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

Melissa F. Olson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 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.

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: 503 KB
  • Print Length: 310 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612183123
  • 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: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,601 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 24 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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10 of 11 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars least I finished it February 22, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Trail of the Dead sat in my queue waiting. Something nagged me about it, delaying my jump to read the 2nd installment of the series, which started with Dead Spots, but finally I read....

...And was reminded why this sat on 'kindle shelf' almost a year.

1) There isn't anyone to like. Even Scarlett, who has regressed. Her potential is undeveloped in this book. Scarlett spent the book whining, avoiding, woe-is-me pouting, & a hypocrite..only to settle on martyrdom (yawn). There was a lot of gold to mine in Scarlett/Olivia past, especially psychologically. However, the author seemed to go for 'shock' instead, which fell flat boring. Olivia is talked up as super villain/fearful sociopath. For me the writing never lived to or brought forth the heart pounding fear factor a villain of this magnitude should. There were plot driven murders, but those were...dull. The remaining cast of characters are cardboard & no one for the reader to cheer for. The typical suitor triangle dull. Jesse, the clear front runner is lame. He's supposed to be a very moral upstanding by the book cop but picks & chooses which morals he upholds & those remain in flux also, discarded in a quick 'mind change'. He has a new girlfriend...but lusts for of Scarlett all the time & only seems to want the GF when he needs to feel 'normal'. He IS normal! Dashiell, Will, Kirsten, & Eli are one dimensional dull. Nothing to like...or even really dislike...or fear...about any of them. Molly, the vampire roommate is probably the most likable of all, yet still suffers from under development.

2) POV switches abruptly between chapters which wrecks the flow and is jarring.

3) Oy, the writing of Jesse POV: "Jesse felt like he'd just taken a shot.....", "Jesse banged on Scarlett's door..
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Trail of Dead (A Scarlett Bernard Novel Book 2)
Awesome series.
Published 3 days ago by katfur
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fun and exciting story. Can't wait to read the next one.
Published 6 days ago by Marc Horton
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting and well written. good book
Nice next part of the story Can't wait to see what happens next Scarlett is not byee sting and not cliche.
Published 11 days ago by Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
An imaginative story line with deep characters that I enjoyed getting to know. I'm looking forward to the next one.
Published 17 days ago by n8urgrl
5.0 out of 5 stars Trail of dead
This was the 3rd book in the series and it keeps my interest to go to the next book. I have enjoyed them all and like all the characters.
Published 17 days ago by Kirsten S.
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not bad
Published 20 days ago by Paul Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars next please
A solid fiction piece, very enjoyable, bit of a new twist on old ideas, and love seeing what the author comes up with next, well on to the third book
Published 24 days ago by JRyan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, great writing
Excellent book, great writing. HOWEVER, the author has committed the same sin that many do, she uses the word "bemused" to mean "amused", and that's not correct. Read more
Published 24 days ago by J. Lance
5.0 out of 5 stars Liked this
good character development excellent story line I am really enjoying this series hope you will too I was pleased with the writing
Published 25 days ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully done
Kept me interested and on edge… I found myself appreciating the subtle ways the characters all seem to work together and I couldn't` put it down. Looking forward to the next one.
Published 1 month ago by Alice M Hurlbert
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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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