never fear, it's not some preachy "talking will heal the world" message - she's realistic about just what it can accomplish. But as the reader, it's just so nice to see plot that works without having to force your characters to isolate themselves from each other.

Another great book in the series that I hang out for between books. I don't know if we're nearing the end, but I certainly hope not, because I'll keep reading them as long as they keep coming.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,008 reviews377 followers
February 27, 2019
As always I love this little backwoods, backwards strange town and all it's crazy messed up residents. Another well done, well plotted and well developed mystery. I loved all the info we learn about not only more of the residents (and new ones too!) but about Casey, her family and of course, about the council. I can not wait for more! I seriously adore this series.
Profile Image for Monica.
537 reviews175 followers
March 1, 2019
Extremely solid read! There were a lot of characters and back stories to keep up with... but I enjoyed the fact I had to pay close attention. Otherwise I sometimes skim over the details!

This is a great read for those who enjoy thrillers and crime stories. I will definitely look for the earlier books set in Rockton.

Thanks to NetGalley for this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Brenda.
725 reviews146 followers
February 17, 2019
I really enjoy these trips to Rockton! What a crazy cast of characters, and it changes when someone must leave at the end of their contract, is kicked out by the Council, or dies. This keeps the series fresh; there’s always something new to learn. Some long-time residents appear in this book, but some backstory is missing. It would be wise to read this series from the beginning.

A neurosurgeon is snuck into Rockton because there is a patient who needs her skills. A U. S. Marshal shows up and is promptly dealt with, but how does he even know about Rockton? Their newest resident is an unknown factor. And we get to meet a member of the Council.

Casey and Sheriff Eric Duncan are juggling grenades and mostly handling them well. Things get very hectic with so many characters involved! The action is fast but easy to follow. Dialogue is natural and sometimes funny. I find it very interesting to see the relationships between the residents of Rockton and to learn about why they are there. Many are not who they seem to be.

I’m really looking forward to the next installment.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,899 reviews492 followers
February 19, 2019
A few months ago, I accidentally requested a review copy of this book, not realizing it is book 4 in a series. So I started back at book one and read my way to Watcher in the Woods. I'm very glad I did! Not only did it introduce me to a new-to-me author, but this series has quickly become one of my favorites!

Rockton is a town in the middle of nowhere in the Canadian wilderness. It's not on any map. The city is hidden from airplanes flying overhead. And there is no electricity, no internet, very few conveniences. No cell phones. The residents there are effectively cut off....completely off the grid. On purpose. People go to Rockton to disappear, and pay a lot of money for the privilege. The corporation that funds the town and its security team take the secrecy and safety of Rockton seriously. That's why Casey Duncan and her boyfriend (Rockton's sheriff) are completely shocked when a U.S. Marshall shows up demanding to take one of the residents. He's secretive about who he has come for and why. Before he can elaborate, the marshal is shot dead, leaving Casey wondering if one of their residents might be much more dangerous than they know.

The characters in this series are just awesome. They all have a past or a significant flaw, but they all work together to make Rockton function. The corporation that funds the town is constantly causing problems by sending problematic residents, hiding important information or putting their bottom line above the safety of the town. Add in some rather violent people who live in the forest surrounding the town, and there's always some thrilling action and danger in each book. This newest book in the series is my favorite so far. There is some interesting character development in Watcher in the Woods, plus lots of suspense and action. Loved it! I'm eagerly awaiting the next book! I'm especially loving the addition of the dog!

Kelley Armstrong is the author of several series including Darkest Powers, Women of the Otherworld, Cainsville and Darkness Rising. While I'm waiting for another Rockton book, I will start reading her other books! Witches, ghosts, necromancers, vampires....her other series offer a lot of dark paranormal action. I look forward to it!

Full stars for Watcher in the Woods.....I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed this latest visit to Rockton. I saw an "in development'' blurb on IMDb for a Rockton television mini-series....so excited!! Please, please, please make the series! And....DO IT RIGHT. Armstrong has created strong characters and awesome plots....no weird changes necessary. Stick with the source material....it will be a kick ass mini-series. ("In development" also means that the project could be cancelled, changed, indefinitely delayed.....but I hope this gets produced! I love this series!)

I recommend reading this series in order because of character development and background information. The books will make more sense to readers if read in order.

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from St. Martins Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,773 reviews573 followers
January 25, 2019
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

A town that seems not to exist. Citizens hiding from the rest of the world looking for a second chance at life… and murder. Kelley Armstrong’s WATCHER IN THE WOODS has all of the intensity of a wonderfully dark suspense. It also has three preceding books in a series that apparently MUST be read first!

Anti-heroes abound, iffy calls and actions are taken, but, to the clueless reader who accepted the invitation to review, unless you have background, it is not rehashed.

