The first Kelley Armstrong story I read was Twilight which appeared in the vampire centered anthology Many Bloody Returns (2007). The vampire Cassandra tells her story and the importance of her rebirth day. The only time of the year when she must kill and drink her victims blood, but this year she feels little need to do the deed even though her very existence depends on it. In a brief review for Library Journal I called it a mesmerizing tale and upon rereading find my feelings have not changed.
Cassandra belongs to the Women of the Otherworld, Armstrong's series featuring a variety of narrators. Over the past couple of years when making frequent bookstore rounds I have picked up at least three Armstrong titles including Bitten (2002) which is the werewolf Elena's story. Here is the publisher's description of the novel. "Elena's trying hard to be normal. She hates her strength, and her wildness, and her hunger for food, for sex, for running in the night, for the chase and the kill. She wants a husband, children...even a mother-in-law. Or at least that's what she tells herself. And then the inevitable happens. The Pack needs her. The Pack she loves and hates is under siege from a bunch of disreputable and ruthless mutts who are threatening to expose them all, breaking all the rules that have kept them safe. The loyalty of her nature calls her home, and into the fight, which tests just who Elena is: the wild woman or the wistful would-be human."
Most every reviewer praised the author and the book, and it found a prominent spot in my to-be-read pile. I left it there because it's about a werewolf and I concentrated my reading time on vampires about which a thousand novels appeared every year or so it seemed. In April of this year book number eight of the Otherworld, Personal Demon, was published. This does not count the novella and short stories like Twilight.
Time, I decide, that I read at least one of the novels even though, thus far, neither Cassandra nor any other vampire is the featured protagonist. But instead of picking up a book I own I selected the one prominently displayed in the new book section of my local library. (I frequently and shamelessly haunt libraries and bookstores).
This past weekend I read No Humans Involved about a necromancer and medium named Jaime Vegas . An important Hollywood producer will select one of three mediums for the grand prize of a television show of their own. For Jaime seeing dead people is a common, everyday experience. Walking into a dining room she sees the putrefying corpse of suicide hanging from the chandelier. Years of practice has trained her not to grimace when theses psychic shadows appear. No one else can see them so if she gasps or shrieks in horror at some apparition normal people will assume she's having a nervous breakdown. In this novel it is Jaime's ability to see and communicate with ghosts which allows her to solve the riddle of a young man's horrifying death by fire and find the humans behind the human sacrifices of young children. It is their suffering ghosts that must be put to rest. Fortunately there is little graphic material, plus the story is well told and includes humorous dialog. It's also nice to find a sexy heroine of 44! Next on my list is Bitten. Nothing like going back to the beginning.
On her website Kelley Armstrong has a list of the Otherworld novels and stories in order of publication.
I recently discovered that a new book in the series will be published in November. It's entitled Living with the Dead. Kelley describes it this way: "When Robyn Peltier—a very human PR rep—is framed for murder, the two people most determined to clear her name are half-demon tabloid reporter Hope Adams, and necromancer homicide detective John Findlay. And suddenly Robyn finds herself in the heart of a world she never knew existed—and which she is safer knowing nothing about..."