Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Cainsville Novel, Book 2 - Visions

Simply put, Kelly Armstrong is a magnificent writer. I picked up her first Cainsville novel, Omens, on a lark, because the description on the back read something that was very reminiscent of Dark Shadows - a young woman suddenly finds her past is nothing but a lie, she goes to a strange place where she knows no one and where there are secrets around every corner.  Sound familiar?

Olivia Taylor-Jones, the lead character in the series, finds out she is the daughter of serial killers, and her real name is Eden Larsen.  Here, in Visions, the story picks up immediately after the end of the first novel. Having uncovered the truth behind the final two murders that her parents were supposed to have committed - but didn't! - Olivia and her attorney/boss/semi-sorta-friend, Gabriel Walsh, are once again thrust into a dangerous web of deceit when Olivia discovers a body in her car - one that is made up to look just like her.  Then, it disappears.

At first, Olivia thinks it is just another omen - she has a tendency to see and interpret omens - but soon enough she finds out the body is real, when the decapitated head is left in her bed!  Armstrong provides plenty of suspense and twists-and-turns throughout the story as to who the dead woman is, why she was left for Olivia to find, and what her connection is to the ever-growing-more-mysterious Cainsville.  More truths are unveiled about the townspeople of Cainsville (who have PLENTY of secrets), the truth about Gabriel's father and his missing mother are revealed, and truths are hinted at about Olivia's heritage, her connection to both Gabriel and the biker-turned-boyfriend Ricky, and the game that is being played with all three of them.

The use of Welsh history and folk lore provides an interesting element, and it creates a backstory that is entirely new to me, since I know pretty much zilch about the Welsh history.  But part of the focus of this novel (and from whence the title comes) are the visions that Olivia keeps having of the "Wild Hunt."

This book and the previous one have been unbelievably good.  They read like a serial, and I can easily visualize it in my head as an ongoing television show, either a night-time soap, or, for as much story is packed into each novel, a daytime drama (a la Dark Shadows).  There is some romance in the story (between Olivia and Ricky) that gets steamy without getting overly graphic, and the sexual tension between Gabriel and Olivia is ever-present.  But, thankfully, it's not over done, and it's not always at the forefront (as I am not a huge fan of romance novels).

The third book is Deceptions, and I can't wait to see what it holds in store for the Olivia and her supporting cast (let's face it - I hope she eventually finds out and is able to reveal that her parents did not kill any of the people they are accused of killing!).

RATING:  10 out of 10 suspense-filled visions for keeping me turning page after page and for making me really care about the characters!

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