Visions (A Cainsville Novel)
Dutton Adult / August 19, 2014 / $26.95 print, $12.99 digital
Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.
Their success, however, is short-lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most.
Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s convinced it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago—the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder?
Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.
Olivia Taylor-Jones, also known as Eden Larsen, is riding a very fine line between two markedly different lives. In one, she’s the adopted daughter of a wealthy Chicago family; the other has her reconnecting with her birth parents, both currently serving life sentences for serial murders. Established in Omens, the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s Cainesville series, the rift from her old life saw Liv pushed in a new direction, starting with a move to a small town an hour away from the big city, and then investigating at least one of the supposed crimes committed by Pamela and Todd Larsen.
Now that Liv has discovered there is serious doubt about their guilt, Liv must make some decisions about how to proceed from here. Visions continues the timeline from Omens, and now Liv has even more questions requiring answers, including which identity she will choose from here on out.
Feeling that it’s finally safe to go back to the home she was chased away from by the hordes of reporters, Liv kicks off this next installment in the series by returning to her Chicago mansion to grab a few essentials. The first thing she comes across, though, is a bad omen, something she has become very familiar with over the course of the first novel. She also knows just how real these things have proven to be and finds she is right once again when the poppies she sees, a portent of death, leads to the discovery of a dead body in her car. As quickly as she can call her new investigative partner, Gabriel, the body disappears, setting the stage for the many sleights of hand that will dog Liv throughout the story, having her question her own sanity.
But from her short time in Cainesville, Liv knows that many things are possible, regardless of how strange they are. She’s found new strengths and opportunities from living in the small town that even her former life with the wealthy Taylor-Joneses hadn’t ever afforded her. So coming across a dead body that only she’s seen shakes her, but doesn’t prevent her from trying to dig for the truth behind it. In fact, with Gabriel’s unquestioning faith that she isn’t mistaken in the slightest, Liv can count on his help while she’s attempting to put her life back together.
One of her top priorities in doing so is the need for release of sexual tensions, Liv reconciles with the fact that her engagement to James Morgan is truly over and begins to look to Rick Gallagher as a source for temporary relief. Rick has shown a vested interest in Liv. Despite his status as MBA student/son of the motorcycle club’s president and one of Gabriel’s clients, they both chose to overlook these facts as their flirtation deepens into something quite intense:
His lips came to mine, and I held back, thinking of his cut, trying to be gentle, but he pulled me to him, his kiss hard and hungry, the faint taste of blood on my tongue.
I laced my arms around his neck, fingers in his hair as he swung me back against the wall, hands pushing up my nightshirt, fingers hooking in my panties. Then he paused, breaking the kiss, panting slightly as he whispered, “I need you.”
“Yes,” I said.
It’s in this relationship, as well as the growing, yet hard-to-define friendship with Gabriel that we begin to see the first inkling that Liv’s identity issue isn’t the only instance of a split she’ll face in her continued journey. As Liv finds herself confronted by representatives of the Cwn Annwn and Tylwyth Teg, both attempting to persuade her to align with a particular side, her choices become about light and dark, rich or poor, and so on. The mixing of family blood from prior generations throw Rick and Gabriel into this precarious mix, creating further problems that may only be solved by Liv.:
“I hear you’ve had an encounter. With a third party.”
“Yes. He’s warning you about us, and about Cainsville. Yet the accusations he levels against us could be directed at himself. He wants something from you. Everyone does. Except him.” [The Huntsman] nodded at Ricky. “You can sense that, which is why you feel so comfortable around him. He only wants to be with you. The same cannot be said for anyone else in your life right now.”
I thought of Gabriel.
The man’s lips compressed."Gabriel Walsh is damaged, Olivia. You know that, and you feel the urge to fix him. That’s natural, all things considered.”
Liv, Gabriel, and to some extent Rick, face a kidnapping situation, attempts on their lives and many other events that merely deepen the various mysteries. They begin to understand some of the truths (but certainly not all) about the people of Cainsville, that Pamela Larsen knows more than she’s telling, and the world as they know it isn’t quite what it seems. As they attempt to piece out the identity of the dead body, they’re led through a chain of connections and intrigues that will start to form a much clearer picture of not only Liv’s life, but Gabriel’s as well. How it all relates to the serial murders her parents are accused of or her ability to interpret omens is yet to be determined.
The puzzle pieces begin to fit into something resembling a more complete picture. All that remains is making sense of the visions that hint at a much longer history of the duality Liv appears to be facing and the importance her role will play in the story’s conclusion.
Learn more about or order a copy of Visions by Kelley Armstrong, available August 19, 2014:
Jackie Lester imagines a day when she can make a living as a writer. Until then, she reviews eclectic books at My Ever Expanding Library and lives in small-town Ontario with her daughter.