Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Dead SpotsTitleDead Spots
Author: Melissa F. Olson
Series: Scarlett Bernard Book 1
Publish Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: 47North
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Perspective: First Person

Publisher’s Description: 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.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).

Invested Ivana says…

After reading Boundary Crossed, I wanted to go back to Dead Spots to remind myself of the world and the story.  I wanted to see if Dead Spots was as light and “romancy” as I remembered.  I think it does have more of a romantic leaning than Boundary Crossed, especially since there is a love triangle involved.  And Scarlet’s relationship with her roommate, Molly, has some comical tendencies.  But the story itself wasn’t as light as I was remembering.

Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Scarlett Bernard is a magical null and cleaner for the supernatural community in Los Angeles.  I like Scarlett – she’s practical and resourceful and determined – but she also has an annoying tendency to be too passive.  I think she sees herself as a victim of her circumstances and is a little bit self-pitying, which keeps her from believing she has worth and can take charge of her life.  It’s been a while since I’ve read the whole series, but I’m hoping this is one of the character’s growth-points.

Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ I’m not very fond of the vampires in this world – with the exception of Dashiell’s wife, Beatrice.  I do like the wolves, though.  Will and Eli seem like good guys.  I feel bad for Eli; he likes Scarlett, but she doesn’t take his interest seriously.  Jesse Cruz is the cop who accidentally stumbles into supernatural dealings.  I like him, but he’s a bit slow on the uptake.  His stubbornness seems to put his and Scarlett’s life on the line a bit too often.

World: ♥ ♥ ♥ In Scarlett’s world, supernaturals are attempting to avoid detection by the normals. Vampires, werewolves, and witches have a tentative working relationship, but none of them really like each other. In Los Angeles, where Scarlett lives, the vampires are in charge. They operate much like an old mob family and are not very nice – well, most of them aren’t very nice. Nulls like Scarlett are seen as valuable, but mostly in the way that property is valuable. Werewolves seem much friendlier.

Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ Dead Spots is mainly a mystery. Los Angeles vampires are being slaughtered brutally and no one knows how or why. Scarlett needs to solve the mystery before human cop, Jesse Cruz, gets pulled farther into the supernatural world and probably killed. There is an interesting surprise at the end, though I won’t spoil it for you here.

Narrator: ♥ ♥ ♥ I’ll admit that it took me a bit to warm up to Amy McFadden as the narrator.  Her voice for Scarlett is pretty brash… more like an East Coast accent than a West Coast one.  There wasn’t a great amount of difference in the voices of her males, either.  But I eventually got used to her and it was fine.

Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ Dead Spots is a good read and a good listen. Though it sometimes straddles the line between a serious urban fantasy and a fluffier paranormal romance, it is certainly entertaining.

Other reviews:

If you like this book…

There are two other books in the Scarlett Bernard series that you might try: Trail of Dead and Hunter’s Trail. The author also has two short stories set in the same world as Scarlett Bernard: “Bloodsick” and “Sell-by-Date“. The newest book in this world, Boundary Crossed, was published May 1, 2015.

No promotional consideration was granted for this review.


About Invested Ivana

I'm currently a freelance line editor, a book blogger at One Book Two, and lifetime reader. I like geeky things. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Red Adept Editing or any of my clients, the other reviewers on this site, or this site as a whole.

Posted on May 27, 2015, in Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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