Otherworld Secrets (Tales Of The Otherworld Series book 4) by Kelley Armstrong (book review).

October 24, 2019 | By | Reply More

The anthology ‘Otherworld Secrets’ is a collection of six stories about the characters in Kelley Armstrong’s ‘Otherworld’ novels. In other words, essential reading if you’ve bought into the fantasy universe that is made up of vampires, werewolves and other fantastic beasts. Each story is self-contained but does refer to other events in the characters’ lives, some of which will be in the novels so it is supplementary reading.

The joy of shorter stories and novellas is they are a little hit of your favourite characters, a sort of snack between meals which you can fit around other tasks or lunchtime. Like other established characters, you can launch right into the story usually knowing they are safe at the end.

Hope and Karl Adams Marsten feature in ‘Life After Theft’. Karl the retired jewel thief and werewolf is finding civilian life tricky. Half-demon Hope needs him to be settled. They’ve got family now. This is a caper story and it works well with lots of twists, turns and generally mayhem.

‘Forbidden’ centres on Elena, the Alpha-elect and Clay, her husband and pack enforcer. Both werewolves, they have twins to keep safe before they, too, find their destiny. Again, this is a murder mystery with added wolf. Meeting up with a loner werewolf, they discover a body of a missing drifter and must establish if he’s been killed by any local werewolves. There’s a lot about family, responsibility and morality here which fills out the main story.

‘Angelic’ is all about Eve. She’s definitely dead but she doesn’t let that get in the way of living. Six months of the year, she’s in service as a celestial bounty hunter and, in the other half, she gets to play house with her dead husband. Perfect. Except there seems to be a rash of jinns who might want to take her out of the game permanently.

‘The Ungrateful Dead’ features Jaime. She sees dead people and mostly they’re really annoying. Haunted by a really irritating one she enlists Savannah, a witch with some great powers to see him on his way. That’s when it gets complicated. The moral of this story is, dead or not, don’t mess with these two.

‘Zen And The Art Of Vampirism’ is all about Zoe. She’s a happy vampire who’s chugging along in Toronto until two vamps decide they want her patch. Cue some quick thinking for a quiet unlife.

Finally, ‘Counterfeit Magic’ finds Paige and Lucas running their detective agency with a supernatural twist. This time they look into a fight club everybody’s talking about and not in a good way. This also brings in family and a little matter of trust. This rounds off the collection well.

There’s a good vein of humour in these stories. One or two are higher on laughs than others but they all ultimately are feel good even if the initial subject matter might not be. I guess they would fall into cosy mysteries where all’s well that ends well, at least for our heroes.

Sue Davies

October 2019

(pub: Orbit, 2014. 405 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-356-50067-6)

check out websites: www.orbitbooks.net, www.gollancz.co.uk and www.kelleyarmstrong.com

Category: Books, Fantasy

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