Book Review: No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong

October 24, 2018 Book Reviews 2

Book Review: No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

No Humans Involved, by Kelley Armstrong
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Bantam on May 1, 2007
Pages: 418
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Omens, Wild Justice, Sea of Shadows, Visions, The Masked Truth, City of the Lost, Forest of Ruin, Betrayals, A Darkness Absolute, Indigo, Rituals, The Unquiet Past, This Fallen Prey, Stolen, Rough Justice, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Broken, Dark Screams: Volume Nine, Waking the Witch

Seventh in the Women of the Otherworld urban fantasy series and revolving around strong supernatural women. The focus is on Jaime Vegas, a necromancer working the entertainment circuit, and the man she wants to call boyfriend, Jeremy Danvers.

My Take

Another fun story with a look behind the scenes at the inner workings of the minds of the stars. Hang on a ‘sec…gotta go take a shower… Yep, nasty and lots of strategic planning on who goes first, middle, last, and more.

This is a pivotal story for Jeremy, as he realizes what he wants in this life and raises hope for Jaime not going mad. It’s just as pivotal, in a different way, for Jaime, as she sheds her mother’s expectations and her own restrictions to consider what might matter more. And Jaime gets to see what a real parent does for their child.

“‘I hear you have a couple of sick puppies.’

She laughed. ‘That we do. Oh, and your delivery came this morning. Their first bunnies! Kate’s already trying to chew an ear off. Clay’s so proud.’

‘No bunny chewing for Logan?’

‘Too crude. He’s been examining his carefully. Clays says he’s trying to finds its weak spots.'”

Armstrong really hams it up for us. The entertainers are insulted right and left…which we know because Jaime (using first person protagonist point-of-view) lets us know all the mistakes the television crew is making. Only we (and Jaime) learn the hard way what that particular truth is. Geez. There’s also the other “entertainers’ truths”. Oh, boy. Some do want to believe, others simply want to make a buck.

Jaime has her own character arc, as she wants so badly to be involved in interracial council work. She wants to help, and no one expects her to do more than contact the dead and sit back. And she gets to do just a bit more. Another arc that spans the series is that being a demon does not mean you’re evil. That evil is a choice. That how you use your magic, for good or evil, is a choice. It’s only people who label some magic “dark” that really isn’t.

Jeremy has his own reveal about the man behind the self-assured and confident Alpha. He also reveals his future plans for Elena!

Armstrong is NEVER boring. No Humans Involved has more exciting action, as we read the gamut from babies with colds (who happen to be werepuppies) to Jaime’s mortal ambitions that tangle with both the greedy humans and the supernatural…in so many ways! Breaking-and-entering magic shops, witch kidnappings, sacrifices, contacting so many different dead people — their experiences are quite the, um, experience.

The Story

Jaime has a dream. A dream of her own television show, and this reality show that intends to raise the ghost of Marilyn Monroe may be the way to get it. Until the wee ghosties start popping up.

It’s a catastrophe from start to finish, as Jaime discovers the truth about her fellow spiritualists, downplays her too-real talents…and finds Jaime re-evaluating her choices. Choices that will include Jeremy Danvers, who aids her in an investigation into a Los Angeles underworld of black magic and ritual sacrifice.

When events culminate in a psychic showdown, Jaime must use the darkest power she has to defeat a shocking enemy — one whose malicious force comes from the last realm she expected. . .

The Characters

Jaime Vegas, a necromancer, has been on stages since she was three, but now she’s in control of her own career. She has a prime spot every month on The Keni Bales Show and is a regular guest on Knight at Night. Nan, a.k.a., Molly O’Casey, had been her grandmother and a necromancer as well. Her mother…well, the less said, the better. Bitch.

The Danvers Pack…
…is led by Jeremy Danvers, the alpha. An artist and medical expert (for werewolves), he’s been dating Jaime. Katherine and Logan are Jeremy’s fourteen-month-old twin “grandkids” suffering their first colds. Elena Michaels, a journalist and the only living female werewolf, and Prof. Clayton Danvers, an anthropologist who specializes in religions with animal deities, are the parents. Malcolm had been Jeremy’s vicious father.

