Book #91: Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

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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.

I am not sure if you have read any previous reviews, but I read a book by Melissa F. Olson that got me hooked in her urban fantasy world. When I found out that that book was essentially a different series from the first series, I went in search of the first one and grabbed this book. I wanted to learn more about Nulls, people with the ability to make the magic infused human again, and see more of Olson’s world.

Now you don’t have to read Scarlett Bernard’s series before delving into the Boundary Magic one, but it is recommended if you want to also read the novella that pretty much bridges the two series together. I happen to want to read that and decided to pursue this series so that I am ready for what was to come.

 I first tried the audiobook, but I didn’t care for the narrator. So, I bought the book instead. The hard copy, not an electronic form. I had a feeling I was going to like it. Suffice to say, I did.

Scarlett is a young woman with some serious issues. Her parents are dead and her relationship with her brother is rocky. Top that off with her ability and lifestyle, you have a pretty jaded character. I’m not saying she’s out of hope, but she isn’t really living. She’s just moving through the motions. That is until one clean job goes very awry.

Jesse Cruz is a police officer. He’s rather new to the precinct and has an idealism to him. He never knew about the Old World until a chance encounter and a very bloody crime scene thrusts him into this world.

Scarlett and Jesse have to work together to solve the crime. Their relationship is young and has a mentor/student quality to it. They feed off each other rather well and it does look like a good partnership is in the works. The book played off as a great beginning of an urban fantasy mystery/thriller.

The writing is good, but the switch between first and third person did throw me off a bit. It makes sense when you think about it though. The first person is in Scarlett’s point of view and the third person has to do with Jesse. Since the reader is essentially a Jesse, having those chapters of normalcy makes sense. It just threw me off in the beginning. I wasn’t expecting it.

All in all, the book was good enough that I went ahead and bought the second in the series. I wouldn’t say it was the best book I’ve read from Olson (I’ve only read this one and another), but this is her debut novel. The fact that I love her writing in the other series says that her craft only gets better.

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