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Review: Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong

Living With The DeadThe men and women of the Otherworld – witches, werewolves, demons, vampires – live unseen among us. Only now a reckless killer has torn down the wall, trapping one very human woman in the supernatural crossfire.

Robyn moved to LA after her husband died to try to put some distance between herself and the life they had together. And the challenges of her job as the PR consultant to a Paris Hilton wannabe are pretty distracting. But then her celebutante is gunned down in a night club, and Robyn is suddenly the prime suspect. The two people most determined to clear her are her old friend, the half-demon tabloid reporter Hope Adams, and a homicide detective with an uncanny affinity for the dead.

Soon Robyn finds herself in the heart of a world she never even knew existed – and which she was safer knowing nothing about . . .

I don’t think I’ve ever had a harder time trying to figure out how to rate a book. Kelley Armstrong’s Living with the Dead has certainly made it difficult. On one hand, this book was action packed and interesting. From the beginning of it, I hated any time I had to put it down.

Though I have been well known to complain about multiple points of views randomly popping up several books into a series, this one manages to make the transition from person to person fairly easy. That being said, I did not expect that after her previous book introduced a second point of view, that she’d follow it up with one with five points of view. Despite how well it did or didn’t work, that’s a bit much.

Long story short, Robyn Peltier is a young widowed PR consultant to an LA celebutante, Portia Kane. Her world was turned upside down six months before the beginning of the book, when her husband was shot while trying to offer assistance to a woman who’s car had broken down on the side of the road. Despite throwing herself into her work, it’s apparent that Robyn is a broken woman after the loss of her husband. But what she doesn’t realize is that things are about to get worse.

After discovering Portia dying from a gunshot wound and attempting to chase after the killer, Robyn finds herself in a precarious position, where she’s looking guiltier by the minute. As bodies continue to drop around her, it is only by chance that her best friend, Hope Adams and her boyfriend, Karl Marsten are staying in town for a few weeks. Because little does Robyn know, she’s being dragged into a supernatural mess that could cover the state of Texas.

Obviously, things hit a point where Robyn has to discover the truth about her friend being a half-demon and Karl being a werewolf. But that’s only part of the story, as the detective assigned to finding Robyn is getting otherworldly assistance from none other than her husband, Damon. Little does he know, the “ghost-seeing” problem that has been passed down in his family, is a sign that he is a necromancer.

One of the points of view is a young woman by the name of Adele, who turns out to be Portia’s killer. As a clairvoyant, Adele’s life in a seclude kumpania, has been filled with stories of the evil Cabals. While well known for not being operations of good will, rainbows and sunshine, the lies involve the interracial council. But none of this is bad. In fact, it makes the entire story interesting. Adele is pregnant (unbeknown to the kumpania) and trying to find a way out by making a deal with a member of the Nast Cabal. Unfortunately, Portia Kane happened to snap a picture of this meeting and the fear of being outed to the kumpania causes Adele to stop at nothing to prevent anyone from finding out.

But this is where I struggle to properly rate this book. Adele’s willingness to do anything for her own best interest is not a new trait that arises when this current predicament arises. No, in fact, this is how she winds up pregnant to begin with. By using her sexuality to seduce a sixteen year old mentally disabled boy, who happens to be one of the most powerful seers the kumpanias has. This is disgusting in my opinion because Adele is twenty, she’s not only seducing a boy who is underage, but taking advantage of a special needs child. Why is she doing this? So he will use his power to help her locate Portia Kane, because Adele’s job before all of this mess was to be a paparazzi who was assigned to none other than the first victim herself, Portia. Had this just been a spoken fact, I would have merely been irked by the thought of someone doing this. But Armstrong goes into graphic detail about her doing this to him and the boy’s fifteen year old brother. Now, I’m not a prude, but this was creepy and truly disgusting.

So how does one rate a good story with a really disturbing, totally uncalled for scene? I would have normally rated this a four, because it held my interest and it kept going, constantly making you think it was reaching its climax before revealing there was still more yet to come. But for that scene, I am putting this on my never again list and giving it one star only because I cannot give it negative stars. I can handle a lot of things, but this book went too far and shame on Armstrong for writing that disgusting chapter, her editor for not insisting it be removed and her publisher for allowing that filth to go onto paper.


Gold Star

About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

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