Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong

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Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Not the best book in Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, but still action-packed, easy to read, and genuinely satisfying in a way so many genre books are not.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1841493961

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Robyn Peltier is normal; genuinely normal. She's not a witch, nor a werewolf, vampire, clairvoyant, necromancer or half-demon. She's normal. And she's grief-stricken. Her husband died not long ago, and she's moved to Los Angeles to try to cope with his loss by starting a new life. So when her boss - a Paris Hilton wannabe named Portia Kane - is murdered and Robyn finds herself the prime suspect and on the run, she's completely out of her depth with no idea how to find the real culprit.

Just as well, then, that her best friend Hope is a chaos half-demon whose boyfriend Karl is a werewolf. Even better luck that the detective assigned to the case is a necromancer, even though he has no idea that's what he's called or that a parallel world of supernaturals even exists.

This is the ninth book in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld sequence. It's not the best so far. But don't panic! The series isn't looking tired in the least - in fact, it has as much energy and vitality as ever. Introducing new elements to a well-established series is always tricky, but it is necessary if you're going to avoid jaded readers, and that's the thing with Living with the Dead. There's a murder mystery going on, but we also have two new characters, Robyn and Finn, the necromancer policeman, and we have a collision between the mortal and supernatural worlds. These are all good things, but it does leave Living with the Dead with a kind of transitional feel about it.

However, the characterisation is still great, the action scenes - where Armstrong really is at her best - are still strong and vivid, and the general realisation of a fantasy universe is as coherent as ever.

These are really enjoyable genre books. They're bright, energetic and unpretentious. They do just what it says on the tin in providing an escapist afternoon's reading for any fan of urban fantasy. Living with the Dead may not be the high point in this very successful series, but there's more than enough in it for fans to thoroughly enjoy it.

My thanks to the nice people at Orbit for sending the book. The next book in the series is Frostbitten.

Those who enjoy urban supernatural fantasy could look at The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld - intended for teens and ever so fangy and bitey. Dead Men's Boots by Mike Carey gives the genre a very British twist, while Moon Called by Patricia Briggs is full of my favourite supernaturals; werewolves.

Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld Series in Chronological Order

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