No Humans Involved is the newly released paperback by New York Times Bestselling author Kelley Armstrong. No Humans Involved is the 7th book in Armstrong’s “Women of the Otherworld” series, and as such it continues a theme of strong, sexy, magical women and otherworldly mysteries. While I am sure that if you have read the first 6 books you will pick up on the characters and background quickly, this book is a fabulous read as a stand-alone book, too (though it will encourage you to read the first 6 books!).
Jaime Vargas is a spiritualist who has been performing on TV and on stage her whole life, but unlike most spiritualists, she really does “see dead people”, and is an accomplished necromancer. Jaime walks the line between the otherworld and the mundane – she is on the Interracial Council, helping to regulate the actions of the members of the otherworld, and yet she is also hoping to boost her career with a new TV show. In No Humans Involved, Jaime has agreed to be a part of a reality TV show in which 3 spiritualists attempt to contact deceased celebrities, culminating in a séance attempting to reach the ghost of Marilyn Monroe.
Once ensconced in the Brentwood home “on location” where the spiritualists are staying, Jaime finds fractured ghosts in the garden, ghosts which she cannot banish, nor can she fully contact; they won’t leave her alone. Jaime’s spirit guide is unavailable, so she and her fellow council-member Jeremy use research, other spirits, and his werewolf-nose to try to understand and solve the mystery. Readers who are sensitive about human sacrifices and worse may not want to read this book, as No Humans Involved does involve the death of children and S&M. Armstrong does a good job of minimizing the amount of gore, but the deaths are not good bedtime imagery!
All books that are a part of a series have to walk a fine line between enough information to help acclimate new readers, but not so much that it slows down the storyline. Armstrong does an admirable job with No Humans Involved, introducing characters from previous books with enough background information that we don’t feel lost, yet leaving enough questions so we will still find surprises in the earlier novels.
It’s always interesting to see the paranormal world created by a new-to-you author, and the otherworld in No Humans Involved is filled with half-demons, werewolves, necromancers, and spirits; all of whom follow their own rules and come to life through the characters. All of Armstrong’s characters have strengths and weaknesses that make them realistic – Jeremy’s werewolf heritage makes him gun-shy about women, and Jaime keeps recalling her mother’s intense stage-mothering and verbal abuse. Faithful readers will enjoy seeing friends from earlier books pop up, helping Jaime and Jeremy research the phenomenon of the fractured spirits. Hope, the main character of the upcoming hardcover Personal Demon, plays an important role in No Humans Involved, whetting your appetite for more.
No Humans Involved is an engrossing, suspenseful, thrilling read, which quickly pulls readers in and is loath to let them go. Parts of the book are disturbing, but the characters and plot pull you through to the next chapter. If you’re an urban fantasy lover, a lover of suspense/thrillers, or a sci-fi/paranormal reader, you should at least check out the first chapter, you will quickly be pulled into Armstrong’s world and No Humans Involved. I want to learn more about one of the secondary characters, Hope, and she’s the lead character in Personal Demon (Women of the Otherworld, Book 8), to be released in hardcover at the end of March – it’s available now for pre-order!
This book was received from the publisher for review