Review of Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Living with the Dead
by Kelley Armstrong
What began as a fairly bland, contrived plot soon became an entertaining adventure. Living with the Dead was a pleasant surprise.
I can't say many good things about the book's main character, Robyn Peltier. Kelley Armstrong has her flee the scene of a murder not once, but twice, purely because the plot requires Robyn to be a murder suspect. From that point onward, I expected the book to be fairly clunky. Instead, it rapidly improved as the both the pace and the amount of action increased.
There's not a whole lot of supernatural action in this book, and I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Several of the main characters are supernatural creatures, and that affects the story. Most of the supernatural special effects only happen behind the scenes; the most magic we get comes from Detective Findlay and his ability to converse with ghosts.
While I didn't much like Robyn, I really liked Hope. Perhaps it's just because she was more acclimated to the supernatural otherworld, and thus more useful, but Hope always seemed to be exploring several different avenues in her investigation. As a result, there's a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation in Living with the Dead: Hope thinks Detective Findlay's working with an otherworld Cabal, but Findlay's completely ignorant of the otherworld. The confusion is realistic and entertaining.
Finally, Living with the Dead has a deliciously manipulative villain, Adele Morrissey. She's only in it for herself, which is her ultimate undoing, and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. She murders and seduces as necessary, and her mercenary ruthlessness is excellent.
This is my first Women of the Otherworld book. Had I read the previous books, perhaps I'd like this one better simply because I'd be more familiar with it. However, I don't think you need to start with the first book before reading Living with the Dead. It's no Dresden Files (my gold standard for urban fantasy), but it comes close. I'll be reading more of this series.