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.Otherworld Chills by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld,
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Plume on October 4, 2016
Source: the library
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Also in this series: Otherworld Secrets, "Bargain", "Recruit"
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, No Humans Involved,, Waking the Witch, Portents, Missing, Alone in the Wild, Watcher in the Woods, Otherworld Secrets, Wherever She Goes, "The Case of the Half-Demon Spy", "Truth & Consequences", "Territorial", "Escape", "Adventurer", A Stranger in Town, "Bargain", Hex on the Beach, "Recruit"
An omnibus of seven short stories, fifth…and last…in the Otherworld Stories, set in the Women of the Otherworld series and revolving around the primary characters of the series. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Women of the Otherworld books on my website.
The Series Order
“Amityville Horrible”, 10.8
“Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”, 10.9
“Off-Duty Angel”, 10.5
“The Puppy Plan”, 13.9
“Baby Boom”, 13.11
A nice long short story that starts out so sweet, setting Nick into a homey situation, well, except for the previous night’s adventures in bed, ahem, lol.
“… Nick’s world … bear[s] a marked resemblance to a James Bond … porn flick …”
It’s a story we hear from Nick and Vanessa’s perspectives in this third person dual protagonist point-of-view. But it’s Vanessa’s and her other agents’ overconfidence that really sets “Brazen” off.
It does include a number of interesting insights into Nick, Anthony, Clay, and the hideous Malcolm. As for that point Nick makes about why the Pack hunts lone mutts? An all too-human response.
The happy-go-lucky Nick Sorrentino is one of Anthony‘s sons and has an eye for graphic design and client services. Two “adopted” werewolves are Reese (having escaped Anchorage, he’s studying for his MBA) and Noah Stillwell (his father, Joey, had grown up with Nick and Clay). A third newbie, Morgan Walsh, is making their home his home base. Anthony runs a multinational corporation. Nick’s grandfather is/was Dominic.
Jacinda and Heidi were quite friendly with Nick. Frank Russell is a client of Nick’s.
The Stonehaven Pack
Elena became Alpha nine months ago with the world thinking it’s really her mate, Clay. Their six-year-old twins are Logan and Kate. Jeremy Danvers had been the Alpha but has retired and is “grandfather” to the twins. Karl Marsten is a “roaming” member while Dennis had been a previous member.
Rhys Smith runs a security agency. His agents include Vanessa “Ness” Callas, a half demon with a gift for fire who’s in charge of the team (she’s former FBI) that includes Jayne and Tina “Mayfair Flowers” Mayfair.
Ness had taken in her niece, Sophie, when Vanessa’s sister, Dawn, died. Roger had been Vanessa’s adequate lover.
Malcolm Danvers, Jeremy’s hated father, has been playing assassin for the Nast cabal for the past ten years…years in which Stonehaven thought he was dead…dagnabbit. Richard Stokes is a sorcerer for the Nasts with his own secrets. Sharon is his half-demon wife. Mitzie belongs to one of the Stokes’ neighbors.
Three human bounty hunters include Ted and Pete, who is the team captain.
Poor Hope. No dress sense, a need for chaos, and a mother who sets her up on blind dates. And everything we learn is from first-person protagonist point-of-view from Hope’s perspective.
But Hope is a quick learner…and she just knows that she’s being tested. And tested and tested, as she escapes again and again.
“I don’t know where Hollywood buys their ventilation shafts, but they don’t use the same supplier…”
Ohhh, that bit of the end was quite revealing…how Hope and Karl each manage their issues.
Hope is a journalist with True News, a tabloid that seeks out supernatural “news”. Her father is an Expisco demon, making Hope a half-demon who’s a chaos receiver.
Karl Marsten is a lone werewolf who makes his living as a jewel thief.
Tristan Robard is Hope’s contact. Russell and Mike and Bryan Trau of SA Unit 17 are part of Tristan’s team. Benicio Cortez is the head of the Cortez cabal, an organization led by sorcerers who hate witches.
The Interracial Council is…
…the governing body for all supernaturals and includes Aaron, a vampire; Paige Winterbourne, a witch (she’s married to Lucas Cortez, one of Benicio’s sons); Adam, a half-demon, and others.
Douglas is the boring jerk of a blind date her mother sets her up with. Frederick is Hope’s brother-in-law and had been Douglas’ frat brother. Robert Baird is the CEO of Baird Enterprises. Rick is one of the guests at the charity event. Billy is one of the museum guards.
Not one of my favorites, but only because I have no idea how Jaime saw through it. It was even in first person protagonist point-of-view from Jaime’s perspective…and I still didn’t see it.
There’s a short bit of Jaime’s childhood background.
Jaime Vegas is a necromancer who makes a living doing live shows and channeling audience members’ passed-on loved ones. Jeremy Danvers, the part werewolf, part kitsunegari Alpha of the Stonehaven Pack, is Jaime’s boyfriend. Eve Levine, a dark witch, half-demon, and ascended angel, is Jaime’s watchdog. Eve is a pip! Elena, a freelance journalist, is the Alpha-elect for the Pack. Clayton is Jeremy’s foster son and Elena’s mate. They have five-year-old twins.
Mike is the director from No Humans Involved, 7, who filmed the Death of Innocence Show that included Todd Simon, a shoddy producer, and Bradford Grady, a famed British spiritualist, who destroyed his career. Oliver Black really will be producing this one. Becky Cheung will be the director again. Frank is the cameraman while Sal is the crew guy. Ted Robson, the EVP expert, and Bruce Wong, the spirit photographer, from Death are on the team. Gregor Baranova is the other spiritualist whom Mike was NOT supposed to bring on; his oldest daughter was Liliya. Angelique had been the spiritualist from Death who didn’t survive it. The twins, Melinda and Belinda; Rory is the token Goth chick; Wade is the token jock; Ricardo doesn’t speak a lot of English; and, Cameron, who is the token geek, are some of the “ordinary folks” for the show.