There was so much potential missed for me, so much reading enjoyment lost, but I can say, this is edgy and dark. For followers of the series from the beginning, you are surely in for a treat!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from St. Martin's Press!

Series: Casey Duncan Novels - Book 4
Publisher: Minotaur Books (February 5, 2019)
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Genre: Mystery | Suspense
Print Length: 368 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Erin.
3,091 reviews484 followers
February 10, 2019
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

First and foremost, I am a longtime fan of Kelley Armstrong and have read many of her book series and I will read her in the future, but I probably should have read the first three books in this series or at least book one. Fact is, I was completely lost as character after character seemed to run through the forest of this small town. I just couldn't keep my Paul's and Peter's straight. Rockton, a town where people with a past reside needed to be better understood So, I certainly would NOT recommend reading any of KA's books in this series in anything else than in order. Because the fact remains that Armstrong is the Canadian Queen of fast paced action. In summary, writing is great, characters are intriguing, setting is fascianating, but read the books in order.

Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,475 reviews1,891 followers
April 7, 2019
My least favourite of the series so far but that's only notable because of how good the first three are. I thought the beginning was strong, and I liked how it wrapped, but there was a lot of action in the middle that I just wasn't super invested in. But I'm hoping there's much more to come for Rockon because it's a fascinating concept for a series and full of excellent characters.

"Someone's in a very good mood. Had a productive afternoon, I take it?"
"Nope. Had such a fucking shitty and utterly pointless afternoon that the mere sight of you -- when when you're annoyed with me -- puts me into an exceptionally good mood."

Also, d'aw, the romance is so cute.
Profile Image for Marialyce (on our way to Venice).
2,038 reviews710 followers
January 26, 2019
Sometimes, I wish I could escape to the Yukon, to Rockton, a place where you are secluded, know nothing about the world's problems, and feel a sense of safety. Well, perhaps safety is not quite the proper word, if living in a town where most residents come from nefarious backgrounds and are there hiding out from those seeking to punish them, reside. For you see, Rockton houses those running from all sorts of goings on that would land them in jail, dead, or even worse. Even more sobering is the fact that there are many looking to deliver their just desserts to the residents.

We are back in Rockton once again in this third book of the series. Much has happened as it always does in this "quaint" little town. Our intrepid police are always prepared for any eventuality, but when a US Marshall finds the town, that is not on any map or GPS coordinate, something is wrong, very wrong. How did he find this town and who and what is he here for are some of the questions plaguing our police people, Casey and Dalton, want answers to. Adding to their woes, is Casey's brilliant yet quite different sister, April, brought by them to the town to perform surgery on one of the townspeople who had been shot in the back. April and Casey have had not much of a sisterly relationship so we expect sparks to fly between the sisters.

All comes to a very surprising halt when the marshal is shot and dies. Who did this? Since this town is the place where many a law breaker resides, it could be anyone. Now Casey and Dalton are on the hook to find exactly who the murderer is and how all of this is tied together.

I found this to be the best book of the series as Ms Armstrong seems to have fallen into a comfort zone with her characters. It's like she is writing about family and figuratively she is. I do recommend the entire series, but this book in particular is I feel the crowning jewel of the lot. An adventurous, gripping tale, making one truly like Casey and Dalton even more, this book is sure to make those who love adventure, murder, and mayhem quite happy to turn those pages.

Thank you to Kelly Armstrong, Minotaur Books and NetGally for a copy of this book.
This book is due to be published on February 5,2019
My reviews can also be seen here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...
Profile Image for Pat.
2,310 reviews428 followers
January 28, 2020
Nooooooooo. I’m now fully immersed in the world of Rockton, the hidden town in the wilds of the Yukon, and I have to wait for the next book 😩😩😩. Luckily it’s not a long wait but if the series doesn’t wrap up soon it will be a longer wait for any further books. Luckily it seems Armstrong is a prolific writer so it might not be so bad. It reminds me, a little bit, of Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series in that there is an isolated town, cut off from the rest of the world that needs to be self reliant and that is surrounded by danger on ‘the outside’. And that’s where the similarities end, but it’s a good premise that an author can do a lot with.

In this episode, following from the shooting in the previous book of one of the militia members who still has a bullet lodged near his spine, Casey (the town’s only real detective) and Eric Dalton (Sheriff of the three person police department) travel to civilisation to enlist the help of Casey’s sister who is a neurosurgeon. She reluctantly agrees to travel to Rockton to operate on Kenny and ends up having to stay longer than expected.

Meanwhile a US Marshall (apparently) turns up and says he needs to take in one of their residents. But he won’t tell them who he is after or why. How did he even find the place? Dalton and Casey are very uncomfortable about it all and try to work out who he might be after. Is he even a real Marshall or just a bounty hunter? If a Marshall, is he on official business? Before any of these questions can be answered he is shot dead and the small police department has its hands full keeping a lid on things and solving this and other murders.

