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Scarlett Bernard #2

Trail of Dead

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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.

310 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 4, 2013

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About the author

Melissa F. Olson

27 books1,703 followers
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 www.MelissaFOlson.com.

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5 stars
2,160 (34%)
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3 stars
1,227 (19%)
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31 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 351 reviews
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,448 reviews2,319 followers
February 12, 2019
Trail of Dead by Melissa F Olson and narrated by Amy McFadden is book two in the series. This fantasy novel has Scarlet dealing with an ex-friend then foe who is still after Scarlet and her new friends. Murders, witches, werewolves, vampires,and magic. Lots of magic and suspense with complicated romance thrown in!
Scarlet is a Null which means she cancels out other magic when close. Weres shift back to humans, vampires are briefly human again, and magic from witches won't work. She has also learned other tricks that she has to keep secret.
Great narration! Really adds to the story!
Profile Image for Hayat.
570 reviews169 followers
May 18, 2018
First reading: 4 stars
First Re-read: 1.5 stars

DNFed @ 15% and it's all due to Scarlett Bernard, the heroine of this trilogy. I could just about tolerate her in book one, Dead Spots but the plot and side characters got me through the tough spots. in Trail of Dead, Scarlett is even more unbearable, easily manipulated, whiny, lets others control her from day one, falls for the same tricks over and over again, she's dumb, she does nothing to gain her freedom and be her own woman, she pretends to be a strong woman and she's anything but that.

Her love life is a mess and it's all thanks to her. She treats Eli (the guy who loves her beyond a shadow of doubt) like shit, and is instead hot for Jesse because of his movie star good looks even though he makes her feel like shit. Scarlett can't make up her mind between the guys making for a bland love triangle.

And that last minute magical save she performed... she doesn't even know how she did it in book one! Scarlett Bernard is a shallow character, she's immature, annoying, stupid and a mess; if it wasn't for her I'd give this book a 4 star. I've skimmed through this book and there's no improvement, just more complications and more of the same old Scarlett Bernard.

Re-reading this book has really shown me that my understanding and taste in books has changed over the years, and I'm thankful for that. I used to read for entertainment and go with the flow, now I'm drawn to character development and depth, a logical progression, a good plot development, a logical reason why things are the way they are and a strong intelligent heroine.

Evolving and changing as a reader is part of the journey and half the fun of reading. And I can't wait to see how my perception and taste in books change in the years to come.
Profile Image for Mara.
2,467 reviews228 followers
June 19, 2013

Trail of Dead managed to be an incredible boring read with a even more annoying heroine.

I found Dead Spots likeable, but not that great. ToD was a book I almost DNFed.
I accused Scarlett to be too much of a victim in book 1. Well, she didn't grow an inch. She actually reverts even more into YA territory, making her really unbearable. She's dumb, she's stupid, she's whiny (WHINY). She can't think beyond her "range". It's unbelievable. Her brother has already been used as an hostage, again he could. But she does absolutely nothing to get away from the Other's thumbs.

You ended up book 1 thinking that maybe she was going to be something else in this sequel. Nope. Worse. Both books actually end in the same way, with her doing something that shouldn't be possible (the exact same thing). Hopefully the next book will see a real improvement. Not that I plan to read it, unless I see an incredible review that tells me something has changed.

I managed to end up the book because half of it was from Jesse's point of view and, as such, ok. I would have shot myself, or the book, if all of it had been from Scarlett's first person pov.

There's really nothing I can save here, with the exception of the last pages when Jesse grows a pair and confront Dashiell losing at the same time the stick-in-the-arse, holier-than-thou attitude.

The love triangle is ever present. I'm not one to mind, but I'd like to understand what she sees in any of them. Jesse is the gorgeous one, Eli the teddy bear. Not much of characterization here. But then you do really, really wonder what they see in her. < grin >.

The Scarlett Bernard series has a very nice and pretty original world (given the contest) and a good world-building. I never got the idea I was info-dumped, because all info got into a logical contest (the investigation and giving explanation to a ignorant person).

Unfortunately characterization was incredibly weak. We have a childish young woman whose background makes no sense (at 18 when Olivia took her in she couldn't have been so malleable to become her puppet). Two love interests who can't be defined apart except for looks and a evil counterpart (make them two) who's nothing more than cardboard (and the easy way out).
Profile Image for Erin (PT).
559 reviews92 followers
July 10, 2013
Trail of Dead is very similar to its predecessor, Dead Spots. That is, on the one hand, it's a fast, enjoyable read that I stayed up late to finish and, on the other hand, it retains pretty much all the same flaws and foibles that annoyed me about the first book.

