Every season in Rockton brings a fresh challenge for Detective Casey Butler. Between all the secretive residents, the sometimes-hostile settlers outside, and the surrounding wilderness, there’s always something to worry about.
While on a much needed camping vacation with her partner, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a tragic scene: a murdered woman buried under the snow with a baby still alive in her arms.
Casey has a murder to solve and a baby to care for. She also needs to find out where the infant belongs – and whether the child is better off where she is.
Early in bestseller Armstrong's emotionally charged fifth novel set in the Yukon (after 2019's Watcher in the Woods) Det. Casey Duncan and her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, are on vacation from their jobs in Rockton an off-grid sanctuary for those looking to disappear when they find a woman shot dead in the snow. Clutched to her chest is a newborn, dehydrated but alive. Casey and Dalton bring both to Rockton, where they determine that the victim isn't the child's birth mother. Rockton doesn't allow minors, but its sundry misfits agree to babysit while Casey and Dalton search for answers. Solving the murder should help identify the infant's biological family, but the duo must tread carefully; not all of Rockton's neighbors are good or sane, and the woman might have been warranted in taking the child. The tension rises as Casey and Dalton explore settlements about which Armstrong has previously only hinted, and they confront their own complicated feelings regarding parenthood. Fans of thrillers, small-town mysteries, and classic PI novels will be well pleased.