Book Review: Living With The Dead by Kelley Armstrong
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Book Review: Living With The Dead by Kelley Armstrong

Crystal Lake : IL : USA | Jul 10, 2010 at 9:41 AM PDT
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In this latest installment in Armstrong’s Women of the Overworld series, the main protagonist in this piece is actually a man. Detective Finn, a Los Angeles murder investigator has always been considered a bit eccentric. Might be because he sees dead people.

Literally. Finn’s closure rate on murder cases is due in part to his ability to see and communicate with the newly dead, and sometimes just the dead in general. Most often, when Finn enters a crime scene, he not only sees evidence in the details, he gets it first hand from the murder victim. His colleagues often see him standing off, away from the victim, and talking to himself. They wrote him off long ago as a little creepy, and treat him like a walking joke.

Finn is all too aware of what his fellow officers think of him, and he just ignores it, all too easy because he’s done that all of his life. The only ones who didn’t treat him as a freak was his family, mostly because a lot of them could see the dead, too. So what he grew up with as normal has actually helped him forge his career as a cop. But, until he met some pretty unusual suspects on his latest case, he thought he was the only freak in the world.

Robyn, a recent widow whose husband was killed by a frightened female driver when he had stopped to help change her tire. Apparently in the big city this woman was in, black men are not known as good Samaritans. Devastated, Robyn moved to Los Angeles, and took on the job as a press agent for a very spoiled and very well known socialite. She figured that the constant chaos would keep her mind off things, and she wouldn’t miss her husband Damon so much.

In the meantime, Hope Adams and her mentor/lover Karl Marsten have come to Los Angeles to help support her friend Robyn during her transition to a new life. Hope, who works for a shock tabloid, is also part demon and thrives on chaos energies. Karl is a werewolf, who is madly in love with his demon girl, and is helping her to gain control over her powers. They get swept up in the maelstrom that is Robyn’s client, Portia, and they agree to go with Robyn on a celebrity and paparazzi filled club night.

Portia is feuding with another celebutante currently, and is blissfully happy about catching her in an awful outfit. She sends the picture to Robyn’s cell phone the night before the club outing, ordering Robyn to send it to the tabloids. In the rush to get things ready for the night out, Robyn forgets to send it off. The night of the club outing, Portia meets up with her rival and they have a little disagreement, which ends with both of them putting the moves on handsome Karl, who blows them both off. Amused, Hope and Karl get ready to leave, telling Robyn they’ll meet up later at her apartment.

Robyn, looking for Portia, heads for the ladies room where Portia liked to slip off and partake of her favorite drugs. She finds Portia alright, but not in anything that can be called a living condition. Robyn also catches sight of someone who might be the killer, and instead of stopping to call the police, she starts to chase the potential killer, snatching Portia’s cell phone off the floor near her body as she runs. Witnesses will later say that she stole Portia’s phone after she killed her, probably out of jealousy, they will tell the cops, because everyone wants to be them…

Robyn nearly catches the runner, but is cold cocked when she tries to take a picture of him/her. She awakens the next day in the alley, and discovers that she is now wanted for the murder of her employer…

This is just the beginning of one hell of a rollercoaster ride into the depths of Armstrong’s supernatural world. Necromancers, werewolves, demons, ghosts, and clairvoyants run wild, innocent people are framed for multiple murders, and a range war nearly starts in an effort to protect someone’s reputation over background action caught in an amateur photograph. Definitely a knockout performance…

KateYork is based in Elgin, Illinois, United States of America, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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