Indeed, in terms of Scarlett and her relationships with women, I feel like there was a step backwards, especially with Molly, Scarlett's roommate. A part of me wants to handwave this as consequences/damage from the last book, i.e. but it's not really pitched in those terms and, if that's what Olson was going for, she could've lampshaded it a lot better.

I do think, however, that Olson did a much better job of showing Scarlett's damage, otherwise, in ways that were poignant without being overwrought or exasperating. Yes, Scarlett spends a lot of time isolating herself and pushing people away, but the reasons for it are fairly transparent and, given how (relatively) short a time it's been since Olivia's death, not unreasonable. Like any survivor of abuse, Scarlett is a work in progress and, unlike a lot of similarly emotionally constipated heroines, she's is aware of both her damage and why she behaves the way she does, not justifying it as normal or reasonable. It makes it a lot more palatable.

Given how well Olson handles Scarlett's mental/emotional damage, though, it's disappointing that she feels the need to reinvent/redefine Scarlett's former mentor Olivia as a villain with clinical mental illness, falling into a long and squicky tradition of "crazy = evil" and digging herself deeper by adding to the mix.

I also find myself a little frustrated with the format of Olson's stories. In both this and the last book, we're presented with a central mystery for Scarlett (& friends) to solve, but in both books, the mystery is never solved, it's always Scarlett (& friends) following behind the villain(s) until the villain(s) reveal themselves. It has the effect of making the heroes seem incompetent, for never taking the time to think things through or figure anything out (until too late, anyway) and it makes the villains seem sad and pathetic for being so quick/stupid as to give their plans away and/or to be unable to execute those plans after having more or less invited the good guys to try and stop them. It felt especially egregious this time around because

In any case, there was also a lot to like about the book. Though I'm not at all opposed to romance in the stories I read, it often feels both requisite and forced, especially the inevitable romantic triangles. Though the romantic triangle is here, too, I like how it never feels like the focus of the story and that all the parties are able to work together with a minimum of drama or overwrought feelings. In most triangles, too, I feel like one of the romantic choices feels earmarked as the endgame choice, the other person kept just viable enough to propel the "tension" through several books; but I actually find both Eli and Jesse very likeable and, though they're both obviously and explicitly interested in Scarlett, I like how neither one of them seems like they're pining, going on with their lives in Scarlett's absence and how neither one of them gets annoyingly pushy with their interest. The attraction is a fact, but not one that any of them seem to feel is imperative to act on. That's pretty refreshing in its rarity.

I actually do like Scarlett quite a lot. I can't even quantify how many UFs have heroines that I can't stand and I hang on for my love of the secondary characters; for Scarlett to be such a likeable heroine is a boon I don't take for granted.

And then, despite my nitpicks and complaints, I do enjoy the books quite a lot. I picked up Trail of Dead at this specific time as a kind of breather from another book I'm reading that's just too depressing to be read at bedtime, but as the days passed, I found myself picking up Trail of Dead over the other book because I was just enjoying it more. What else really needs to be said?
Profile Image for Lena.
1,136 reviews238 followers
November 25, 2019
Reread: I agree with my previous review.

I can see the early Anita Blake emerging from this book.

Jesse Cruz is like Richard with his impractical and dangerous moral high ground. Dashiell and Eli have Jean Claude's practicality with none of his dripping Frenchy sexy - I consider this an improvement.

Scarlett herself is slowly resolving to be more of a bad ass in the face of fear, she even says "Bully for me," which is very Blake.

Still, there are long "I've decided to drown myself in guilt" monologues which plague characters like Mercy Thompson and Rachel Morgan - I really dislike this in a female character.

As a story, this one was a little better than the first.
Profile Image for Katy.
1,293 reviews283 followers
May 11, 2013
Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of urban fantasy, those looking for a female-lead urban fantasy with less romance and more action
Book Available: June 4, 2013 in Kindle and Paperback formats
Trigger Warnings: murder, violence

My Thoughts: This is the second book in the Scarlett Bernard series, following Dead Spots, which I read and reviewed (linked where allowed) in March, 2013.

One interesting thing about the style of these books is that the point of view goes back and forth between Scarlett and Jesse. Scarlett's sections are in first person and Jesse's in third person, which is a little strange, but it works. I definitely like this sort of thing better than a limited omniscient point of view, or head-hopping. This provides us enough different perspective to tell a bit more of the story, but not so much that it confuses the reader in the end.

