Review: Omens (Cainsville #1)

OmensBy Kelley Armstrong

Sphere, out now

Olivia’s life is torn apart when the truth about her parentage is revealed – far from being the daughter of the rich and powerful, her real mother and father are notorious serial killers…

Sassy, intelligent heroine? Check. Intriguing situation with plenty going on beneath the surface? Check. Male protagonist whose loyalties appear to be divided? Check. Kelley Armstrong’s new novel follows in the footsteps of her Women of the Otherworld series by presenting us with a situation from which the rug is pulled out from under our feet almost instantly. What makes Omens markedly different from Armstrong’s previous work is the third-person narrative chapters interspersed between the first person account from Olivia which give a very different perspective on what’s going on…

It’s a gripping read: not only do you want to join Olivia on her quest for answers about her background – are her parents really the serial killers that they’re meant to be? – but the other sections throw up even more questions than Olivia realises are there. Beneath the surface of Cainsville, the apparently idyllic little town to which she runs, there are undercurrents with some form of supernatural base, and Olivia herself constantly sees omens. Are they coincidental, or is someone trying to tell her something?

There are links to genuine pieces of the darker side of American history – more of the events in the 1960s and 1970s discussed are real, not created for the book, than you might want to believe. They help form the background to a powerful, strong start to the new series.

Verdict: Armstrong’s gifts for characterisation, plotting and action are used to the full in this enjoyable new series. 8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Omens from Amazon.co.uk

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