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Trail of Dead (Scarlett Bernard Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Melissa F. Olson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (228 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Book 2 of the Scarlett Bernard series

As a null, Scarlett Bernard possesses a rare ability to counteract the supernatural by instantly neutralizing spells and magical forces. For years she has used her gift to scrub crime scenes of any magical traces, helping the powerful paranormal communities of Los Angeles stay hidden. But after LAPD detective Jesse Cruz discovered Scarlett’s secret, he made a bargain with her: solve a particularly grisly murder case, and he would stay silent about the city’s unearthly underworld.

Now two dead witches are found a few days before Christmas, and Scarlett is once again strong-armed into assisting the investigation. She soon finds a connection between the murders and her own former mentor, Olivia, a null who mysteriously turned into a vampire and who harbors her own sinister agenda. Now Scarlett must revisit her painful past to find Olivia—unless the blood-drenched present claims her life first.

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews

    About the Author

    Melissa F. Olson was born and raised in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and studied film and literature at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. After graduation, and a brief stint bouncing around the Hollywood studio system, Melissa moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where she eventually acquired a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, a husband, a mortgage, two kids, and two comically oversize dogs—not at all in that order. She is the author of Dead Spots.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 865 KB
    • Print Length: 310 pages
    • Publisher: 47North (June 4, 2013)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00AW147EC
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    4.4 out of 5 stars
    4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Naivete and a Lack of Character Growth June 15, 2013
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    This is the second book in a new series, but don't worry as this can be read as a stand-alone. The author goes through great pains doing a lot of rehashing, especially with the main characters.

    I did expect some character growth with this novel, unfortunately that did not happen. If anything, Scarlett has taken a bit of a trip backwards on the self-doubt train and is constantly bemoaning about her life and her friends and what her `gift' has done to both and what it will do in the future. There is a lot of Scarlett revisiting her past and a lot of her blaming herself for anything and everything that ever happened to her and her family. It gets to a point that she will purposely walk into sure death if she thinks it will save someone else. Of course, that is if you are looking at things through a very naïve persons eyes and not with some logic!

    The plot itself was somewhat interesting, but with a little too much back story and history to keep me sufficiently interested.

    What is interesting is that the story is told from two of the main characters - both Scarlett and the human police officer Jesse.

    The ending almost made the entire book worthwhile, but you must be a very patient reader to get to that point. There is enough left open to set up for the next book in this series, with both the `love-triangle' and with Scarlett's health and her abilities. Somehow, I have a funny feeling her abilities, beyond her null-ness will be called into question and will be growing to fit the next situation she manages to get herself into. And I think that is what bothers me most of all -Scarlett manages to get herself into these messes and then expects others to get her out of them.
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    11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - much better than 1st book June 14, 2013
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    Four and a half star - rounded up to five.

    Such an improvement over the first book.

    The world-building in the Dead Spots felt generic except for the addition of a null crime scene cleaner. In the second book Trail of Dead (Scarlett Bernard), the uniqueness of the world - a labyrinth of a new mythology building on the boring cinderblock foundation of the first - has come to life. Suddenly the series is looking interesting.

    (Note added to review: In the first book, the establishing scene defining her abilities and specialty magic involves the cleanup of a bird. The effect and non-effects of her null abilities as established there are important in the second case. Not that you need to read the first book to enjoy the second. Just the two situations together made some very good world-building.)

    The main character was more engaging, as she begins to move beyond her damage and take control of her life. The murder mystery felt more urgent. In the first book, the urgency felt artificially enforced. In the second book, the ticking clock device felt real. Like the rush of an oncoming car.

    True the Romantic Heroes both remain neutered - and I had hoped the policeman would wander off with his new love interest so we can stick with the more interesting combo of Scarlett and the regions' second-in-command werewolf (who needs to work on being an "Alpha" male hero). Hopefully in the next book the author will figure out how to make toes curl from the romance as well as the mystery.

    Anyway, many of the issues that made the first book only so-so have been fixed.
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    6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Scarlett Gets Better and Stronger July 2, 2013
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    This installment of the series gave us a stronger and more confident Scarlett, the story was a great thriller and the love triangle is still as confusing.

    Her old mentor is killing people and she seems to have a witch to help her, but the problem is that the killings seem to be getting closer to her friends and love ones. She is going to have to hook back up with Jesse to get this one solved and as usual Scarlett might not be the strongest person in the supernatural world but nobody gets to mess with her friends.

