Omens: Cainsville #1
Random House, 2013 (2013)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
elley Armstrong, author of the very popular
Women of the Otherworld
series, as well as the thrilling YA
trilogies, now embarks on something a little different in
, first in her engrossing
series, which successfully blends mystery and magic.
he story opens as the immaculate life of twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones is turned upside down. The sole daughter of a wealthy Chicago family, this pretty socialite engages in volunteer work and is engaged to marry handsome young tech firm CEO James Morgan, who is about to run for junior senator. Suddenly, paparazzi engulf her, revealing that she was adopted and her birth parents are notorious serial killers - Todd and Pamela Larsen are currently each serving a life sentence in jail.
eserted by her mother who flees to Europe (her adoptive father had already died), Liv breaks her engagement and tries to find a job, but this proves impossible in Chicago.
- and timely nudges from characters who prove magical in nature - send her to the unusual small town of Cainsville, Illinois, where she finds an apartment and work as a waitress. There she's contacted by her birth mother's former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, an amoral ambulance chaser who sees an opportunity in Liv's trust fund.
ut gutsy Olivia is happy to make use of Gabriel just as much as he plans to exploit her. They make an effective team as they seek the truth behind the Larsens' murder convictions. They find Druidic links and a connection to CIA research into mind control. There are more deaths. Ravens hover and the good folk of Cainsville take a keen interest in unfolding events, especially the paranormal romance author who is very much older than he looks. Were the Larsens framed?
elley Armstrong lays strong series groundwork in
while keeping the action moving and the tension between her quirky characters high. She knows just how to hold reader interest with tantalising hints of what's ahead, and I very much look forward to reading it.
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