City of Souls (Signs of the Zodiac Series #4)

City of Souls (Signs of the Zodiac Series #4)

by Vicki Pettersson
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City of Souls (Signs of the Zodiac Series #4) by Vicki Pettersson

In Sin City, a little girl suffers from a strange and terrible malady. If she dies, the Light will die along with her.

Warrior, avenger, Joanna Archer has survived countless otherworldly terrors—and has found her rightful place among the agents battling the all-pervasive evil of Shadow . . . even as she struggles against the darkness within herself.

A war is raging for Las Vegas—a city without a heart—one that catapults Joanna into a new world hidden from mortal sight. In this lethally seductive alternate dimension the lines blur between good and evil, love and hate, and here lies the last hope for the Light. But Joanna's price of admission is a piece of her own soul—and the odds of her escaping are slim . . . to none.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061933080
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/30/2009
Series: Signs of the Zodiac Series , #4
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 198,141
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Vicki Pettersson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sign of the Zodiac novels, a six-book urban fantasy series set in her hometown of Las Vegas. Though she'll always consider that glittering dust bowl home, she now divides her time between Vegas and Dallas, where she's learning to like good Tex-Mex (easy) and the Dallas Cowboys (easier than you'd think).


Las Vegas, Nevada

Place of Birth:

Las Vegas, Nevada


B.A. in English, University of Las Vegas, 1994

Read an Excerpt

City of Souls
The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac

Chapter One

Hanging out in the perfumed, puke-inducing dressing room of an overpriced boutique was hardly my idea of a good time, but right now it was the only place I could get a moment to myself. Olivia Archer...debutante, casino heiress, and lingerie expert...had been my much beloved sister, and while I still mourned her passing everyday, being her was more involved than I'd ever expected. There were benefits to attend, bachelors to date . . . silk negligees to be purchased. And tonight there was a bachelorette party for one of her BFFs. More than two hundred women flitted around at what had mushroomed into one of the social events of the year. That was why I had to escape behind a pink velvet-covered stall door just to send a text message. Though this wasn't just any text message.

Where the hell are you?

There. Cryptic enough that if intercepted no one would know it was a text sent from one superhero to another. Imploring enough that Vanessa would find me as soon as possible. She knew these über-feminine social events made me twitchy.

As if on cue, the door to the dressing room was flung open wide, banging against the opposite side to rattle the wall mirrors. " . . . I mean, she can't just get married like everyone else, can she?"

"Please. That woman lives for attention."

I came to attention too, because I knew those voices. Lena Carradine and Madeleine Cross, two of society's finest.

And they were talking about one of my mortals, I thought, narrowing my eyes to peek through a crack in my dressing stall.

"No, first she has to celebrate for an entire weekhere," Lena said, flipping back a lock of her auburn hair. Extensions, I sneered, getting a good glimpse of the false locks and mentally patting my own back. Six months ago I never would've spotted the bonding glue. "Spend more money than has ever been spent on a Las Vegas wedding...""Well, it's not her money, is it?"

My phone vibrated in my hand. I looked down.

where R U

I frowned. Vanessa Valen knew exactly where I was. She was supposed to be with me. And what was with the truncated text? Her work as a reporter might just be a cover, but it'd been chosen precisely because she had the grammar bug. She hated sloppy texts.

Just hurry. I wrote back. I can't do this by myself.

I tucked the phone back in my Dior and smiled wryly. As an agent of Light, I could have just as easily been talking about our enemy Shadow agents, paranormal beings who fed off negative energy, manipulating the mortal population in order to stir up dissension and chaos. Or I could have been referencing a recent training session with the rest of our troop, a matriarchal corps based on the signs of the Zodiac. But no, I meant enduring a whole evening surrounded by society women whose verbal sniping made supernatural battles look like sandbox swipes. As if on cue, Madeleine joined in.

"And then fly off for another weeklong Indian celebration. I mean, where is Hindu, anyway?"

"It's where the guy in your iPhone lives."

I'd only taken over my deceased sister's identity, life, and lifestyle a year ago, but I'd already met Lena and Madeleine. Saying they were self-absorbed and vain was like saying Madonna craved attention. It was a hunger without end.

And now they were devouring one of their own. "And talk about tacky. I mean, are we in her native Texas with all these gourmet barbecue sauce party favors?"

Okay, so she had a point there. The hot sauce didn't exactly fit with the boudoir theme.

"Or some third world country with their barbaric beauty customs?"

Lena was referring to the henna that had been painstakingly applied to our hands the day before, intricate whorls, dots, and swoops that had turned our bodies into eastern art. Mine had been a beautiful mandala, often depicted in sand paintings by Buddhist monks. I'd chosen it because it symbolized the cosmos that as a member of Zodiac troop 175, paranormal division, Las Vegas...had recently become a very important part of my life. Yet the drawing had washed off in the shower without leaving the faintest trace of red dye. The woman of the hour, Suzanne, had been devastated.

