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

Melissa F. Olson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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: #3,938 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 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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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sort of a dull thud. June 14, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I read the synopsis for this book I became really interested in finding out how the author could make a new type of fantasy character -- at least this "gift" is new to me -- work in the standard witches, vampires, werewolves world. What I found was an interesting premise which landed with a dull thud. A dull null? Not interesting after all.

So Scarlett is a null which means that others lose their powers when within a specific distance from her and revert back to being human. This is an extremely rare talent so she is still learning how her gift works. "Others" hire her to be close to them for extended periods of time so they can feel/be human again. (Really? Why?) The thought of a vampire's potty habits needing a refresher course when in close proximity to a null really didn't set my heart racing. Scarlet's actual job within this fantasy world is to clean up crime or death scenes involving the aforementioned witches, vampires or werewolves so that the police do not become involved. I did not read the first book in this series and it was not a necessity because the author covered the back story pretty thoroughly so I had no trouble catching up, yet she didn't bore me to tears with it. That was one good aspect of the novel. In most other ways this novel and I obviously go in different directions. I don't enjoy reading the he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not or I think I like him but ten minutes later I think I like the other one romantic entanglements. Add to that the romances all left me decidedly cold because they were all lukewarm to begin with.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good paranormal serries
Olsen gives a new twist to the vampire/werewolf/witch stories with Scarlett's abilities. Look forward to these next books in this series.
Published 2 days ago by judy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I have a new best author and "character"! Can't wait for the next novel...
Published 4 days ago by Doug mcMichael
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story
this was a great story that kept me reading til all hours of the night. I cant wait for the next one
Published 10 days ago by Dana
5.0 out of 5 stars Trail of dead
wow! this book kept me totally intrigued. Witches, vampires and more. If you are looking to be entertained... here it is.
Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - Liked Book 1 Better
3.5 Stars.
Plot: The plot in this book was darker than the plot in the first book. I liked it at first, but I thought that it got a little bit too ridiculous at the end. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Laura
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Different, first read about a null. Better than the first book, and I liked that one too. Strong female character. Trouble finds her and she finds her way out. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Barbara
4.0 out of 5 stars A good second book
A solid follow up to the first book. Not quite as exciting for me, because the show down with Olivia felt a bit inevitable. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. F. Odom
4.0 out of 5 stars SCARLETT Bernard winner
Another winner from Melissa Olson. Lots of action non-stop with some twists. A must read for fantasy fans, those who like Charlene Harris or Kim Harrison will enjoy this novel.
Published 2 months ago by K.S
4.0 out of 5 stars Hmm
I find this book to be somewhat interesting but it seems to get too involved in mundane details that sometimes takes away from the plot. Read more
Published 3 months ago by asquali
4.0 out of 5 stars Great follow-up.
This is a great follow-up to Dead Spots. Characters are spot on and well thought out. Each has depth and definition. You really get to know each one personally. BTW...... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Eaglefire
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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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