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Bestseller Armstrong's newest will be greeted with warm enthusiasm by fans awaiting the return of the half-demon Hope Adams and her werewolf boyfriend, Karl Marsten. Hope's friend Robyn is mourning the recent murder of her good Samaritan husband, Damon, and trying to tolerate her job as a PR representative for Portia Kane, a tabloid celebutante. But when Portia is shot and Robyn becomes the prime suspect, she flees, only to find herself inexplicably in the middle of the supernatural world Hope has been trying to shield her from. Stalked by a psychopathic clairvoyant and tracked by the cop, John Findley, who happens to see dead people, Robyn is way out of her league. Armstrong's newest is definitely more accessible as a stand-alone than her previous ones, but still, without having read the rest of the series, it's a bit confusing. The characters are great: Adele is a very disturbing villain and Robyn's grief over the loss of her husband is touching. The conclusion, however, is less than satisfying, clearly setting up the next entry in the series. New readers would do better starting off with earlier books. (Oct. 28)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Armstrong makes a strong return, and fans of Personal Demon will be delighted to travel with Karl, the jewel thief werewolf, and Hope, the Expisco half-demon, as they race to help Hope's friend Robyn, a human framed for a murder she didn't commit and on the run from the cops and the villain who fears she'll expose the paranormal races of the Otherworld. As Armstrong readers have come to expect, this book is balanced between likable characters and the creepy evil that they fight, all wrapped together with nonstop, edge-of-your-seat action. There is only a faint touch of romance here; rather, the novel features sexually explicit themes and violence, including the mistreatment of minors and the disabled by the villain. Recommended for public libraries where urban fantasy is popular. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/08.]-Crystal Renfro, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta
From the Hardcover edition.
To call Portia Kane a waste of space was being charitable. She was negative space—a vacuum that sucked in everything around her. An entire industry had grown up to service this spoiled "celebutante." Lives were wasted catering to her whims, feeding her ego, splashing her vapid face across the news.
And for what? She wasn't smart, wasn't talented, wasn't pretty, wasn't even interesting. Adele should know. She'd spent the last two years wallowing in the oatmeal mush that was Portia's mind. But soon she'd be free. If she dared.
Adele stabbed a ripe baby tomato. The innards squirted down the front of her shirt. The insanely expensive white shirt she'd bought just for this meeting. She grabbed a linen napkin, but only ground the pulp into a bloody smear.
A tinkling laugh rose above the murmur of the lunch crowd. Adele turned to see Portia leaning over the table, whispering to Jasmine Wills. Laughing. At Adele? No. To them, she was invisible. That was the goal—never let your prey know it's being stalked.
Paparazzi. An ugly word, with an uglier reputation. The kumpania never used it. They weren't like those curs, endlessly chasing their prey, trying to corner it, provoke it, snatching mouthfuls of flesh where they could. Kumpania photographers were clever foxes, staying out of the fray and getting the most profitable shots through cunning, craft and clairvoyance.
A man cut through the gathering near the restaurant entrance. Was that him? They'd only spoken by phone, but she was sure it was. He had their look—the thinning blond hair, the unnaturally blue eyes, the arrogant tilt of the chin, the razor-sharp cut of the suit.
And he was looking right at her. Smiling at her. Coming toward her. In that moment, Adele knew how a fox felt when it saw its first grizzly.
All sensible supernaturals feared the Cabals, those corporations run by sorcerers whose idea of severance packages usually involved the removal of body parts. For clairvoyants, though, that fear rose to outright terror. By the time clairvoyants finished working for a Cabal, they'd lost the most vital body part of all—their minds.
The power of clairvoyance came with the price tag of insanity, a fate the kumpania promised to save them from in return for a lifetime of servitude. They also promised to protect their clairvoyants from the Cabals, which would woo them with promises of wealth, then drain their powers and retire them to a padded cell, drooling and raving, brought out only for horrific experiments.
And now Adele was willingly meeting with a Cabal sorcerer. Willingly offering herself to his corporation. Was she mad? She had to run, escape while she still could.
She gripped her thighs, squeezing until the pain crystallized her fear into resolve. The grizzly might be the biggest predator in the forest, but a clever fox could use that. A clever clairvoyant could use the Cabals, make her fortune and get out while she was still sane enough to enjoy it.
Adele touched her stomach. In it, she carried the ultimate bargaining chip. With it, she didn't need to flee the grizzly. She could run to it, hide behind it, use it to escape the kumpania and get the kind of life she deserved.
