Review: Visions by Kelley Armstrong

Visions by Kelley Armstrong (UK edition cover)

Title: Visions (A Cainsville Novel, 2)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Sphere (14th August 2014)


Olivia Jones is smart, capable, loyal . . . and she’s the daughter of convicted serial killers. She’s also hiding a strange secret. She can read omens – subtle signs that warn her of trouble ahead. And if the omens are right, Olivia’s in mortal danger.


Taking refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Olivia is busy investigating her parents’ shocking case. But when the body of a missing girl is dumped in her car, she is forced to change tack. The trouble is, there’s only one man who can help her – Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who has betrayed her trust one too many times.


Gabriel and Olivia are convinced that someone in Cainsville is responsible for the murder. But secrets have a habit of staying buried in this small, eerily friendly town. And digging too deep has very dark consequences . . .

A twisting and atmospheric thriller, Visions is a fast-paced, gothic tale laced with passion, mystery and murder.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

VISIONS is the second book in Kelley Armstrong’s new adult series CAINSVILLE. VISIONS continues the story of Olivia Jones, who we first meet in OMENS (review), as she struggles to come to terms with the events and revelations of the previous novel. The story begins just weeks after the events of OMENS, and someone is not content to let things lie.

Having read and enjoyed OMENS, I have been really looking forward to reading the second novel in the CAINSVILLE series. VISIONS is a brilliant second book; it continues Olivia’s story brilliantly, and we start to learn more about the town and people of Cainsville, Illinois. The UK version of VISIONS also received a new  cover, which whilst I think it works well for the series – and the dusky cityscape with the bright red poppy is eye-catching – I did really love the cover of the first book.

As with the previous book in the series, Armstrong does a brilliant job mixing the different genres together and creating a coherent whole in terms of plot line. I actually think the mash-up of thriller and mystery, with the urban fantasy element really works well in terms of the plot line and Armstrong’s writing style. I also think that it really worked having Olivia as the main narrator of the book; there are a couple of other narrative voices interspaced between chapters providing an extra point of view for the reader, which also worked well in my opinion. As a narrator Olivia was believable, and reliable even when weird things were going on, on the page, which is always a bonus.

Most of the characters that inhabit the world of VISIONS, and of CAINSVILLE, are quite enigmatic. Armstrong creates a great sense of mystery in both the characters and the world. For me this worked, because especially in Olivia’s case it makes it relatively easy to identify with the characters because they don’t seem to know the whole picture either. I found Olivia to be a likeable character and narrator, and I really enjoyed reading her interactions with Gabriel Walsh and Ricky Gallagher.

On the whole I really enjoyed reading VISIONS, and think it is a brilliant addition to the CAINSVILLE narrative. My only slight complaint is that although I enjoyed the story, I’m still trying to work out what is going on in the overall story-arc of the series and how this book relates to it. If you are a fan of the urban fantasy genre, or like mysteries and thrillers then you should definitely check this series out if you haven’t had the chance to do so. Armstrong creates a really interesting and mysterious world, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more.

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