Melissa F. Olson


Dead Spots (2012), Trail of Dead (2013)


Dead Spots (2012)

dead-spotsScarlett Bernard is a Null. Magic doesn’t work within an extended radius around her, which means she cannot be bitten by vampires or werewolves or the curses of witches.

Therefore, the Old World has a use for her: clean up.

When there is a magical “accident,” Scarlett is called to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, she’s called to a mess that is too big for her–or three of her–and the police show up almost at the same time as she did.

Jesse Cruz is a newly promoted LAPD detective, trying to prove he deserves his promotion. He’s first on the scene of a horrible gruesome murder where he sees a young woman, and a dog that turns into a naked man and then back into a wolf.

There were many things I enjoyed about this story–I really enjoyed the mystery, and I always find different takes on vampires and werewolves to be fascinating. But I also enjoyed the little glimpses of how dealing with the supernatural makes dealing in the real world even harder.

We sat at one of the too-tall tables, and Cruz gave the barmaid a big grin, which had her hustling right over. I tried very hard not to roll my eyes, but to her credit, when she got a good look at my face, she did a classic double take, then glared over at Cruz. I opened my mouth to correct her assumption, but what was I going to say? Car accident? Doorknob? Anything I came up with— short of “a vampire hit me in the face”— would sound like a lame cover-up . We ordered beer and Diet Coke, and I was pretty sure the barmaid spit in his bottle of Heineken. I chose not to comment.


There was the classic paranormal romance cliche of two men being in love with the protagonist, who is the very special only one of her kind. That part–the two guys interested in her affections–irritated me.

Which is too bad, because I thought many of the elements of the relationship between Scarlett and Eli was very interesting. Scarlett is scarred by her past, and uninterested in a relationship, especially with someone who she believes is using her just for the relief from being a were. I really wish the relationship between Scarlett and Jesse had remained a professional one. I think there was a lot of potential for an interesting relationship, if it hadn’t veered into romantic threesome territory.

The mystery was interesting, but I’m not sure it was particularly solvable.

The story had potential, and since I have the second, I’m going to read it. But I really could have done without the love triangle.
Rating: 7/10

Published by 47North

Trail of Dead (2013)

Trail_DeadThe sequel to Dead Spots, it wasn’t horrible, but I would kick this book out of bed for eating crackers in an instant.

I still liked the idea of the story. And the mystery was interesting. But I hated… no, I take that back, I despised the love triangle. It was unnecessary, and I found it unbelievable.

I mean, take this description:

I may have forgotten to mention that even in a town full of movie stars, Jesse is alarmingly gorgeous, with dark Latino good looks on a muscled frame. He makes those perpetually topless Abercrombie & Fitch guys look like homely wannabes.

Yeah. Whatever.

I generally dislike tortured lovers in books, but these were exceptionally frustrating. I don’t see what either Eli OR Jesse saw in her–well, I saw what Eli saw in her–an escape from being a werewolf, which seems to be a pretty nice bonus for him. But to put up with all her shit?

And really, she made some patently stupid moves.

Here are the notes I made while reading.

Note one, page 166: “Idiot.”

Note two, page 173: “Moron. You have a damned cell phone. Use it.”

I did enjoy the mystery and world building, but it wasn’t worth putting up with all the rest of the crap.
Rating: 4/10

Published by 47North