The man stopped beside her table. "Adele Morrissey?" He extended his hand. "Irving Nast. A pleasure to meet you. We have a lot to talk about."
The world was a shitty place; no one knew that better than Robyn Peltier. Every day for the past six months, she'd scoured the news for a story that proved it. She sometimes had to check two newspapers, but never more than that.
No common murder or assault would do. What Robyn looked for were the stories that made people call over their shoulders, "Hey, hon, can you believe this?" The ones you really didn't want to believe because they supported a sneaking suspicion that this world was an ugly, fucked-up place where no one gave a damn about anyone else.
The experts blamed everything from video game violence to hormones in the milk to the wrath of God. People wrung their hands and moaned about what the world was coming to, as if callous disregard for human life was some new phenomenon. Bullshit. It started back when the first caveman clubbed a buddy for his wicked new spear.
But it's easier to tell yourself the world is a good, civilized place, filled with good, civilized people, because that's what you need to believe to keep going. And it works just fine until the day the ugliness seeps to the surface and sucks your life into the cesspool.
Today, Robyn found her story on page two of the L.A. Times. A man had shot a kid for walking across his lawn and thought he was perfectly justified—because, after all, it was his lawn. She clipped the article, laid it on a fresh page of her bulging scrapbook, then smoothed the plastic over it. Number 170.
Before she put the scrapbook back on the shelf, she flipped back to page one and read the headline, as she had 170 times before: "Good Samaritan Gunned Down on Highway." She touched the face in the photo, tracing his cheek, where the plastic covering was almost worn through, and she thought, for the 170th time, what a crappy picture it was.
There was no excuse for picking a bad photo. As a public relations consultant, Robyn knew better than anyone the importance of providing the right picture to convey your message. She thought of all the ones she could have given the press. Damon playing hoops with his nephews. Damon treating his tenth-grade class to post-exam pizza. Damon goofing around with his garage band. Damon grinning at their wedding.
Damn it, any picture of him smiling would have done. How hard was that? The man was a born performer—stick a camera in his face and he lit up. After five years together, she had hundreds of photos of him, any one of which would have shown the world what it had lost that night.
But when asked for a photo, she'd been dealing with the press, the police, the funeral arrangements, everyone clamoring for her attention when all she'd wanted to do was slam the door, fall to the floor and sob until exhaustion blessed her with sleep. She'd grabbed the first picture she could find—his somber college graduation shot—and shoved it into their hands.
Robyn's cell phone rang. "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Portia had set up the ring tone. Not that Portia needed her own special one. These days, if Robyn's phone rang, it was almost always Portia, who kept her busier than her dozen clients back in Philadelphia. In this business, the only job crazier than doing PR for Paris Hilton was doing PR for the girl who wanted to be the next Paris Hilton.
She put the scrapbook back on the shelf, then answered.
"Finally," Portia breathed. "It rang, like, ten times, Rob."
Three, but Robyn knew better than to correct her. "Sorry, I was in the other room."
Silence, as Portia contemplated the concept of being, even momentarily, cell phone free.
"So how was lunch with Jasmine?" Robyn asked.
She braced for the answer and prayed if cleanup was required, it wouldn't involve posting bail this time. The tabloids called Jasmine Wills a "frenemy" of Portia's, but if there was any "friend" in the equation, Robyn had yet to see it.
The two young women hadn't spoken since Jasmine stole Brock DeBeers, the former boy-band heartthrob who really had made Portia's heart throb. Robyn had warned Portia not to accept the invitation to a makeup lunch, but Portia had only laughed, saying Robyn didn't understand the game yet, and besides, she hadn't really liked Brock that much. She only kept his photo in her room because she hadn't found time to redecorate.
Apparently, Jasmine had spent the entire meal regaling Portia with tales of her wild sex life with Brock. Man's inhumanity to man. Sometimes it was shooting a helpful stranger, sometimes it was beating your BFF's dignity into the ground with a crowbar.
"But I'm going to get her back. I have a plan."
Portia's singsong cracked at the edges, and Robyn bled a little for her. She wished she could write Portia off as a vacuous twit who was sucking her dry with her neediness, but she supposed it would take another 170 articles in her scrapbook to drain her last ounce of sympathy.
Or maybe Robyn just liked to bleed. Maybe that was why she'd taken the job. Representing Portia Kane was the lowest, most meaningless form of PR work she could imagine. But after Damon's death, she'd had enough of representing not-for-profit organizations for a pittance. No one else cared. Why should she?
