Lake Silence by Anne Bishop: Bishop returns to the broader world of her Others series with a self-contained story set in a small community deep in Wild Country on the edge of the Finger Lakes.
In her divorce settlement with her gaslighting and emotionally abusive husband Vicky DeVine was granted ownership of run-down rambling inn on the edge of Lake Silence. She has spent the last six month working on restoring it and slowly regaining a healthier sense of self. The peacefulness of her lakeside retreat is shattered when her sole lodger who she didn't realize is a Crow, attempts to microwave a human eye in the Inn's kitchen.
The story is one-part police procedural & one-part women's fiction in a dark fantasy package. For readers of Bishop's previous Others novels the story will feel very familiar. A wounded woman finding sanctuary and protectors in a community run by supernatural beings, a honest and determined law-enforcement official seeks to solve crimes and protect humans from their own foolishness while walking a tight rope between human laws and powerful beings with their own rules and expectations. There is even another strong, wounded bookseller with a deep interest in the heroine, although this time that role is filled by Intuit,humans who have a uncanny ability to sense the future.
I very much enjoyed getting to know the new characters and community of Lake Silence, and I appreciated the faster, self-contained pacing. I didn't expect the story to wrap up in such a satisfying manner after the leisurely pace of Bishop's previous books in this series. I loved Julian Farrow's character, and the particular ways being an Intuit affected his relationships with non-Intuit humans. The scene in which Julian ends up playing game of Murder (very similar to Clue) with several Others was particularly fantastic, both darkly humorous and suspenseful and I loved how those scenes had ramifications that played out later in the of the story.
I'm now deeply curious where else in the World of the Others Bishops plans to write about next.
P.S. For those familiar with the Finger Lakes area of NY, my guess is that Lake Silence is so supposed to be Honeoye Lake.
(An ARC of Lake Silence was provided by the Publisher for review consideration. Lake Silence is available through all the usual outlets, with a publication date of March 6th, 2018.)
Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega #5) by Patricia Briggs: Bran, the Marrok is away and has left his son Charles in charge, when one of the Marrok's special pack of wolves is attacked. Charles, Anna and the rest of the pack rush to to avert tragedy and track down a traitor among them.
The story was intense, full of grief and powerful magics. It is a story about marriages and loss and it was simply beautiful. The story was filled to the brim with little character moments, full of insight into long-standing relationships in the series. It was completely engrossing and I highly recommend it. I love these characters and the ways Briggs has lets us grow to get to know them, sometimes transforming the way I thought about a character through small reveal.
This story starts as Brigg's Mercy Thompson's Silence Falls ends and I had fallen behind in my Mercy Thompson series reading, and this made me eager to catch back up again, although like the previous Alpha and Omega books, its stands apart. After going off and catching up, I found it particularly fascinating how Charles and Mercy revisit memories of the same time period, persons and relationships and see them so differently.
I understand two more Mercy Books and one more A&O book, with Moira and Tom are under contract and I am eager for more stories in this world.
(An ARC of Burn Bright was provided by the Publisher for review consideration. Burn Bright's expected publication date is March 6th, 2018 and it is available for at all the usual places).
(I had previously published slightly shorter versions of these reviews in my The Waning Days of 2017: Mini-Review Round-up)