I really have been enjoying the Scarlett Bernard series because there isn't the focus on romance that so many female-lead urban fantasies (or FLUF as one of the people I follow calls them) have. Scarlett is busy with her work and while there is some romance, and even a sort-of triangle, it isn't the focus and it isn't obtrusive. I really enjoy this. I also really love the secondary characters. Dashiell, especially amuses me. “I believe the term you humans use is ahem...” for instance, or the way startling Jesse with his speed amuses him. He may be inhuman and terrifying at times, but I really like his character. I also liked Runa and feel bad for her the way things turned out. Kirsten is also a great character and I hope an upcoming book will provide more of a focus on her. Molly, of course, is also a very good character.

So, all in all, as is obvious, I do highly recommend these books for people who have been looking for a female-lead urban fantasy that is less romance and more action. These are great books and I will definitely be following this series. There is no word on when the next book will come out, but I'm really hoping for book 3 next year!

Disclosure: I received a paperback ARC from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: 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.
Profile Image for Ina.
229 reviews48 followers
December 18, 2017
3.5 stars

I wanted to give this book higher rating, because I really liked the plot (Olivia teaming up with the unknown witch, Golem, murders, etc), but I was so sick of Scarlett that I couldn't bring myself to give it 4 stars. In the first book, I liked Scarlett, but in this one, I just wanted her to drive off a cliff and die peacefully without complicating everyone's lives.

1) Eli - Eli does absolutely nothing wrong in this book, yet Scarlett treats him like a trash, barely even looks at him and keeps drooling over Jesse.
2) Jesse - Scarlett is acting like a bitch towards him too, but at the same time, she is (excuse my language) all wet when she sees him.
3) Will - even though I understand that it pissed Scarlett off that Will didn't tell her some things about Olivia sooner, she still overreacted and acted like a spoiled little b....
4) Everyone else - let's just put it out there - everyone was trying to work together to save Scarlett and she was acting like an ungrateful little brat.

In the end, Scarlett pulled herself together, but that's not how life works. You shouldn't only act like a decent human being when shit hits the fan. I appeaciate what she did for Eli in the end, but I don't think it's enough. I'm still curious about how the story will end, but the love triangle is REALLY ruining it for me.
Profile Image for Carol.
698 reviews36 followers
June 13, 2019
I loved everthing about this book if I could give it anther star I would.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,277 reviews42 followers
December 1, 2018
Scarlett and Jesse now have to track down Olivia, a former null now a vampire, who is threatening Scarlett and the stability of the LA Old World. Because Olivia and Scarlett have a troubled past, they know each other pretty well. Olivia is always one step ahead of them and seems to be working with someone else that is very powerful. At some point, it becomes clear that Olivia is going to target the people that Scarlett cares about the most. Scarlett must figure out what to do before someone gets hurt.

Scarlett is one of my favorite characters. She is so sassy and sarcastic, but she also really cares about her friends. This was a good plot. Olivia was a really messed up character and made for a good archenemy. I've got to keep reading to answer all the questions I have on the subplots since I skipped ahead and read the other series with Scarlett that happens later in her life. I really wish I had read them in order! Duh!
Profile Image for Jeanny.
1,842 reviews142 followers
June 26, 2015
Either the protagonist is shortsighted or ignorant. Is she's not familiar with basic Physics: Newton's Third law? Certainly she's not naive. She can't possibly make a decision like changing every cell & a character's whole existence lightly can she? I suspect she did....
Profile Image for J.A. Ironside.
Author 57 books309 followers
December 11, 2018
More 3.5 stars but still a solid hit of urban fantasy. I really do like Scarlett and I have grown fond of Jesse. I like the fact that Olson is skillfully skirting the potential love triangle and in general everyone is acting like an adult, despite Scarlett being seriously committment phobic. My one niggle is that the actual feelings involved aren't very deep judging from how the word 'love' is tossed around and attached first to one person then another. Perfectly possible to be single if you can't be with the one you love is all I'm saying. Single and happy too.
Anyway the story was interesting. We learn more about Scarlett's past. I found the main arc a shade less engaging but I think that's personal preference. On to book 3.
Profile Image for Trish R..
1,712 reviews43 followers
September 25, 2019

I’m not sure about this one. Scarlett, who’s a null, thinks she’s in love with Jesse, but he was in love with Runa until he found out she was a witch, then Scarlett laid down with an unconscious Eli when it ended. She needs to make up her mind. I don’t like females like that, so I probably won’t read the 3rd book.