There is a lot of running around the forest again and, strangely, I just loved that aspect of it. Suspects are found and discarded and new suspects identified and the pace was relentless. I have to hand it to Armstrong. These books have a large cast of characters, all with their own complicated back stories and she expertly juggles the balls and dribbles out the clues and you just cannot stop reading. This is a very addictive series that must be read in order but, if you commit to that, you will (probably) not be disappointed. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Karen  ⚜Mess⚜.
760 reviews52 followers
February 4, 2019
Mystery, murder and mayhem in the town of Rockton. Rockton is located in an area I like to call "The Misfit Territory". The people who come to live in this hidden town come to seek asylum from some sort of wrong doing. The isolation of Rockton tends to bring out quirkiness in people. The real crazies live out in the wilderness surrounding Rockton.

Eric and Casey are back, locking up the bad kids, patching boo boos, and putting bodies on ice. First, Casey must enlist her sister (a doctor) to come and remove a bullet from Kenny's back. Simple? Not if your feet touch Rockton soil. Queue in Dr. April Quirky (I'm liking this word).

Next, a Marshal shows up and now nap time is over for all our little quirkies. Casey shows us she's still pro at solving mysteries, and Eric is still menacing and sexy.

Watcher In The Woods picks up pretty much where This Fallen Prey ended. I can't help but feel this book is setting up for something big in the upcoming book. I love Kelley Armstrong's writing and her mystery building technique.

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book, so I could give an honest review.

Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,880 reviews1,644 followers
August 1, 2019
4.5 Stars

Rockton is a little known town in the Yukon area of Canada. Casey Duncan is the only female detective in a team of three. She's only lived there for a few months, but she's already seen more crime than anywhere else she's been.

A stranger appears in town claiming he is a US Marshall looking for one of their residents... but won't give her a name. She and her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, are highly suspicious of him and his claim, but when he's shot and killed, they start taking a closer look.

Since most of Rockton's residents are criminals or victims fleeing or disappearing from society looking for a safe refuge from all their secrets, the number of possible suspects are countless.

This may be closer to personal for Casey, as her sister is also a resident.

Although 4th in this unique story, it is easily read as a stand-alone. As usual, I highly recommend starting at the very beginning. The residents .. and their stories ... are well worth reading about. The characters are memorable. This one is a real page turner.

Many thanks to the author / St. Martin's Press - Minotaur Books / Netgalley for the digital copy of this distinctive crime fiction. Read and reviewed voluntarily, the opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,071 reviews2,631 followers
February 9, 2019
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/02/07/...

I don’t read as much mystery-thriller as I do sci-fi & fantasy, but this is one series I have been following religiously, and every book that comes out just makes me love it even more. Watcher in the Woods is the fourth installment that returns readers to Rockton, a secret town hidden in the wilds of the Yukon. Ex-homicide detective Casey Duncan and her boyfriend Sheriff Eric Dalton are doing their best to police this community of eclectic residents who share only one commonality—they���ve all come here to escape their pasts.

But somehow, despite repeated assurances from the council that everyone in town has been vetted and deemed not a threat, dangerous criminals seem to keep cropping up in their midst. Rockton has only just gotten rid of their last serial killer when it turns out there may be another high-risk fugitive hiding in town. Worse, a US Marshall has come a-knocking, demanding Eric and Casey release this individual, whom he won’t name, into his custody. But how did this US Marshall—if he is who he claims he is—manage to find Rockton, when all the security measures and precautions put in place were supposed to keep them off the grid? And who is he looking for?

Meanwhile, Casey also has her own secret she is trying to keep under wraps. Her good friend Kenny has been grievously wounded, and unfortunately, their town doesn’t have much in the way of medical care. Taking a great risk, Casey calls up her estranged sister April, who is a surgeon, and convinces her to fly in to operate on Kenny. But smuggling April into Rockton is sure to invoke the wrath of the council if they find out, and relations between the sisters aren’t exactly amicable after years of bitter resentment.

There was a lot going on in this book, and I loved it. Having found some of the plot twists in the previous volumes to be a tad on the predictable side, I was glad to see Kelley Armstrong back on form with her terrific plotting and strong sense of timing. It’s a testament to her skills that this is the fourth novel in a series that takes place in the middle of nowhere and features only a limited number of characters, yet she still manages to fill each book with enough suspects and motives to keep her readers on edge and guessing at every turn. With Watcher in the Wood, I felt like I was constantly being hit with new developments and surprises from all sides, but in the best way possible. Even more amazing was how it all came together so marvelously.