Eve Levine is dead. In life she had been a half-demon and dark witch, abilities she can still use in her afterlife in service to the Fates. Nowadays, she’s Jaime’s spiritual contact…and spiritual bodyguard, now that she’s an angel with her own Sword of Judgment. Kristof Nast had been heir to the Nast Cabal, and now he’s dead. And finally getting to do what he likes. He also works for the Fates, as a lawyer.

The TV show is…
Death of Innocence and is being produced by Todd Simon, a beer-commercial/reality show producer. Becky Cheung is the duplicitous director. Will is Becky’s assistant. Doug is a cameraman.

Fellow practitioners on the show include…
Bradford Grady is a star with a popular show, satanic rites a specialty, that explores haunted locales in Europe. Claudia Wilson is his bulldog of a personal assistant. Black Robert McGee is a notorious pirate ghost and one of Grady’s spirit guides. Starr Phillips chooses to not participate. Dr Robson is a parapsychologist hired as a consultant. Bruce Wang is a specialist in ghost photography. Buck Locke is an abrasive TV spiritualist with an obsession with tantric magic, ahem. Angelique, a.k.a., the Angel of the South, is a child spiritualist but just as self-obsessed as the others, quick to see a slight.

Paige Winterbourne is a witch married to Lucas Cortez, a sorcerer and lawyer who takes on cases up against the cabals. (Lucas is heir to the Cortez Cabal!) Their business is a legal-firm-cum-detective-agency, Winterbourne-Cortez. Paige is fostering Savannah Levine, a very powerful teen witch and Eve and Kristof’s daughter. Robert Vasic is a Tempestras half-demon and the interracial council’s research expert. He’s also stepfather to another half-demon, Adam, who has been best friends with Paige forever. He’s joined up with Paige and Lucas’ agency, as, ahem, the head of research and of security.

Hope Adams, a half-demon who only inherited the attraction to chaos from her father, Lucifer, is a reporter with True News, a tabloid. She’s sort of seeing Karl Marsten, a werewolf jewel thief whom Jeremy doesn’t trust.

The Interracial Council is…
…an organization for all supernaturals, except sorcerers.

An inhumanly human occult group
Don Rice is her sidekick. Murray wants a transfer. Tina is a psychologist. Brian is uncomfortable with the notion. Their victims include Brendan, a homeless boy who knows the score; Rachel Skye who took a shortcut; Lizbeth; Manuel “Manny” Garcia; Todd; Chloe Margaret Fisher; and, Charles.

The Ehrich Weiss Society is…
…Harry Houdini’s real name, and they help clients fleeced by paranormal scams. The leader is May Donovan, a commercial lawyer at Donovan, Murdoch and Rodriguez. Rona Grant, a medical researcher, and Zack Flynn, an L.A. Times journalist, are members.

Eric Botnick is an unreliable source who owns an occult shop, Atrum Arcana, and heads a group called the Disciples of Asmodai (the demon of lust), who are actually more interested in BDSM. Glen and Dawn are members. Stan is a nasty ghost at the shop.

Demons
There are two categories: cacodemons are the ones who get summoned and who will make deals, and eudemons aren’t interested. Aratron is a eudemon.

Tansy Lane was a starlet in the 1970s who was murdered. Ricky was a brief partner. Gabrielle Langdon, another ghost who was murdered. Mickey Cohen had been a Chicago mobster. Pete Feeney used to be a man of all parts and now helping as a watcher.

Jack McNeil is a client of the Winterbourne-Cortez agency. Molly Crane was a dark witch colleague of Eve’s. Mike, a half-demon, had been her common-law partner, recently passed. Tish is one of her kids.

Life catches up with necromancers, and eventually they start seeing what isn’t there. A warm reading uses prior knowledge. Ritual sacrifice is the only magic that affects ghosts. Dark magic, a.k.a., chaotic magic, isn’t necessarily evil. Human magic drains a person of their energy and power, killing them in the process.

The Cover and Title

The cover is the midnight blues with the lower half of Jaime’s body showing. She’s wearing a short skirt with those signature heels, one foot propped up on a gravestone in the middle of this cemetery, a waning crescent moon dim in the sky behind her. The author’s name is in a pale peach at the top from which a pentacle pendant is suspended. An informational blurb is in a pale blue between one calf and the headstone. A slightly bluer pale blue is the title at the very bottom.

A truer word er, title, was never spoken as the No Humans Involved allies pop out of the woodwork, literally, to help Jaime discover who these ghosts are and why she cannot reach them.

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