It was pretty exciting all the way through, Olivia and Mallory were so vicious it was crazy but as far as Scarlett goes she only stops witches from using their magic when they get within so many feet of her. And she's constantly taking off to do something herself then gets her ass in trouble. She’s mostly just someone who cleans up after supernatural killings and should stay with her job.

Parts were good but not all of it. I usually read/listen to a book a day but this one took me 6 days, so that tells you something about the book.

There no romance or sex whatsoever and the F-bomb was used 11 times.

As to the narration: Love, love, love Amy McFadden. Her voices and reading emotions are just great.
Profile Image for Kathy Kennerley.
519 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2023
I loved it! This series has now been added to my list of favorite Urban Fantasy writers to follow. Great mystery and world setting.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,376 reviews1,050 followers
January 21, 2018
I wasn’t blown away by the first book, but I found in enjoyable in a few spots so decided to try again and see if I warmed up more to the characters in its sequel.

While the mystery is a little lackluster, the story isn’t a bad follow-up to the first. I probably enjoyed it more simply because I did thaw to the characters some. Tossing in the nemesis Olivia and having it tied in with Scarlett’s past and what she’s discovering about herself helped, and of course I enjoyed that she is starting to second-guess Jesse’s point that she needs to pay attention to some of the harm her “Job” is doing.

The book uses multiple person point of view, which I don’t care for with certain Urban Fantasies. Strangely when Scarlett is on stage the writing is first person, but with Jesse it is third-person. It’s not as awkward as it sounds, but it’s not a typical technique. The focus isn’t on romance at all, although there is some brewing still between Scarlett and two characters. There’s a mini love triangle, kind-of, but it’s not written in as an important or urgent thing so I was able to ignore it.

I’m still not a big fan of the head honcho vamp but Dashiell doesn’t have me want to chase him around with a stake as badly as he did in the first book. Some of his dialogue is needed for humor, even if his annoying deadlines still grate. Kirsten is a well-done character who leads the witch world and seems a decent enough sort. Jessie is still just okay, kind of bland. There isn’t anything new with his cop persona and he doesn’t shine otherwise in any unique way.

Scarlett isn’t someone I bond with either. She accepts the inevitability of her horrible circumstances and only slowly is trying to do something about it. She still doesn’t have as much heart as I’d hoped with all that Jessie is pointing out to her, but at least she’s more sympathetic than the first story.

World-building is okay but nothing unique. There is a cliffhanger that made me anxious to pick up the third book, and usually three is a charm for me in series.
Profile Image for Dianne.
1,526 reviews117 followers
June 16, 2013
Trail of Dead by Melissa F. Olson

Release date: June 4, 2013 | Series: Scarlett Bernard
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.

Profile Image for Steph.
1,881 reviews269 followers
September 22, 2014
Trail of Dead picks up a couple of months after the events in Dead Spots. Since then, Scarlett has been trying to find answers. She returns home only to be cornered at the airport by Jesse, the human LAPD officer who helped her with the last case. He's got another crime scene to show her and he wants answers. She's been gone and hasn't had a chance to check in with Dash, Will, or Kirsten since landing, so she doesn't have much to offer. But, at the scene, it is clear that someone's cleaned it and Jesse's not happy. He continues to struggle for a balance between his morals and desire for justice and what he knows Scarlett does to keep Old World secrets.

She is once again tasked with working along side Jesse to solve a case. During their investigation, connections form between the crimes that are happening and Scarlett's former mentor, Olivia. She wants Scarlett and will stop at nothing to have her.

Urban fantasy fans are sure to love this series. It has Old World mysteries, a mix of supernaturals, a morally-conflicted, warmhearted, human cop and a touch of romance. I am anxious for the next adventure with Scarlett.
Profile Image for Lacey.
344 reviews
September 11, 2016
Another great novel in the Scarlett Bernard series! I really enjoy Scarlett and the very peculiar power she wields. It's unlike any other urban fantasy out there nowadays and I find it a welcome relief. While there's still the requisite vampires, werewolves and witches, Scarlett is in a league of her own as one of the only people in the world capable of completely cancelling out magic by just standing in the same room as the caster. I did have a few problems with this book though and most of it had to do with the utter lack of action in the entire first half of the novel. Melissa Olson's writing was good enough though to keep me reading and I was glad it did because the second half made up for what the first half lacked. While the ending was a bit typical I still enjoyed the climax of it all. My biggest fear going into the third novel though is who Scarlett is going to pick in this little love triangle she has created. I have a solid idea it's going to be Jesse but I can't help but love Eli and wish he had a bit more of a fighting chance. I guess I'll just have to read the third book to find out.
Profile Image for Suz.
2,220 reviews67 followers
March 13, 2017
Competent and imaginative if suffering from a few situations of unbelievable character actions, and a love triangle that I know is ongoing even into the next spin off that features the MC.