"Or just Vegas, with that gawdy neon runway and oversized disco ball?"

Wait, wait. Texas and India were one matter. But pick on my hometown? Now I'd had enough. Besides, what normal person didn't like disco balls?

Kicking open the door of the dressing room stall, I had the satisfaction of seeing them both gasp and whirl, hands to chests and mouths. Sure, it was an entrance more befitting Joanna Archer than her perfect socialite sister, Olivia, but I was trying to make a point . . . and, again, I was both.

"You're forgetting something ladies," I said, slipping in front of the beveled three-way mirror. I patted the back of my long blond hair. "She's marrying an Indian prince."

Madeleine could only respond by lifting her chin. Her face had been long frozen into a permanent expression of surprise. Botulism was so unpredictable. "So what's next? A friggin' tepee and a sweat lodge?"

"Indian, sweetie," I emphasized, pointing to the middle of my forehead. "Dot, not feather."

"Yes, and one of the most esteemed businessmen of our generation." The words flowed more smoothly than the silk pooling at Suzanne's feet as she glided in from the festivities. The notes of Chopin were muted by the shutting of the door as she shot a conspiratorial wink my way. "How I snagged him, I'll never know."

I smiled at the well-timed entrance.

I knew how. I'd sent Suzanne and Cher on a trip to Fiji the month before to remove them from the direct line of fire of supernatural enemies who'd see them dead just to get to me. True to form, Suzanne had returned engaged to a high-profile textiles magnate so wealthy he made every casino tycoon in town look like a pauper. Including Olivia's father...and the man I'd once thought was mine, too...Xavier Archer.

Of course, the big news on the gossip circuit was the question Suzanne had just voiced. How had a forty-something-year-old widow enticed a younger, infamous bachelor with homes in Bombay and London, a chalet in the south of France, and romantic liaisons on every continent, into suddenly becoming the marrying kind? The announcement of their million-dollar wedding hadn't only made headlines in Vegas, it'd been blazed across the international press, complete with full accounts of past trysts on each side, and close-up shots of the size of the diamond on her left hand.

City of Souls
The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac
. Copyright © by Vicki Pettersson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Kim Harrison

“The Scent of Shadows came out of nowhere and slapped me silly. … You’re going to love this.”

Melissa Marr

“Passion and intrigue, heartbreak and victory—THE TOUCH OF TWILIGHT offers an intricate plot populated with complex characters. Nothing is predictable in Vicki Pettersson’s newest novel . . . except the need to read more.”

Charlaine Harris

“...Read at your own risk —it’ll keep you up past your bedtime.”

Kelley Armstrong

“Pettersson’s paranormal world is as original as it is compelling. The action comes fast and furious. Like Las Vegas itself, this is an adventure that’ll keep you up all night.”

