Fairy magic meets hoary thriller cliché in this work of paranormal suspense by the author of the best-selling Otherworld series (Thirteen, 2012, etc.).
Raised by a loving department-store magnate father and a high-strung, self-involved mother, Olivia Taylor-Jones is utterly overset to discover that she’s adopted, the biological child of the Larsens, a notorious serial-killer couple. The relentless paparazzi drive her from Chicago to Cainsville, an isolated, gargoyle-encrusted town founded (and still inhabited) by fairies and those with a drop of the old blood. As Olivia slowly comes to terms with her hitherto unknown past, and gets a glimmering of her ability to perceive and understand omens, she heeds the plea of her biological mother, Pamela (who claims she’s innocent), to investigate the Larsens’ alleged crimes. Assisting her is icy-eyed, advantage-seeking and, of course, attractive Gabriel Walsh, Pamela’s former attorney. Together, Olivia and Gabriel uncover evidence linking one set of murders to a government conspiracy famously overused in fiction. As the first in a series, the book raises far more questions than it answers, so much so that it feels somewhat unsatisfying. No doubt, Olivia and Gabriel’s relationship will deepen in future installments, but there’s insufficient material for romance-seekers so far. Gabriel's self-serving attitude perversely gives him some depth, while Olivia seems less a fully rounded character than a set of paranormal romance clichés strung together: strong-willed debutante with hidden depths, skeptic coming to terms with magic, woman infuriated by a man she’s secretly attracted to, etc.
Here’s hoping Armstrong will deliver something more substantial in Book 2.