No Humans Involved, by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstong’s most recent book, No Humans Involved, is the first installment of her Women of the Otherworld series to feature a character without name-taking and ass-kicking magical powers. In fact, necromancer Jaime Vegas has decidedly mixed feelings about her “gift”—on one hand, it allows her to work as a successful celebrity medium; on the other, ghosts are constantly hanging around, hoping she’ll pass along a message to a loved one, expose their murderers, or simply listen to them complain.

As No Humans Involved opens, Jaime is making a serious bid for her own TV show. In her forties, she’s getting a little long in the tooth to hook TV executives’ interest, so she agrees to take part in a reality show pilot where she and two other mediums will try to contact the spirit of Marilyn Monroe. Her fellow mediums don’t turn up anything, but Jamie finds herself knee-deep in ghosts—murdered starlets, suicide victims, and (creepiest of all) childlike ghosts that clearly want Jaime to do something for them, but are unable to communicate what.

No Humans Involved is Armstrong's first hardcover, and it’s our favorite of the Otherworld novels thus far. Jaime’s mixture of strengths and weaknesses make her fascinating character. This is a woman who worries about her job, her looks, her family, her lover. She hates feeling weak, but she’s constantly meeting people with magical powers that can knock her on her ass. She is easier to identify with than Elena, Armstrong’s attractive, powerful werewolf, or Paige, her super-witch-in-training, and she’s infinitely more plausible than, say, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake.

For a novel with such a gory premise, Armstrong does a nice job of keeping No Humans Involved relatively tasteful—without sacrificing any creepiness. The romance between Jaime and Jeremy Danvers, her reserved werewolf love interest, is intriguing. There’s a subplot about Jaime and her mother that goes a little too far into Oprah territory, but we can overlook that. This book was seriously freaky fun—we'll continue to read the books featuring Armstrong’s other heroines, but we’ll be crossing our fingers for another Jaime story to come out as soon as possible.
Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


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