This is Book Two of the paranormal “Cainsville Series” that blends mystery, crime, and the supernatural with romance.
Olivia Taylor-Jones, 24, is now living in Cainsville, a suburb of Chicago, and working as a research assistant to a handsome and emotionally distant lawyer, 30-year-old Gabriel Walsh. She is also starting a relationship with hot 22-year-old Ricky Gallagher, heir-apparent to leadership of the “Satan’s Saints” biker gang.
As if all that weren’t enough to occupy Liv, she has the power to detect and decipher omens, which have been increasing in number since she came to Cainsville. And in fact, the denizens of Cainsville are definitely not normal, but Liv doesn’t quite understand what it is about them that is different.
This book is part of the urban fantasy genre, which consists of stories usually set in current times in the real world but containing elements of fantasy. In this case, the fantasy aspects involve characters from Welsh mythology and folklore, including the Tylwyth Teg, or fae, and the Cŵn Annwn, the spectral hounds of Annwn – the mythological Welsh otherworld. Liv and Gabriel find out more about these creatures than they would probably prefer as they set out to uncover just what is going on in Cainsville.
But this is a crime series as well, and in this “episode” Gabriel and Liv search for the killer of a dead girl whose body inexplicably showed up in Liv’s car. In addition, we find out a bit more background on Gabriel’s tortured psyche and what caused it. Liv’s relationship with Ricky intensifies, but I’m on Team Gabriel.
Evaluation: I got pulled into urban fantasy series by reading a “regular” crime series by Armstrong (The Nadia Stafford series) and then I wanted to read everything else she wrote. I love the style of romantic tension she creates between her main characters. I also love how her characters are always so complex, torn, contradictory, and vulnerable, while also being hopeful and brave in unexpected ways. As a special bonus with this particular series, you get to learn a lot about Welsh folklore.
Note: These books are not standalones.
Published by Dutton, a member of the Penguin Group, 2014