Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Scarlett Bernard, #1
URBAN FANTASY

rating

Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and any supernatural spells or demonic forces are instantly defused—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t get out so much as a “hocus pocus.” This special skill makes her a null and very valuable to Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, who utilize her ability to scrub crime scenes clean of all traces of the paranormal to keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark.

But one night Scarlett’s late arrival to a grisly murder scene reveals her agenda and ends with LAPD’s Jesse Cruz tracking her down to strike a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the undead underworld if she helps solve the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dash, the city’s chief bloodsucker, who fears his whole vampire empire is at stake. And when clues start to point to Scarlett, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.

“Nulls are the wrecking ball of the supernatural world: we swing in and out of situations, creating damage and chaos. But sometimes in a really useful way.”

Dead Spots is the first of a series that currently has three books out. I haven’t dug into it far enough to see if it’s a completed trilogy. I have the other two books to read, and planned to this month, but you know how that can go.

Scarlett is the go-to girl for the supernatural leaders in town, namely the Master Vampire and Werewolf pack leader. She’s called in to clean up messes and “accidents” before the humans finds the remains and get a witch hunt brewing. In this series world-building, supernaturals are under the radar and humans are blissfully unaware of their existence.

Scarlett is a null where the magic of all ceases to work in her radius, so she’s able to calm situations, fights and such, since vampires will turn temporarily human and lycathropes will instantly shift out of their forms. Some don’t like this ability, especially the head honcho of the vamps who doesn’t want any aging or temporarily vulnerability, while her roommate actually likes the temporary aging since she was changed when she was too young looking to be considered respectable in modern times. Lycanthropes enjoy the power since in this series worldbuilding, lycanthropy is a constant struggle all month, and being around Scarlett gives peace and calmness.

While working with a human detective who saw more than he should, she is given an ultimatum to solve a crime in two days – otherwise the dickish vamp leader will take her life in exchange for politics.

The pacing is fine, although not as fast as one may hope. Scarlett’s job is rather a turn-off and I got disgusted with her covering up certain crimes like the humans didn’t matter. I especially felt bad for the villain. The lead vamp is an absolute ass with little redeeming quality. If I were in her shoes, I’d hate the job and it would bother me more than it does her – which is one reason I couldn’t warm up to the character.

What usually happens, happened – the story got better as it went along.

There is an unfortunately love triangle brewing too.

The cliffhanger is slightly cheesy with the surprising twist but still, I’m curious where that will go in the next book. Since I already own the next two books, will read and give the series a full chance.




   Book Quotes:

"The world had gotten a lot scarier, but it had gotten a lot more interesting, too.”

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