‘Omens’ Cainsville #1 by Kelley Armstrong

A life shattered in one moment.

Olivia Jones has lived a life of privilege and good fortune. But on the eve of her wedding she discovers two shocking facts. One – she was adopted. Two – her biological parents are notorious serial killers.

A young woman forced on the run.

With her life in immediate danger, Liv must face reality in the most brutal way. But then she is confronted with a tantalising hope – is it possible her parents are innocent?

And the mysterious town that gave her sanctuary. At a price.

Arriving at the remote town of Cainsville, Liv believes she has found the perfect place to hide while she fights to discover the truth. But Cainsville is no ordinary town – and Liv’s arrival was no accident

I’m ten years late to this party. I’m looking for new series to follow. I missed this one when it came out and the five novels in this series are already in print so I gave it a try.

‘Omens’ starts with an unusual twist on the ‘a woman’s perfect life is shattered’ premise. Has the woman seek refuge in a cute but spooky small town that has ‘We’re hiding something’ written all over it. Introduces a cast of larger-than-life characters, some of whom are more interested in our heroine than they should be. Teams our heroine up with an unconventional and hard-to-like lawyer to investigate an old murder, which sets up a relationship that starts as a tense ‘We don’t have to like each other to work together’ thing and slides into a ‘Let’s just keep this professional and ignore the slowly emerging unresolved sexual tension’ thing

The premise is a doozy: Chicago heiress, on the brink of marriage to a being-groomed-to-be-a-senator, handsome-on-the-outside-but-beige-on-the-inside, fiancé discovers via the tabloids that she was adopted at the age of two following the imprisonment of her ritual serial killer birth parents.

While she’s dealing with the shock of this, various spooky individuals corral her into Cainsville, a ‘Gilmore Girls’ style of small town with added gargoyles and a slightly ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ vibe to the residents, some of whom have a surprising predilection for the Welsh language.

‘Omens’ reads more like the Pilot of a new TV series than a self-contained novel. Still, it was an entertaining Pilot that made me want to watch the next episode, so it worked. I’m glad I don’t have to wait a year for the next episode book.

It was a fun read that did more than set up a foreboding-filled situation. Our heroine and her lawyer conduct an unorthodox, violent, dangerous and frequently illegal investigation into one of the murders her birth parents were convicted of and uncover dark secrets linked to the CIA of the 1960s and shadowy but threatening figures who are willing to kill to protect those secrets.

The writing style was light and swift without being spare or hackneyed. The tropes are used well and the characters are engaging.

I think this is going to be an entertaining series to escape into.

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