Lake Silence & Wild Country - the World of the Others series
Anne Bishop returns to the world of the Others, an alternate Earth where the Terra Indigene were the apex predators long before Humans came along, with Lake Silence and Wild Country. Lake Silence is unrelated to the original series with all new characters in a small Other controlled town about a middle aged woman who finds herself caught between her scuzzy ex-husband and the surprisingly friendly Others. Surprising because they usually prefer to eat humans rather than help them. The Wild Country returns to the towns of Bennet and Prairie Gold and overlaps with the end of the original series. It turns into an old west style showdown with vampires and wolf shifters squaring off against human outlaws determined to take over Bennet.
Lake Silence: Vicki DeVine got a quirky old house on the shore of Lake Silence as her part of the divorce settlement and decided to turn it into a rustic bed and breakfast. With acres of woods and the only private beach around she has every reason to expect success. What she doesn't expect is to find her first guest trying to heat a human eyeball in the microwave. Her guest is apparently not human, there is a murdered man on her property, and life is suddenly very complicated. Before long the crime scene investigators are trying to pin a murder charge on her, the scuzzy ex claims she doesn't own the land, and the local vampires are protecting her from a human group known as the Tie Clip Club. As with the original series Bishop does a good job of portraying the inhuman mannerisms of the terra indigene. Here there is only the thinnest barrier separating humans from the Elder terra indigene which take some unique forms in this town. Unfortunately, the villains are almost interchangeable with those from the Lakeside books with their greed and lack of survival instincts. Seriously, two thirds of the human population just got wiped out but these guys are certain that they can handle the terra indigene.
Wild Country focuses on the formerly human town of Bennet, which was wiped out in the original series, and the neighboring Intuit community of Prairie Gold. Due to the railroad station the terra indigene decided to interview humans, Intuits and Simple Life mostly, and settle them into a mixed community where they would be living and working with some of the terra indigene. It was supposed to be a small experiment but humans have come from all over after hearing about opportunities for those willing to work hard. Bennet has become a kind of frontier town run by the vampire Tolya but they have a little of everything. The Sheriff is a Wolf shifter which is more like a wolf that can shift into human shape than the stereotypical werewolf. A Harvester that basically looks human but can drain life energy by looking at creatures decides to open an old west themed saloon. They have a human veterinary student and now their newest deputy is not only human but female. Trouble comes when a clan of Intuit outlaws is looking to settle down somewhere and decides that Bennet is the place. So far Bishop has only shown the Intuits as hiding from normal humans to avoid persecution and working well with the terra indigene so making them the villains was probably the most original aspect of this book.
Of the two I preferred Lake Silence since it was completely new content. It could be read without reading the original series that began with Written in Red but I don't recommend that since there is a lot of background information about the world and species in those books. Since Wild Country is a continuation of one plot line from those books and there is character overlap it definitely should be read after that series. Overall though, it had more character growth than Lake Silence since it has a longer timeline. The stupidity of the bad guys is a common problem with Bishop's books where she spends more time developing her heroes which gives them a YA feel. Its still a fascinating world with its slight edge of violence and horror centered around creatures that can manage to look mostly human to interact with us but they are definitely not human inside.
A third book, Crow Bones, taking place in Lake Silence will be out March 2022.