Profile Image for Alaina.
5,907 reviews216 followers
December 24, 2018
...still shipping the crap out of jessie and scarlett.

Trail of Dead, which is the second book of the Scarlett Bernard series. Scarlett and Jessie sort of work as a team in this book because they are trying to track down Olivia. Now she is someone from Scarlett's past. She used to be a null but is now a vampire.. and she also just seems to be a little obsessive of Scarlett. Yikes!

Besides all of that, there was a ton of betrayal in this book. Olivia was a pretty good villain because she kept everyone on their toes. They never knew when or how she would attack them next.. and damn those cookies were evil. I don't think I will ever look at a cookie the same way ever again - and I'm just a mundane!

Throughout the book I've just been trying to figure out why Jessie and Scarlett aren't together. They totally liked, and possibly love, each other and I just can't stop shipping them together. I do love Eli though.. but after that ending - I don't know how that relationship will be salvaged.

Obviously that cliffhanger cut me deep and now I can't wait to dive into the next book! I need to know how Eli is going to handle everything and I also really want to know what's in store for Jessie/Scarlett!!
Profile Image for Deanna.
171 reviews5 followers
November 16, 2018
Olson's Trail of Dead picks up a few months after the ending of the first book in the Scarlett Bernard series. Scarlett returns to Los Angeles after spending some time with another null in New York trying to learn more about her powers. Detective Jesse Cruz is waiting for her at the airport to take her directly to a crime scene for her analysis. It turns out that Olivia, Scarlett's crazy mentor turned vampire, is putting her plan in motion killing two witches and a human couple with the same first names as Scarlett's parents to draw their attention. Scarlett and Jesse work together to try to figure out Olivia's plan and stop her. 4 stars.
Profile Image for Borderstar.
912 reviews17 followers
September 22, 2020
Hmmm, the main storyline was decent enough I guess, but I would have liked to see more character growth for Scarlett and some sort of further development around the "love triangle". Unfortunately we didn't seem to get either...and everyone seemed very young in their actions. I've been reading a lot of books with older MCs in their 30s/40s recently, so perhaps this just makes it more obvious?

I again just kind of felt, well, nothing much towards Eli or Jesse...they both seem a bit 'meh'?

I might read the final one in this part of the trilogy, just because the audio is actually free to listen to on kindle unlimited at the moment, but I'm not rushing to get to it.
Profile Image for Ashley .
687 reviews6 followers
June 21, 2017
I liked the mystery a lot better in this book that the other, but for some reason (I still think its the narrator) I found my mind wandering and having to rewind.
597 reviews1 follower
July 10, 2021
Another excellent book in this series, but the love triangle is not making me very happy.
Profile Image for Lianne Pheno.
1,217 reviews69 followers
June 8, 2017

Il m'a fallu un peu de temps pour vraiment arriver à me rentrer dans l'histoire de ce tome, comme dans le premier de la série en fait. Mais finalement, une fois que c'était fait j'ai trouvé ma lecture tout à fait agréable.

Scarlett Bernard est une Null, c'est à dire qu'elle permet, rien que par sa présence d'annuler tous les effets magiques, que ça soit lié à une créature, un objet ou un sors. Depuis la fin du tome précédent Scarlett connait son ennemi. Alors lorsqu'une voiture est retrouvée avec un couple portant les même prénoms que ceux de ces parents mort aussi en voiture, elle la soupçonne tout de suite. Mais difficile de rechercher quelqu'un qui semble vraiment réussir à effacer toutes ses pistes, surtout quand on a toujours l'impression d'avoir un train de retard.
Et ce malgré son association avec Jesse, l'agent de police qu'elle a rencontré dans le tome précédent, ainsi que de l'air de Dashiel le si inhabituel maitre vampire de la ville ...

