Kelley Armstrong,
Women of the Otherworld #9: Living with the Dead
(Bantam, 2008)

Robyn has lead a fairly quiet life since her husband was tragically taken from her. She left her life in Pennsylvania for a new one in Los Angeles, concentrating mainly on her work playing PR consultant to a Paris Hilton wannabe. When that client is murdered, Robyn is the main suspect. You'd think that would be rock bottom for Robyn, but things just continue to get worse.

Hope, a half demon and tabloid reporter, is also in LA with her werewolf boyfriend, Karl. She came originally to spend time with her best friend, Robyn, but now she is determined to save her. Hope knows there are supernatural forces behind the bad luck Robyn is having, but Robyn isn't aware of that part of Hope or that part of the world. Trying to help find the real murderer is hard enough for Hope -- trying to keep her and Karl's supernatural secrets, too, makes it that much more difficult.

This book is seriously disturbing in areas. We are introduced to an incestuous inbred group of clairvoyants called the Kumpania. They have a creepy cult like thing going on and a bomb shelter filled with secrets that made me sad and made me shudder. Creepiness aside, the reader is treated to some favorite characters from past books in the series and is introduced to some promising new ones.

This story brings to light the misconceptions and prejudices supernaturals outside of the Council (the supernatural good guys) and the Cabal (a sort of magical mafia) have. The misconceptions and brainwashing against the Council and Cabal by the Kumpania (the creepy clairvoyants) is what peppers these pages with tragedy and leads to the chain of events that bring the Otherworld to the attention of Robyn.

The pace of this book is relentless, and there is so much going on that I felt like I needed to stop every now and then to catch my breath. The remarkable writing and storytelling that longtime fans have grown accustomed to continue in this ninth book. It's chaotic and exciting, thrilling and a little sad. When I closed this book I was left with the feeling that there is something big on the horizon; I can't wait to see what Kelley Armstrong comes up with next.

book review by
Cherise Everhard

2 February 2013

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