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No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong

01/10/2008. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy No Humans Involved in the USA - or Buy No Humans Involved in the UK

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pub: Bantam Spectra. 342 page hardback. Price: $20.00 (US). ISBN: 978-0-553-80508-6. Bantam Spectra. 505 page paperback. Price: $ 6.99 (US). ISBN: 978-0-553-58837-8. pub: Orbit. 342 page hardback. Price: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-84149-395-4. pub: Orbit. 342 page paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-84149-667-2).

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Jaime Vega is a stage medium. A bringer of comfort to the bereaved. She's good and her audiences don't know just how good she is. She knows how to fake it for the show of course. The punters all want to believe and it's a small, cold reading step to making them. All she does is a little manipulating and everyone's happy, except perhaps the spirits.

That's not all though because Jaime is a true necromancer and can see and be recognised as such by the ghosts and they all want a piece of her. Luckily, for Jaime she has allies. Eve's a good friend and useful in crisis. She's already dead which has its uses especially because she has a direct line to the very top, whoever is running that show.

Then there is Jeremy. Ah, Jeremy who's quite light on his feet, good in a tight spot and able to sniff out danger. On occasions, he has a cold wet nose, too, because this faithful companion is a werewolf. He's a fighter and possibly a lover but always a girl's best friend.

When Jaime is invited to take part in a TV sťance, she doesn't expect it to turn into Big Brother. But there are more than just cameras involved in the hidden agenda. The house selected for the shoot has its own grisly secrets. A disturbing experience in the garden leads Jaime to another paranormal investigation. It's not long before she is in mortal danger.

Kelley Armstrong has written several books using these characters in a loosely connected series. This book takes Jaime Vegas as its central focus. Written in the first person but also featuring a third person narrative its slips easily between the two. This is a slick supernatural fantasy which is basically a TV detective with added ghosts. Anyone who likes this genre, which is getting pretty crowded, will be happy enough with this. The Jaime character hits the right note, not perfect but essentially a good person who we will side with. She's tough enough but needs her 'Scooby gang' to back her up. She has no super-strengths and must rely on talent and luck.

It's an enjoyable easy read and to whet your appetite further, there is a Q & A with the author and an extract from the next book, which picks up a peripheral character from this one and tells her story. It's a good variant on continually finding new adventures for one person. Their stories continue to be told but on the fringes of the next novel.

Sue Davies

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