One of the most popular writers of paranormal fiction and the #1 New York Times bestselling author returns with a rollicking new novel in her Otherworld series. At twenty-one, Savannah Levine-orphaned daughter of a notorious dark witch and an equally notorious cutthroat sorcerer-considers herself a full-fledged member of the otherworld. The once rebellious teen has grown into a six-foot-tall, motorcycle-riding jaw-dropper, with an impressive knowledge of and ability to perform spells. The only problem is, she’s having a hard time convincing her adoptive parents, Paige and Lucas, to take her seriously as an adult. She’s working as the research assistant at the detective agency they founded, and when they take off on a romantic vacation alone, leaving her in charge, Savannah finds herself itching for a case to call her own. (She’s also itching for Adam, her longtime friend and colleague, to see her as more than just a little girl, but that’s another matter.) Suddenly, Savannah gets the chance she’s been waiting for: Recruited by another supernatural detective, she travels to Columbus, Washington, a small, dying town. Two troubled young women have been found in an abandoned warehouse, murdered. Now a third woman’s dead, and on closer inspection small details point to darker forces at play. Savannah feels certain she can handle the case, but with signs of supernatural activity appearing at every turn, things quickly become more serious- and far more dangerous-than she realizes.
This is book eleven in the Otherworld Series. Savannah is sassy, maybe a little arrogant, young, powerful, headstrong, makes mistakes and feels remorse, is really good at her job, knows how to protect herself physically and magically. She is all these things but her youth and her headstrong attitude are her Achilles’s heel. Having worked in her guardians’ shadow since she was a minor, Savannah is ready to break out on her own, and the opportunity presents itself when her friend, co-worker and major crush Adam’s pal Jesse comes around to get help with a case with occult overtones in a town nearby. Is she in over her head? Not at first but complications develop when another investigator gets under her skin (in a good way) and when it turns our the town has some other magic going on. In this book the best developed character is Savannah. What I liked about her was her strength and her soft spots. Sometimes she underestimates her strength, and other times she is over confident. She is vulnerable to kids with crappy or neglectful parents because of her past. She thinks she is more mature than she is and makes some rash decisions that backfire on her. She thinks she has it all figured out, and that she is over Adam’s indifference to her as a woman. She thinks she has the people she interviews all sussed out, but they keep surprising her. Written in the first person, we see others through Savannah’s lens. The daughter of one of the victims in this mystery, Kayla, comes across as a vulnerable Savannah-without-the-magic. Michael Kennedy, police detective brother of one of the other victims comes to her as a romantic replacement for Adam and she sizes the Michael up against him. It is clear there are no substitutions for Adam in her heart. Savannah lives in a Savannah-centric world; super-gifted, well-off, fearless. But of course she isn’t all grown-up and her foibles put her and others at risk, when the worst happens, she blames herself.
Armstrong keeps the pace of the book going from the start. The action starts within the first five pages, and really keeps going except for when the girl is eating or sleeping. The story has lots of twists and turns as well as a few red herrings. Why was the high-school teacher introduced? Could he be the perp? How about the chief of police? The Waitress, Lorraine? And, the solution to this mystery is as complex as Savannah’s personality. I don’t know whether I have ever read such a complex ending to a mystery. The question is whether Savannah and her pals can survive what happens. Your will hope they do because you will want more of Savannah and Adam in future books.
Not much in the way of romantic heat, but Ms. Armstrong can make necking pretty hot. The real action here is in the plot. I highly recommend Waking the Witch.