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Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard) Paperback – October 30, 2012
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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 oversized dogs—not at all in that order. Dead Spots is her first novel.
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Top customer reviews
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Dead Spots is a typical urban fantasy genre. Heroine with tragic past and psychological wounds leading to poor social skills (check). Love triangle with Heroine, male from group of the world and male from another group of the world - the males who can kind of get along despite their rivalry so they will help and not hinder the Heroine (check). Uber powered supernatural mentors who may or may not support you depending on the political winds (check). Mystery with dead body, and more dead before everything is solved (check). Chick in cropped top with back towards reader on front cover to show her back tattoo - okay, the cover is unique.
The other unique thing is the woman's power is anti-magic instead of magic. A null. Made me pick up the book. The basic world is, again, the typical vampire-werewolf-mage. Even with the addition of null magic, I don't feel like the author made the urban fantasy world hers. The world feels generic - kind of like walking through a city street - some cities feel the same, and others, like Austin Texas, are wonderfully themselves. I should add Dead Spots is set in LA - with characters driving from one end of the city to another - you feel more like you are getting a map of highways then living in the city. I understand that LA might actually feel this way based on Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Character are similarly there, and not engaging. The boyfriends (mortal and werewolf) are disconnected - one seems like a crush and the other a one-night stand mistake. Every character is proper for the genre - just somehow doesn't draw a person in.
I like to read these types of books because they are comfortable like a worn pair of jeans. Unfortunately Dead Spots just feels worn.
Our emotionally damaged heroine makes her life more complicated than it needs to be, but since we feel sorry for her (altho I didn't) it's okay, both hot hunky dudes find her sexy and appealing. Of course there's two of them, these days apparently every fictional heroine needs two men panting after her.
It was a decent murder mystery, and I enjoyed that part of it. But I'm not interested in continuing the series. Neurotic women are just not my cup of tea.
Now you don't have to read Scarlett Bernard's series before delving into the Boundary Magic one, but it is recommended if you want to also read the novella that pretty much bridges the two series together. I happen to want to read that and decided to pursue this series so that I am ready for what was to come.
I first tried the audiobook, but I didn't care for the narrator. So, I bought the book instead. The hard copy, not an electronic form. I had a feeling I was going to like it. Suffice to say, I did.
Scarlett is a young woman with some serious issues. Her parents are dead and her relationship with her brother is rocky. Top that off with her ability and lifestyle, you have a pretty jaded character. I'm not saying she's out of hope, but she isn't really living. She's just moving through the motions. That is until one clean job goes very awry.
Jesse Cruz is a police officer. He's rather new to the precinct and has an idealism to him. He never knew about the Old World until a chance encounter and a very bloody crime scene thrusts him into this world.
Scarlett and Jesse have to work together to solve the crime. Their relationship is young and has a mentor/student quality to it. They feed off each other rather well and it does look like a good partnership is in the works. The book played off as a great beginning of an urban fantasy mystery/thriller.
The writing is good, but the switch between first and third person did throw me off a bit. It makes sense when you think about it though. The first person is in Scarlett's point of view and the third person has to do with Jesse. Since the reader is essentially a Jesse, having those chapters of normalcy makes sense. It just threw me off in the beginning. I wasn't expecting it.
All in all, the book was good enough that I went ahead and bought the second in the series. I wouldn't say it was the best book I've read from Olson (I've only read this one and another), but this is her debut novel. The fact that I love her writing in the other series says that her craft only gets better.