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Cainsville #2
by Kelley Armstrong
Dutton, $26.95, 464pp
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
"Omens," book one in the Cainsville series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes. In "Visions," we find Olivia living in the small town of Cainsville, working as a waitress in a diner, being treated by the townsfolk as one of their own and with the town elders wanting to keep track of her life.

When Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, she calls Gabriel for help but, by the time he arrives, the body has vanished. Olivia, who is struggling with her ability to see things that others can't, believes this girl may be one of them; that is, until the next day when she sees a flyer for a missing girl who was clearly the one from her car. When the head of the same girl ends up in Olivia's bed the next night, Gabriel believes someone is trying to warn her from digging any deeper into her parents' cases.

Bringing Gabriel in helps to firm up the relationship between the two of them. There are many different connections between them, but Gabriel has a knack of making a mess of them, earning her ire and distrust; even as he convinces her to work with him on casefile research in his Chicago law office, especially on a case involving her mother. While it's a dream job for her, she's hesitant about taking it because of her wavering trust in him. He still tries to protect her from whatever peril is heading her way, persuading her to spend time with his Aunt Rose, a psychic and card reader. In turn, she tries to help Olivia interpret and understand her omens and visions.

If Olivia's working relationship with Gabriel wasn't trouble enough, she's battling an internal struggle over her libido and love life. Her ex-fiance, the man who until a month earlier she loved and wanted to spend her life with, wants her back. The attractive and ever-so-sexy Ricky, son of the leader of a notorious biker gang and a member himself, also wants to be a part of her life. And what of Gabriel; why does he keep insisiting they work and spend time together?

Olivia's visions are only the beginning of the supernatural elements. She keeps seeing a mysterious giant hound, possibly a reference to her appreciation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or possibly to the black shuck of British folklore, an omen of death. A mysterious man who she meets at a party gives her clues but never explanations, leaving her feeling like he isn't of the human world. Is her cat, TC, really just a black stray she took in or something more? Do people really still believe in the fae and the wyld hunt?

Against this supernatural fantasy background, Olivia tries to interpret her visions and learn why she's been singled out for them. Meanwhile, she tries to straighten out her love life, discover who is trying to scare her to death and still help to clear her parents in this suspenseful tale.

"Visions" works as a standalone novel but it would be helpful to have read book one, since this does reference some issues and characters from it. I enjoyed Olivia and the moody Gabriel, along with many of the other characters. The story was well-written and held my interest, keeping me wanting to read more. I liked how the author built the suspense and the descriptions of sights, sounds and smells, of things going on and around Olivia. ~~Dee Astell

For more titles by Kelley Armstrong click here

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