    This story covers a lot of ground and after the first book this one seems to be a bit smoother and a bit better written. Our heroine borders on TSTL a few times but never crosses the line into idiot but it was close <grin>.

    This story revolves around the love she feels for her friends and male love interests, plus in the course of the story you get more background on Scarlett. The past of her and Olivia will come to a head and Scarlett grows into her powers a bit more which I feel may have problems for the future.

    Bottom Line: Great story, slightly better than Dead Spots but don't try to read this book without reading book 1 or you are going to lose a lot of back story and be confused. 5 Stars for mystery, great story and keeping the reader hooked without using cliff hangers.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Second Installment of an Entertaining Series July 15, 2013
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    It's good to be home again. For about five seconds, anyway.

    Magic null and Old World cleaner Scarlett Bernard hasn't even made it out of the LA airport after a red-eye flight from New York before LAPD Detective Jesse Cruz is dropping a new case in her lap and glaring at her like she caused it all. Dragging her out to the crime scene and questioning her as if she hadn't just gotten back in the state, the gorgeous detective definitely seems to have an issue with Scarlett's occupation and connection to the vampires, werewolves, and witches who comprise the Old World presence in Los Angeles.

    Though that's not really a surprise, given how their single date had ended prior to her trip.

    Unfortunately, Jesse is also correct about his take on the crime scene. It definitely looks like it has been cleaned, indicating at least some Old World connection. Scarlett just hasn't been back in town long enough to know what sort.

    Pressed into investigating a crime she didn't commit...again...doesn't exactly thrill her, but Scarlett soon realizes she's got bigger concerns. Two witches are already dead, and two humans with an eerie connection to Scarlett's past are killed. That's more than enough carnage to let Scarlett know that her formerly dead, now undead mentor Olivia has decided that three months of reprieve is long enough. She's coming for Scarlett, and leaving a trail of blood and death in her wake.

    If Scarlett doesn't figure out Olivia's game plan and stop her soon, everyone she cares about will fall victim to the same bats*** crazy psychopath who killed her parents.


    I liked Olson's series debut Dead Spots.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing dead about this trail
    This book continues the adventures of Scarlett Bernard. Artfully written, the story unfolds masterfully with characters just like you and me. Read more
    Published 4 days ago by Marty B's girl
    5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book!
    Really good 2nd book. I love all the characters and I will be getting book 3 to see what happens next!
    Published 5 days ago by Nik
    5.0 out of 5 stars Trail Dead book
    Love the book (and volume 1) not the typical teens story which was refreshing.
    Published 6 days ago by Janet Lehoullier
    5.0 out of 5 stars great read
    This book was fast paced and highly entertaining. I looked forward to reading this book and seeing the characters unfold.
    Published 6 days ago by M. Burke
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Couldn't put down the book!
    Published 8 days ago by Debbie
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Good storyline.
    Published 8 days ago by Jena Young
    2.0 out of 5 stars Can't do it!!!!
    She's still whiny and immature,still selfish and Hypocritical and how she treats people like carp and no one gives her her comeuppance? Read more
    Published 8 days ago by Kindle Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Headed to Amazon to get book three
    I don't usually give out spoilers, and I will try not to this time. Let's just say Scarlett comes into her own by the time this book is finished. Read more
    Published 9 days ago by G. Jack Powell
    5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding book
    This book is a wonderful mixture of vampire, werewolf, and witchcraft all magically combined into one good read. Definitely a book worth reading.
    Published 9 days ago by Stephanie Ellis
    4.0 out of 5 stars Naration is less than optimal.
    The story is interesting and entertaining. I'm not fond of the narrator. She over dramatizes, adding inflection where it's really not needed invoking a adolescent interpretation... Read more
    Published 10 days ago by K
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    More About the Author

    Melissa Olson was born and raised in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and studied film and literature at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. After graduation, and a brief stint bouncing around the Hollywood studio system, Melissa landed in Madison, WI, where she eventually acquired a master's degree from UW-Milwaukee, a husband, a mortgage, a teaching gig, two kids, and two comically oversized dogs, not at all in that order. She loves Madison, but still dreams of the food in LA. Literally. There are dreams. Learn more about Melissa, her work, and her dog at

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