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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 (166 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:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,984 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 23 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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5 of 6 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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2 of 2 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 Five Stars
Good follow up to first book won't be disappointed
Published 10 days ago by william
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting series
The second of the series, tended to grab me in the end. At that point I had invested enough time with these characters, that I wanted to hear their continuing story. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Think about this
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I like anything supernatural
Published 1 month ago by Natasha Isaacs
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series
Another great addition to this trilogy. I like seeing how the characters grow and aren't stuck being miserable or whiny. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michelle RB
4.0 out of 5 stars Unable to choose
I thought it was a good read. there was a lot of suspense. it kept you wondering what would happen next. I thought the one bad thing was the ending. She should have made a choice.
Published 1 month ago by nefertiti
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the original!!!
I loved Trail of Dead and flew through it in a single day. It was even better than the first book of the series, Scarlett is really growing and getting a handle on her abilities. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Brooke Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Trail of Dead
I enjoyed this book. This moved faster then the first book. I look forward to reading the next book. I want to find out what happens to all the characters. Eileen
Published 1 month ago by eileen4874
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved it!!! Can't wait for the next book in the series.
Published 1 month ago by Deidree
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Awesome read , I would recommend this book to anyone who love urban fantasy. The main female character showed amazing amount of strength in protecting her loved ones against her... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Evening
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved both the Scarlett Bernard novels. I already preordered number 3.
Published 2 months ago by sara galbraith
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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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