Sunday, October 17, 2010

CBR Book#62: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

I've returned to Kelley Armstrong's writing with her latest novel, and the only one I had not yet read. This one centers on a new narrator, twenty-one year old Savannah Levine. The daughter of a half-demon witch and a sorcerer takes on her first investigation without the help of her guardian, witch Paige Winterbourne, or Paige's husband, Lucas Cortez.

Savannah is extremely powerful and has been since the age of twelve. She knows spells that her older and more experienced guardians don't know and she is less hesitant to use them. She is comfortable with her powers and the leverage that it gives her in combat situations. Paige and Lucas have kept her in the office of their investigation agency and used her for reception and accounting. However, Paige and Lucas have taken a well-deserved week-long vacation to Hawaii and left Savannah without even the supervision of their other investigator, half-demon Adam.

Savannah is approached on her first solo day by a half-demon named Jesse. He brings her a case in Washington state where two young women were murdered and now another woman has been murdered in the exact same location. The crime scene photos suggest a supernatural angle to the killings and Savannah is intrigued. She sees a chance to investigate on her own and gain Paige's and Lucas's confidence in her ability to control herself and solve a client's problem. So she takes the job and assures Adam that she can handle it with Jesse.

However, when Savannah gets to Columbus, Washington, she finds out that there are two prime suspects in the killings: Cody Radu, local rich boy and married boyfriend of one of the deceased, and Alastair Koppel, a man with a commune of cookie-making young women. Yes, those are both weird. Savannah starts to follow the clues, bringing herself closer to the killer and helping them to fulfill their ultimate goal.

Armstrong has another strong female lead in Savannah. She is confident, powerful, smart, resourceful, and a bit proud. She can handle herself in most situations and has a healthy dose of paranoia to alert her to most people's motives early enough to counter them. She is quite headstrong as well, and, as all Armstrong's heroines, is in love with Adam, though she feels he doesn't return the feelings. Though Armstrong hinted at a resolution to this, I think we'll be seeing more of their relationship in forthcoming books. At least I hope there are more coming. This book ends with a real "Oh, shit." Literally, the last line is "Oh, shit." and I can't wait to see what happens next.

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