"Oh, and then, just before the bill came, Penny called and guess what? They can't make it to Bane tonight because—get this—they're going to the opening of Silhouette with Jasmine. How much you want to bet Jasmine told Penny to call at lunch so she could watch my reaction?"
Every dollar I have, thought Robyn. Portia wasn't stupid. That was the problem. It'd be so much easier if Robyn could write her off as a vacuous twit. But then she'd show some spark of intelligence, some proof that she could do more with her life than grace club openings.
"So what about that benefit concert tonight?" Robyn asked. "If you're skipping Bane, I can call and get you back on the list—"
"Benefit concert? Oh God, Rob, kill me now. No, I'm still going to Bane, and you're coming with me."
How lonely did you need to be to invite your PR rep clubbing? "I'd love to, but I have plans. Remember that friend I was with yesterday, when you came by?"
"The Indian girl?"
"Hope is Indo-American."
Portia's put-upon sigh made Robyn press her fingertips into her temples. Portia never ceased to complain about Robyn correcting her gaffes, ignoring the fact Portia had asked for that "sensitivity training" herself, after she'd been quoted making a racist comment about the city's Hispanic population. Hiring Robyn had been her idea of damage control. She'd needed a new PR rep and someone mentioned Robyn, saying she was looking to relocate after her husband's death. A real tragedy. He was trying to help a stranded motorist, but the woman saw a black guy coming at her on an empty highway and shot him.
With that, Portia had seen the perfect way to prove she wasn't racist. Then Robyn showed up—blond haired and green eyed—and from the look on Portia's face, you'd think she'd never heard the term "interracial marriage."
Portia was still nattering on about Hope. "So bring her and make sure she looks hot—but not hotter than me."
"We already had plans, Portia."
"It's Bane. Now, I know she works for True News, but under absolutely no circumstances is she allowed to report on our evening. Got it?"
In other words, Portia expected full coverage on the front page.
"Hope isn't a celebrity reporter. She's their weird tales girl, so unless you're going to sprout a tail or breathe fire, she's no—"
"Okay, tell her she can report on it. An exclusive. Oh, and make sure she brings that hot boyfriend, and tell him to bring some friends. Hot friends."
"He doesn't have friends here, Portia. They aren't from L.A.—"
Portia let out an eardrum-splitting squeal. "Finally. Jasmine's coming out of the restaurant. Tim, start the car. Move forward, slowly. Rob, hold on."
The line went dead. Robyn was putting the phone down when it rang again.
It was Portia. "Remember how you gave me shit for wearing that micro skirt last week? Wait until you see this." A split-second pause. "Well? What do you think?"
"The photo I just sent you."
Robyn checked her mail. There, with the caption "Wait til tabs see this!!!" was a picture of Jasmine Wills wearing what looked like a baby-doll nightgown. A see-through nightgown. Gauzy pink, with a red bra-and-panty set underneath.
"You're going to send it, right? To the tabs? Oh! Send it to your girlfriend at True News."
"She doesn't cover—"
"Then tell her to make an exception. Oh, my God! There's Brock! Tim, pull forward."
Click. Portia was gone.
It took a half-dozen tries to get the key-card light to work—long enough that Hope was tempted to practice her electronic lock-_picking skills. When the light finally did turn green, she was leaning against the door, handle down, and it flew open under her weight, sending her stumbling inside. She listened for Karl's laugh and when it didn't come, felt a twinge of disappointment.
She shouldn't have been surprised. She'd told him she'd probably have to work late, so she didn't expect him back. Still, her disappointment smacked of dependence. Karl wasn't the kind of guy she should count on.
Hope went to toss her purse on the bed, but threw her laptop case instead. Too much on her mind, fretting about how to help Robyn, worrying about her relationship with Karl, fighting the nagging feeling that the two weren't unrelated. The more she watched her friend spiral downhill, the more anxious she got about where she was heading with Karl.
She kicked off her pumps and squeezed the carpet between her toes, luxuriating in the feel of it, inhaling the scent of flowers?
There, on the desk, was a bouquet of yellow and purple irises. Hope read the tag. From her mother, hoping her first week of work was going well. It wasn't exactly a new job—she'd been at True News for four years, and this was her second L.A. work exchange.
She hadn't planned to return. Los Angeles wasn't her kind of city, really. But the chance for a six-week stint came right as Hope had been trying to schedule vacation time to visit Robyn, and it seemed like the perfect solution.