And speaking of the new elements introduced, I think my favorite one was the storyline involving April. Casey’s strained relationship with her sister has been a strong theme running through the series since the beginning, but only now are we seeing it so directly addressed and explored. While I thought it was a little unrealistic that it took only a town full of strangers a few days to diagnose and theorize a possible cause for the emotional conflict that has plagued the sisters all their lives, the whole episode still revealed an interesting side to Casey that we’ve never seen before. Of all the new characters Armstrong has brought in so far, April is the one I’m most excited about.

I also like that this series continues to focus its attention on the mystery and thrills, with the romance being served like a delicious sauce on the side. The author hasn’t stopped developing the relationship between Casey and Dalton, but they’ve settled into a comfortable and loving place for now, and I enjoy reading about them even more for it. I feel much the same way about the setting, which Armstrong also continues to build and expand. In this book, we get to learn more about life in the Yukon, and that includes a quick trip to the town of Dawson City. We also get more information about the inner workings of the council and glean clues that support the possibility of them being compromised, setting up potential storylines for future books.

In conclusion, Watcher in the Woods was another fantastic sequel in a series that has captured my attention in so many ways. Mystery, action, romance, and suspense—Rockton has it all. Once more, Kelley Armstrong has me waiting on pins and needles for the next book.

Audiobook Comments: This is a series I adore in audio, and the main reason for that is Therese Plummer, a narrator extraordinaire who has proven herself to be the perfect voice for Casey Duncan. She delivered an awesome performance as always, and I look forward to listening to her read again for the next book.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,794 reviews486 followers
February 12, 2019
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was really good. I have really enjoyed all of the previous books in this series so I was really eager to dive into this newest installment. This is the fourth book in the Rockton series which is a series that I think works best when read in order. This was an exciting story that I found hard to put down. I had a fantastic time with this story.

I love the basis of this series. A super secret city filled with criminals and other individuals in hiding definitely has its own unique set of problems and challenges. Over the course of the series, I feel like I have got to know some of the more colorful residents of this odd little community. Casey and Eric are a vital part of this community. Eric is the sheriff and has a lot of authority over all of the day to day decisions within the town. Casey was a detective before coming to Rockton and fills that role within the town.

I really like all of the dynamics between the characters in this series. Everyone has their roles to fill and I love how Casey is very aware of needing to let Eric take the lead on some things. The psychology behind the behavior of some of the residents is really quite interesting. I love how there is just a touch of romance with Casey and Eric's relationship but it doesn't overtake the story, only adds to it.

This was a rather exciting installment. A US Marshall shows up in Rockton intent on getting his hands on one of the residents which is a giant problem for both Eric and Casey. At the same time, they are worried about how someone found the town even though they just snuck in someone themselves. There were several mysteries happening at the same time and I was never quite sure how things would work out.

I do highly recommend this series to others. This is a series that I could really see myself picking up again just so I could watch everything play out a second time. I cannot wait to see what will happen next in the town of Rockton!

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press - Minotaur Books via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This was good. A lot of things that happened in earlier books from the series came into play in this installment. This time around Casey and Eric must deal with an outsider determined to get to one of their residents. There are several different mysteries going on and a lot of excitement to go with it. I can't wait to see what will happen in Rockton next!
February 13, 2020
4.5 Suspenseful Stars!!

In this forth book in the series a U.S. Marshall somehow makes his way into Rockton despite the secrecy of the remote isolated town. The Marshall reveals that a dangerous violent criminal is hiding in Rockton and he’s there to retrieve him. Casey and Dalton throw the Marshall out of town to protect the identities of the rest of the residents.

In a attempt to learn the identity of the fugitive Dalton and Casey go in search of the Marshall’s campsite in the surrounding woods but before they get any viable information the Marshall is murdered.....now it’s up to Dalton and Casey figure out if there is any truth to his story.

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I loved that we got to meet Casey’s sister and we learn more about their troubled relationship. There were also some surprising revelations about a few of the residents that brought more depth to those characters. Like all the prior books, the mystery and suspense keep me guessing throughout the book. I can’t wait for the next book!!!

*Narrated by super talented Thérèse Plummer who as always did a excellent job!
Profile Image for Terri  Wino.
691 reviews60 followers
February 13, 2019
3-1/2 stars rounded up to 4.

This book picks up only a few days after the events of the last one, but it jumps right back into action and suspense with a new murder and a gaggle of suspects.

It also brings Casey's sister April into the mix. She was a little difficult to take to at first, but some of her behavior has an interesting explanation that I hope is explored more in future books.

As with the previous books, this one throws a lot of people and possible motives and a bunch of information at the reader, and if you're not paying attention you can easily lose track of who is guilty of what.

One thing that has shown up in the past and has become abundantly clear in Watcher in the Woods is that no one is who they seem to be in Rockton and just about everyone is hiding even more than what they fled to Rockton for in the first place.

Good entry to the series, though not my favorite.
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