Nancy Masters is one of those audience members. Brittany is a TV journalist. Keni Bales hosts a talk show.
The Amityville hoax was perpetuated by the Lutz family who moved in after Ronald DeFeo Jr murdered his family. Some other horrors associated with Amityville include Maurice Barrymore, Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, and Ricky Kasso. And the victims of a long-lived serial killer are Clara Davis from 1924, Polly Watson from 1952, and Dawn Alvarez from 1988.
Cortez Winterbourne Investigations is made up of Lucas Cortez, a sorcerer lawyer, and Paige Winterbourne, a witch, with Savannah as the receptionist. Leah O’Donnell, a nasty half-demon, has escaped.
“Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”
This tale involves Zoe and Cassandra, and we find out just how famous Cassie is! The true purpose of this tale is that bit of interference by Cassie in Zoe’s love life some decades ago.
Short and fun.
Zoe Takano is the resident (and only) vampire in Toronto, and she makes her living as a thief. Brittany is an ex-vampire slayer, although she never did get around to slaying any.
Cassandra DuCharme is a vampire on the edge and a delegate on the Interracial Council. She makes her living dealing in art and antiques. Aaron is a former and, perhaps, current lover whom Cass had betrayed in the past.
Miller’s is Zoe’s regular bar where Rudy is the bartender. Immortality questers believe taking the head of a vampire will make them immortal. Elena and Clayton Danvers are mated werewolves.
Poor Eve. She’s bored with this break from her work, and Kristof is tied up in a court case. Whatever shall she do?
What really intrigued me was the idea of “time travel”, visiting the past and seeing that real world. Oh man… I would have so much fun!
I know, I know, Eve’s mission is supposed to be more important — time travel!! — and it turns out to be even more useful than Kristof expected.
Armstrong does what she does best, providing plenty of background and color for her characters while giving us action and adventure with first person protagonist point-of-view from Eve’s perspective.
Eve Levine is a half-Aspisico demon (Lord Demon Balaam is her dad), half-witch, part-time ghost, and part-time angel who works for the Fates these days. The dead Kristof Nast, a sorcerer lawyer, now works for the defense in their ghost world. Yep, he and Eve are together as much as possible.
Trsiel is Eve’s angel partner.
Lewis Stranz had been a shaman and family doctor in his mortal life. His spirit guide is now his life partner. Ted and Anna are friends of the Stranzes. Erinys, a.k.a. Furies, are goddesses of vengeance and technically demi-demons. Onis are imps who hide things of value. Cerberus is actually three separate dogs; Eve calls them Polly, Molly, and Rue.
In the human world, Jaime Vegas is Eve’s mortal guide; Savannah is Eve and Kristof’s daughter; and, Sean and Bryce are Kristof’s sons.
“The Puppy Plan”
It starts with an interesting assessment of Logan’s and Kate’s personalities: he’s all about knowledge and exploration while Kate is more about getting into trouble.
It’s very much a moral tale as Logan (it’s his perspective in third person protagonist point-of-view) starts with wanting to give Kate the puppy and slowly coming to realize it would be wrong to guilt his parents into saying yes.
Although, sometimes practicality wins out over morals, lol:
“‘You just need to find something to hold over her so she doesn’t tell everyone at Christmas. Not that I’d recommend blackmailing your sister…’
‘Yeah, we absolutely recommend it,’ Dad said. ‘It’s the only defense.'”
Aww, ya gotta hand it to Clayton, wanting Christmas to be perfect for Elena.
Logan and Kate Danvers are twins of Elena and Clay, werewolves of the Stonehaven Pack. Jeremy had been the Alpha but now he’s more a grandfather to Logan and Kate. Jaime Vegas is Jeremy’s girlfriend.
Uncle Nick, another werewolf, is dating Vanessa. Reese, Noah, and Morgan live in the same place as Nick.
Davis Cain is an idiot werewolf, a mutt who takes on a dare.
It’s both funny and saddening, as Paige and Lucas have to make a very important decision, one that’s tearing them apart. What’s wonderful is how supportive their friends are.
And Benicio is failing his mission to support Lucas.
While “Baby Boom” has a first person protagonist point-of-view from Paige’s perspective, it feels as if Lucas’ perspective is also in here
Paige Winterbourne, a witch, and Lucas Cortez, a sorcerer and the bastard son and heir of Benicio Cortez of the Cortez cabal, are married and run a private investigation company. Carlos is another of Benicio’s sons, and he’s married to the pregnant Annette. Hector and William are the sons who died.
Savannah Levine, a Nast, has married Adam, a half-demon, and she’s happily pregnant.
Dr Mendez is Paige’s doctor. Heath Denby and John Pearce are the fixers. Ralph Daly is a VP and member of the board that supports Lucas.
An update on the Nasts…!
Seems the Nast cabal split between Sean Nast, the true heir, and Savannah’s half-brother as well as gay and honest and Uncle Josef. One believes in the greater good while the other is all about profit at any cost. It’ll be an important lesson at the end of this story.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a purple cast to it which is most obvious in the foggy forest behind the partial profile of the woman with the long, red, wavy hair in her black leather jacket on the right side of the cover. The author’s name and title are in a yellow serif centered in the middle with a white info blurb between them. At the very bottom is the information that this is an anthology…when it’s really an omnibus.
The title is accurate enough, for there are Otherworld Chills in these stories.