Customer Reviews

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City of Souls (Signs of the Zodiac Series #4) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 164 reviews.
sukie More than 1 year ago
In this 4th novel in her series, The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac, we find Joanna Archer at a bachelorette party for a friend and from there it soars and does not stop. This is a fantasy novel and it is different from most fantasy that I've read. Joanna is a superhero, with a concealed identity. She wears a mask while fighting The Shadows, so her enemies cannot recognize her public face. The story even involves magical comic books that are intertwined with the story and completes the fanboy/fangirl image. This book is unlike any other I know of. Since I am not a reader of comic books, I find the mythology interesting and refreshing and the story familiar, but different. I highly recommend the series.
MikiQ More than 1 year ago
City of Souls, the latest in the Signs of the Zodiac series, is the best in the series to date. I can't wait for the next installment because "J'Olivia" has pretty much hit rock bottom here and I'm wondering what she's going to do to climb back out. The concept of Midheaven is intriguing and I loved that we got more of a glimpse into it in this book. I know there are lots of folks out there wanting a Hunter/J'Olivia HEA at the end of the series but this is UF (and dark UF, at that)so there's no guarantee of that. And, quite frankly, I'm okay with it. This book shows that even super heroes, no matter how 'super' they are, they're still human with very real human flaws in their make-up. Vicki's writing has improved with each book and the plot twists have me guessing at what else could possibly happen before Jo snaps.Throughout the series I've come to love to hate some of the characters (Reagan and Warren) and at the same time hold out hope that others will do the right thing (Hunter and Jo; even Warren). The ending was gut-wrenching and although I felt a sense of betrayal in one of the characters, I hated that I was at the end because I wanted this character to be able to redeem themselves. I don't want to have to wait till next year to read what happens next. You can be sure that come release day, I'll be there with bells on (and money in hand) to snatch up book 5! You rock, Vick! Miki
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend you read this series in order (The Scent of Shadows The First Sign of the Zodiac, The Taste of Night The Second Sign of the Zodiac and The Touch of Twilight, The Third Sign of the Zodiac and also Vicki's short story in the anthology Unbound) before tackling this book. One thing I can say for this was in no way predictable. This installment had so many twists, turns and surprises I couldn't put it down. If you are a Sign of the Zodiac fan, this is a must read! Joanna has most level-headedness and maturity in this book, than the past books combined. Joanna Archer is a survivor; chaos reigns in Jo's life and she thrives off of it. However, this chaos is at the expense of everyone who depends on her. The changelings are still broken. Without having a changeling to record the Agents in the manuals and the lack of belief and imagination to refuel their existence is, causing The Agents of Light to weaken significantly. Although the doppelganger, Skamar, is no longer trying to rip out Jo's heart and eat it, Skamar is still ineffectual at defeating the Tulpa. The more power the Tulpa and Skamar both expend by battling each other is shifting the environment off balance. The energy they expend must be reabsorbed into the universe or reused but it's just hanging out waiting to be claimed. To find the solutions to her many problems, Jo crosses over to a neither here nor there reality, an alternate world called Mid-Heaven. The Agents of Light are unraveling and the stakes are high for Jo. The price for the journey to find the answers she seeks may cost be Jo's her soul. The concept of this whole series just blows me a way. The clever world building of Mid-heaven was ingenious. If you are looking for a break from the usual vampires, weres, witches, fae, demons (although I love my fae and demons) then give this series a try. This series is creative, original, action-packed, exciting and innovative. I highly recommend this book and series to dark urban fantasy readers and I can't wait for the next book in this series Cheat the Grave due out 6/8/2010.
wendy_b More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the Sign of the Zodiac series, in general, but occasionally find them somewhat challenging, as far as remembering what happened in the last novel. However, the characters are memorable, and the world created in these novels is amazing in its creativity.
Raven_Wrath More than 1 year ago
CITY OF SOULS is the fourth book in a creative new addition to the Dark Urban Fantasy genre that slapped me upside the head and told me to wake up and take notice. Each book in this series evolves with amazing new twists and surprises that leave readers desperately wanting more at the end. In this addition, Agent of Light, Joanna Archer must figure out how to fix the ailing child Changeling to correct the imbalance threatening to tear her world apart. Naturally, there are bad guys to fight and mysteries to solve and mystical worlds to visit in the meantime. Vicki Pettersson expertly weaves this all together to create a fabulously addictive novel, tearing reader's emotions to the very brink so that they're thinking about these characters long after they've put the book down. Here's the thing: you won't want to put the book down! If you found the ending painful and wanted MORE, read the incredible anthology, UNBOUND. It answers alot of questions!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favourite book in the series so far. It's an incredibly emotional, action packed roller coster ride. Everything Vicki Pettersson writes is unique, different and wholly unpredictable. I can't wait to see what the CHEAT THE GRAVE (the next book) has in store for us! N.
JoJoJH More than 1 year ago
The best one so far! Read them in order!
firewolf11 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book series. Since I'm a Saggitarius too, I am a true follower. I am looking forward to the next book.
babygraymom More than 1 year ago
Original and fast paced. Great for anyone who likes the supernatural.
natwadge_author More than 1 year ago
Vicki Pettersson is a talented writer who captures the topic of the Zodiak in a new and interesting way. My favorite thing about her books is that the characters are captivating, even the evil ones. I would recommend that you read this book early in the morning so you can actually catch some sleep. I literally stayed up until five in the morning so I could finish the book.
KWBookFanatic More than 1 year ago
In the fourth book of the Sign the Zodiac series Joanna must face that she has many things to save: a changeling, her troops power, Vegas, and maybe a relationship. In order to achieve this she has to travel to another world, but will there be enough of her left to save everthing else? By far the best book in the series. We get to see a different side of Joanna in this installment, one that I have been waiting to see. This book has everthing: love, betrayal, laughter, pain, vengeance and heartbreak. Well done Vicki Pettersson!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Las Vegas, Agent of the Light Joanna "Kairos" Archer is a unique warrior battling the forces of evil Shadow as part of her essence is the dark shadow. Currently she is masquerading as her socialite sister Olivia with a need to rescue BFF Vanessa taken and tortured because the enemy want Joanna as they know she as the Kairos is the Chosen One to balance the light and the dark ------------------- She learns of a young girl suffering from an unknown horrific illness that somehow the dark side of Joanna caused. As the Kairos she knows what this means; if the child dies the light dies too. Joanna must enter the dark to save the light by saving the child; if she fails Sin City turns neon brighter but soul wise eternally dark even for those who enter from the outside.----------------- The forth Zodiac urban fantasy (see TOUCH OF TWILIGHT, THE TASTE OF NIGHT, and SCENT OF SHADOWS0 is a terrific entry that focuses on how tenuous the balance between light and shadow is as an innocent little girl becomes the center of the war. Joanna is at her best as her mission is very personal this time. Sub-genre fans of the Petterson universe will relish this dark entry as Sin City may no longer be a CITY OF SOULS if the heroine fails on her quest.--------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
345 pages. Not sure how the next two book are going to go. This will be interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing read hard to put down, you really start cheering on joanna.
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