Review: Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Posted July 22, 2014 by Lorna in Lorna, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 42 Comments

Review: Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson
Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson
Series: Scarlett Bernard #1
Published by 47north
Published on: October 30, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 293
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and any supernatural spells or demonic forces are instantly defused—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t get out so much as a “hocus pocus.” This special skill makes her a null and very valuable to Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, who utilize her ability to scrub crime scenes clean of all traces of the paranormal to keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark.

But one night Scarlett’s late arrival to a grisly murder scene reveals her agenda and ends with LAPD’s Jesse Cruz tracking her down to strike a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the undead underworld if she helps solve the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dash, the city’s chief bloodsucker, who fears his whole vampire empire is at stake. And when clues start to point to Scarlett, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.

I follow Amber Lynn Natusch(Author),on Facebook, and when she mentioned how much she loved this book on two different occasions recently, I had to check it out. I was pretty shocked to learn it was the author’s first book, because it sure reads like it’s from a more experienced author.

Scarlett Bernard is what’s known as a Null in the paranormal world. Whenever she comes in contact with a paranormal creature within a certain radius, the creature loses it’s powers and becomes human again. She lives with Molly, a vampire that was turned at age seventeen. Since Molly doesn’t want to spend eternity looking like she is underage, she wants to live around Scarlett so that she can age some of every moment she spends as a human. Of course she also wants to be able to walk in the sun when they leave the house together. Scarlett works for the head of the vampires, the alpha of the werewolves, and the head witch of the area. She cleans up crime scenes done by paranormal elements. I thought this premise was really unique. Understandably,most of the paranormal characters do not want to have anything to do with her or get close to her.

I love urban fantasy, and to me it’s only second to paranormal romance-usually. This book is an instance of really well written urban fantasy, with a component of paranormal romance, by way of an almost love triangle. I know that sounds confusing, but that’s my way of saying that there’s not a real romance, but there’s certainly some crushing going on between two males with this heroine. Jesse is a homicide detective that gets pulled into the paranormal world when he stumbles upon a horrific murder scene that Scarlet has just arrived at. Eli is a bartender werewolf that is a sort of booty call for Scarlett. He doesn’t want to be a werewolf so the reader(and Scarlett) wonders if that’s the real reason he wants to be with Scarlett. When she is assigned by her boss to work with Eli to hunt the murderer, and has to work with Jesse on the same case, things do get interesting and ultimately very dangerous. Most of the time I was team Jesse, but the more I got to know Eli, I decided I wasn’t team anyone. They were both great options for Scarlett-at least I thought so.

This book has some really bad villains. Dashiell, as head of the vampires in Los Angeles, may be her boss, but there’s no love lost there. If anything, she is in as much trouble with him as she is with the murderer. Will,the alpha of the local pack, is pretty much the opposite, and seems like a pretty nice guy. Of course the murderer goes into the bad category, and since this is a mystery, I am not naming names.

This book checked a lot of boxes for me. It was a mystery-thriller, with paranormal characters and the possibility for a romance or two to come in the rest of the series. I loved the premise, the characters, and thought it was a extremely well written mystery. Oh, and I didn’t even mention very much about the witches. I know some readers don’t enjoy the mystery-urban fantasy type reads, but I found this to be a good book and definitely worth the read. I need to find the time to read the next one, which I definitely plan on doing soon! FYI-There are already three books released in this series.


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I’m Lorna and I live in Maryland. Since retiring, I spend my time mostly reading and reviewing books. My favorite reads are Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Young Adult. I read a lot of indie books in addition to traditionally published books. Favorite paranormal creature? Vampires, but I am really liking werewolves more everyday.



42 responses to “Review: Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

    • I know what you mean about getting in at the beginning-so many times there are already 10-12 books in a series and I just kind of sigh and think no way am I starting now. Or I just read the first one 🙂

  1. Scarlett’s ability as a null sounds a lot like Alexia from the Parasol Protectorate series by Gial Carriger. It’s a really fun steampunk/paranormal-romance hybrid. I’m really glad to hear that you liked this one, since it checks all my boxes too! Cool heroine, intriguing mystery, hot werewolves, police procedural aspects. This one is going on the list! 🙂
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  2. My first book published was actually my 50th or so book written! I don’t know if that’s an exact #, but it has to be pretty close over the course of 20 years. Luckily, nobody will ever see the efforts I made while I was learning!

  3. Berls from Fantasy is More  

    I haven’t heard of this series before, but UF is my genre! I love that being a null doesn’t just work on magic spells in this but actually on supernatural beings like weres and vampires – that’s too cool that they can walk in the sun and age around her! I’m intrigued, going to go add it to my tbr. Great review Lorna!
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  4. Oh yes, I love a good UF and I always enjoy a mystery thriller and I actually like books that don’t always include a romance, this is my first encounter with this one so I need to know more.

  5. Ooh, Lorna! You’ve just added another book to my tbr! 🙂 Dark Spots does sound very unique. I’m very curious to see why some supes want to be near Scarlett and how the others deal with not wanting to be. Scarlett seems like a great heroine too. I’m glad you gave this one a shot. Lovely review!

  6. Well, just the mention of the main character being a Null and what that implies is more than enough to make super curious about this one! Also urban fantasry series that is on its first instalment sounds great, so I don’t have to try and catch up with too many previous books!

    Thanks for the discovery Lorna!
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