They'd been friends since high school, when Hope's private academy had been running a joint fund-raiser with Robyn's public school, and they'd been assigned to the same committee. Afterward they'd stayed in touch, gradually becoming friends. Then, in Hope's senior year, when the visions and voices started, she'd had a breakdown and spent her prom night in a mental ward. Robyn had been the only friend who hadn't slipped away, as if Hope's problems might be contagious.
Now Hope had a chance to help Robyn with her problem. When she'd come to L.A., she'd expected Karl would take the opportunity to do a "work exchange" of his own in Europe. Instead, he'd joined her. As good as that felt, she couldn't shake the fear she was getting too used to having him join her on business trips, and that the day he didn't want to come along, she'd be devastated.
"You're home early. You should have called."
She spun as Karl stepped inside. He'd changed since meeting her for lunch, trading designer chinos and a brilliant blue polo for a dark suit that looked like it came from a department store, well below Karl's usual standards. Not that it mattered. Karl could make Goodwill castoffs look good. The lowbrow attire was camouflage—Karl's way of blending into a crowd, and the moment he stepped into the room, though, the tie and jacket were off, cast onto the chair like a hair shirt.
"Good hunting?" Hope asked.
"You forgot to lock the deadbolt and chain."
He kissed the top of her head, cushioning the rebuke. She could feel the chaos waves of worry rolling off him. When Karl settled in a new city, he couldn't relax until he'd cleared out any other werewolves. Kill Karl Marsten, and a werewolf would instantly seal his reputation, guaranteeing for years to come that others would clear out of his way.
From the Hardcover edition.
Robyn Peltier moved to Los Angeles after her young husband’s sudden death, trying to put some distance between herself and her memories. Though she’s still grieving, the challenges of her new life as the PR consultant to Portia Kane -- the world’s most famous celebutante wannabe -- can sometimes be amusing, even distracting. But when her client is gunned down in the back room of a nightclub, Robyn is suddenly on the run as the prime suspect in the murder. And as more bodies pile up around her, it seems like only Hope Adams, Robyn’s best friend, and Hope’s somewhat spooky boyfriend Karl are on Robyn’s side. Hope Adams follows the kinds of stories whose headlines scream from supermarket checkout lines. But the difference is that Hope’s stories are even weirder -- and they’re all true. Though determined to help Robyn, Hope knows it’s only a matter of time before her friend is caught. But it’s not the police Hope is worried about. For Robyn has gotten herself in the middle of a turf war between two powerful Otherworld cabals who’ll spill any amount of blood -- human and inhuman -- to protect what they consider theirs for all eternity. And the only way Hope can keep her friend alive is by letting her enter a world she’s safer knowing nothing about.
Posted November 4, 2008
Now how do I rate Kelley Armstrong's latest in her 'Women of the Otherworld' series? "Living with the Dead" isn't about just one woman. In a lot of ways it's not even about one couple, it's really about two men, two women, a ghost, and the question of what is love.<BR/><BR/>Robyn is a woman who recently lost her love, her soulmate, to a senseless and stupid crime. She spends her time now just going through the motions of living and keeping a scrapbook about good samaritans who are killed for their deeds, furthering reinforcing the futility and stupidity of her husband's death. When, through no real fault of her own, she becomes embroiled in a battle between two supernatural factions in LA, she ends up running for her life with no idea of why she's become a target.<BR/><BR/>Hope is Robyn's best friend and she and her werewolf boyfriend Karl have come to LA to do a story, but really to check on Robyn. These two will have to use all their abilities (she's half demon) to keep Robyn alive long enough to figure out who's after her and why! Then we also have a cop necromancer thrown into the mix. And with Robyn's dead husband joining the search for Robyn and her pursuers, the mix is set.<BR/><BR/>If you're looking for a pure romance, don't look here. If you're looking for a mystery with paranormal elements, an unusual love story that will make you ponder what love is and is not, a story about when and how grief affects different people, and a story about just how whacked out some fringe groups can get...then really pick up "Living With the Dead". You may not exactly be smiling at the end of the book, but you will be panting for the next one.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 27, 2013
I have no idea where the bad reviews came from, but this book is one of my favorites. It takes off on a run and sprints to the end. Very entertaining. If you are a fan of the series, this is not going to let you down at all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2013
Posted December 4, 2012
Posted September 14, 2012
I had a hard time with this book and found it to be deeply disturbing and dark. The villain is a sociopathic clairvoyant who is 19 years old. Everything she does is for her own desires and betterment, everyone else is expendable. She is ruthless and sick in her actions. She seduces a 16 year old disabled boy and his 15 year old brother and causes great pain where ever she goes. She doesn't care what she has to do or who she has to do it to, to get what she wants. The details are very disturbing.