Encore une fois Scarlett se retrouve à devoir enquêter contre son gré, et on ne peux pas dire qu'elle soit enthousiaste. Je pense que c'est ce point qui a fait que j'ai eu du mal à vraiment entrer dans l'histoire. J'avais autant enfin de continuer que l'héroïne.
Heureusement on suis aussi Jesse et j'ai beaucoup aimé son point de vue. Par contre c'est bizarre qu'on le voyait lui à la troisième personne alors que Scarlett avait droit à la première personne. Du coup ça n'a pas non plus trop aidé pour rentrer dedans.

Mais l'enquête est quand même intéressante et malgré la mauvais humeur de Scarlett j'ai fini par vraiment être prise dedans. Le personnage de Scarlett elle même est intéressant en contraste avec Jesse. Ils sont la plupart du temps en total désaccord sur la manière de faire.
Scarlett de son coté est du genre survivante, elle ferait n'importe quoi du moment que ça ne la met pas en danger, quitte à être en dehors de la loi. Et Jesse ne supporte pas cette attitude, pour lui faire les choses bien est la seule possibilité. Il comprends le besoin de cacher certains détails mais il ne comprends pas que les surnaturels ont leur propre façon d'enquêter qui passe par d'autres chemins que ceux des humains. Du coup il est constamment à tout remettre en cause ces méthodes et c'est pourquoi ils n'arrivent pas à s'entendre en général.
Mais malgré ça ils sont quand même assez soudés quand le danger se rapproche de Scarlett, et j'ai aimé que Jesse sorte de ce personnage limite trop "parfait" du premier tome pour se remettre en cause et finalement évoluer.
Scarlett aussi évolue au cours du tome, elle commence à s'affirmer et ça m'a bien plu.

Du coup malgré un début difficile du à une ambiance morose et un personnage un peu apathique dans son rôle, j'ai bien aimé ma lecture. Il perd des points pour le début mais le fin me fait par contre me questionner sur ce dont on va pouvoir parler dans le troisième tome de cette trilogie, vu qu'une grosse partie de l'histoire principale est maintenant terminée.

Profile Image for S.M. Reine.
Author 114 books1,969 followers
August 7, 2013
I'm going to put this out there right now: I wasn't a huge fan of Dead Spots. It was clunky and exposition-heavy. I probably wouldn't have picked this one up if I hadn't been able to "borrow" it with my Amazon Prime membership...but I'm really glad I did. This book rolls along without any of the slog of the first book. Although it's simple, it's a fun, effective story, and I could read a light mystery like this any day of the week and go to bed feeling satisfied.

As before, Scarlett is a null (someone that makes supernatural creatures normal when they get close to her), and her job is to clean up supernatural crime scenes. She does approximately none of that in this book. Instead, the plot focuses on her former null-crime-scene-cleaner mentor stalking her, and it spares us from too much exposition, thank Odin's fluffy beard.

We get more of Detective Cuteness, who is about as much of the typical beta male as you can possibly imagine - one of my favorite kinds of heroes, not gonna lie. I kind of want to shake him and Scarlet, since their estrangement doesn't make a lot of sense (they kissed, and then OH NO WE CAN'T KISS, watch out for that KISSING thing), but their interactions toward the end make up for it. But I'm still not a fan of bouncing between first person POV and Jesse's third person, especially since he doesn't add much to the narrative. Sorry, but it's true. We got some nice glimpses at his family in the first book, but aside from a scene or two with Runa that seemed vaguely relevant, I don't think I would have missed his POV at all if it had been skipped.

Olivia seemed kind of too one-dimensional to be a compelling antagonist, but it was refreshing to have the dilemma oriented around a mother/daughter-like relationship. I really hope that there's nothing to do with Olivia in the third book, though, because she's been pretty much played out at this point.

Scarlet's stubborn, pragmatic insistence on sacrificing herself was a little eyeroll-worthy, too, but I did appreciate the practicality of it. I get annoyed at the Starks in ASoIaF because they're so stupidly focused on honor and not on the ugly-but-practical solutions to the problems, but that's not Scarlet at all. You've got to wonder why she doesn't seem to value her life - that seems like something worth further exploration in future books.

My one major complaint was that what Scarlet did to Eli at the end seemed to be totally out of left field. It didn't feel earned at all. I get really annoyed at Anita Blake's spontaneous acquisition of powers, so I hope that was a one-off thing. It COULD make for super duper interesting dilemmas in the rest of the series - she's more dangerous than ever, and hopefully that means the threat will be higher than ever. Scarlet's going to have to learn to value her existence before that's convincing, though.

All in all, I'd call this a solid urban fantasy mystery. Not one of the cornerstones of the genre, but definitely a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.
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