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Just as their BUFFY novels were stuck in season three for ages, Pocket Books' ANGEL series seemed reluctant to make it past HERO, meaning we were stuck with the show's original line-up.

However, after featuring Doyle in as many original novels as episodes of the TV series (which, let's face it, is ridiculous given the timescale they have to have taken place in), they've finally dragged themselves up to date, or at least, more up to date. Not only does HAUNTED feature the later line-up of Angel, Cordy, Wesley and Gunn, but we've skipped forward to the second half of season two.

The disappointing UNSEEN crossover aside, Jeff Mariotte has generally produced the goods in both the ANGEL and BUFFY ranges, and HAUNTED is no exception.

With Doyle out of the picture, it's Cordelia's job to provide the visions that give Angel Investigations their cases. But there's just one problem - she's taking part in reality TV show Haunted House, which means she can't actually tell the others that her friend Kirsten St. Clair is in danger.

Of course, the resourceful Cordy finds a way, and while she tries to win the gameshow, it's up to Wesley, Gunn and Angel to find Kirsten.

Their investigation leads them to cross paths once again with Wolfram & Hart, as well as investigating the usual series of deaths.

Both storylines work well, only really coming together at the end, although neither the haunted house or demon aspects are particularly original. However, some good dialogue, interesting characters and good situations help minimise this. There's no Kate Lockley, but a couple of other recurring characters do feature, although one of them seemed a little gratuitous.

If I had to find fault, the scenes with Wesley on the beach seemed rather stereotyped, and perhaps not how he'd behave towards the end of season two, But the scene doesn't last too long, and overall this is a reminder of how good ANGEL was before the disaster that was season three came along. back to the top





RATING: 8/10