It is a page-turner, well-paced and never boring but the Point of View changes so frequently that I found it difficult to keep up with the characters, who they were and how they fell in the story.
The end had way too much death and destruction.
Posted April 18, 2012
Posted February 18, 2012
Posted December 29, 2011
I started these books as a relief from my other type of reading material. Throughly enjoyed the authors style and the story lines, became hooked and purchased all of the books within a month! I have pre-ordered the new one and am waiting patiently!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 5, 2011
Another GREAT book from Kelley Armstrong. Each novel give a better look into the lives of characters. Here is a much better glimpse into the lives of Hope Adams and Karl Marsten. A twisting tell of who "actually" did it?!? New characters and supernatural powers are discovered in between the pages here.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2011
I+love+the+series+and+was+unable+to+put+any+of+her+books+down%2C+until+now.+I+had+a+hard+time+getting+into+this+book+and+the+ending%2C+though+good%2C+wasnt+enough+to+make+up+for+the+hours+of+boredom+trying+to+finish+it.+I+hope+the+next+one+is+back+to+her+normally+fantastic+standard.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 30, 2011
i just finished this book and its very good. i couldnt put it down but since i started the series i havent been able to put any of her books down. A must read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 15, 2010
I suppose every writer just like every actor has a flop well this was Kelley Armstrong's fail. I had to force myself to sit a read this book, it was a struggle and I absolutely love the Women of the Otherworld series I have them all. I don't even wait until the newest book comes out in paperback that is how big of a fan I am, so saying that this book was a huge dud is not only truthful and sad but disappointing in the extreme, yeah it picks up at the VERY end but really to drag things out like she did was just well, boring as all get out. If I was scared to by her next book this one was so bad but thankfully Frostbitten ROCKED. That being said I'll never re-read this book like I normally do with my favorites, this one if you must read I would borrow it from a friend or go to the library and rent it don't bother to buy it, seriously save your money.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 10, 2010
I've enjoyed every book so far, can't wait to purchase Frostbitten, Waking the Witch, Men of the Otherworld and Women of the Otherworld. I love all the wonderful characters: Clay, Elena, Jeremy, Jamie, Savannah, Adam, Paige, Lucas, Eve, Kris, Anthony, Toni, Hope, Karl, Finn and Robyn. It's refreshing to have each book hone in on each character's lives, their struggles, love and aspirations. Hopefully Waking the Witch isn't the final chapter in this great series. There has to be more going on with all of the main characters. Elena and Clay opened this world to me and each book brought in two to three more characters that I love. No spoilers here, you need to pick up this complete series and be amazed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 30, 2010
I Also Recommend:
I snatch up Kelley Armstrong's books in Women of the Otherworld series as soon as they come out. I'm always confident I'm going to have an engrossing and entertaining read, and this book is no exception. It's a departure from the other novels. Almost all the other books are written from a female first person point of view: though each book tends to have different narrators--a werewolf, a witch, an angel, a necromancer. This book is written in third person though and the perspective is shared between different characters, though this book, like the previous book, "Personal Demon," does center around Hope Adams, a half-demon who has to struggle with her nature in a way others in Armstrong's world are spared. I think that makes Hope among the most interesting of Armstrong's heroines, and like her other books this was an engrossing and entertaining read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 12, 2010
Posted March 29, 2010
Posted December 4, 2009
I really like Kelley Armstrong's serious Women of the Otherworld. This book, however, got a little to confusing at times. It switched back and forth between characters too much or else there were too many character's point of view used. I didn't think I was going to be happy at the end but leave it to this writer to both find a way to end a story yet leave you knowing there's more to come. I've come to like the relationship between Hope and Karl. It gives you a different look into the lives of the Warewolves. And how Kelley Armstrong keeps coming up with new supernaturals is great. It's like a going for a journey and finding new roads to go down and explore.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2009
Posted September 2, 2009
well when i read the reviews from everyone else i really wasnt lookin foward to reading the book but then i read it and i actually really liked it!not as good as the other books but good.the only thing i reall didnt like about it was all the different point of views i think about 5 different point of views adele's,robyn,finn,hope,and colm.but you get used to the point of views.but what i liked was the end the best that i couldnt stop reading! :]]Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.