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by Kelly Armstrong
Orbit, September 2004
496 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 1841493406

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Paige Winterbourne is trying to set up a new coven of witches to replace the one she was ousted as leader from while being assisted (and hindered by) an adopted half-sorcerer daughter and a lawyer boyfriend who is working to end the power of the Cabals (think supernatural Mafia families). She therefore doesn't need the head of the Cortez Cabal trying to get her to solve a series of murders of Cabal dependents, even if he is the estranged father of her boyfriend. But the killer is targeting children and Paige finds herself unable to refuse her help.

So starts an adventure that will have Paige teaming up with an eclectic team of supernaturals: Lucas, her sorcerer boyfriend; a vampire who's had a lot of time to perfect her bitchiness; a necromancer who's hiding out in plain sight as a stage psychic; a werewolf pack and a Celtic god. Along the way they have to juggle Cabal politics and a trip to the next world as well as trying to track down the real killer before he, she, or it can strike again.

This isn't a dark or profound novel, but that's all right because it isn't trying to be. It is trying to be an enjoyable fast-paced urban fantasy adventure and it succeeds at all levels.

Paige is a believable heroine who you'd want to be friends with in real life; and if Lucas is a little too-good-to-be-true, Jaime (the fake psychic and real necromancer) nearly steals the show (and quite rightly gets her own book in NO HUMANS ALLOWED).

The action scenes are very well written with some great set pieces in a swamp, a Cabal trial and a ballroom. Throughout, Paige's first person narrative leads you through the adventure with warmth and humour that come to the fore in a vampire tour of New Orleans that made me wish I could see it for real.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, female-friendly, exciting adventure that left me wanting to spend more time with these characters.

Anthea Hawdon lives in the North East of England and has spent her working life in and around the NHS; she consequently takes refuge in fiction as much as possible.

Reviewed by Anthea Hawdon, July 2010

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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