©2012 Melissa F. Olson (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
O.K., I admit it... I bought this book because there was nothing out by anyone I usually read, it came well-reviewed by someone I like, and, yes, it was on sale. I will say this- no spoilers here.
Having said that, I actually really enjoyed this book. It wasn't the entirely new twist some reviewers had lead me to believe with descriptions of a wholly new type of paranormal creature- I can think of at least two series with nulls, the Parisol Protectorate (we need spell check) and the Carol Marie MMonning (again I don't know how to spell her name- I'm blind and don't see these things so I'm mostly making up spellings), in which the heroine is actually called a "null" with the power to nullify supernatural powers. Even so, it was funny, well-written, and engaging enough that I didn't get bored despite usually being the jerk people refuse to watch mysteries with since "I'm always saying, "obviously it's so and so, the affair and the motive are too obvious" ten minutes in. It wasn't brilliant, but I wanted to read it in a single sitting, and I didn't guess what was going on until well into the second part.
The bad guys are bad, but they are also human- in a manner of speaking. They aren't all bad, and the good guys, such as they are, aren't all good. After all, the heroine does crime scene disposal for a living- ie she hides crimes from the cops to pay the bills. I liked the complexity of the characters, even those provided mostly for comic relief, like the adorable and occasionally hilarious roommate.
I read some complaints about the narration, and, though a huge amount of that is a matter of personal taste, I liked her- eventually. It took me some time to like her, past the sample even, but she's right for it. Just the right mix of bored, amused, and terrified. She does the male voices justice even if they don't want to make me throw my clothes off (which would be weird and possibly confusing to my sexual identity).
A little more on the characters in the potential love triangle- I was fully ready for the "bad BOY" who is sexy and who she is just too stupid to resist and the good guy she should eventually end up with. That's just not the case, no matter how much the heroine wants to make it that way. I obviously still have the guy I want her to end up with- sexy cop just has to beat out sexy bartender werewolf in my book everyday, but they're both actual people with complex personalities, and the sexy bartender werewolf surprised me with his depth- not an easy thing to do. I might even be O.K. if she ends up with the wrong guy, though that usually results in throwing books across the room (obviously metaphorically now that I use my precious I-phone to listen). I also liked that, while there is some romantic stuff going on, and there is some off scene sex, there is no graphic sex, no explicit scenes I need to mute when my husband/friends/ occasionally co-workers walk into the room for the huge amount of mocking that follows. Plus, that kind of sex, graphic and frequent, just gets old after a while, so this was pleasantly refreshing in that sense. There's also none (or very little) of the constant thinking about- and then sharing with us- sex at all times, like during fights or body disposal, which is all too common in these kinds of books- plus, it's creepy to be thinking about getting laid while actually chopping up a body- eew. I like a romance. I want my heroine to end up happily ever after, but me personally, I don't need it graphically. If you do, try Sookie Stackhouse (I'm O.K. if I misspelled that- it's clearly made up), or anything by Carrie Arthur or the Anita Blake books or... the list goes on and on.
This NEXT SENTANCE is'nt a spoiler, but you may want to not think too hard about it as you read the book.. the thing SOME PEOPLE SAID WAS A SHOCKING ending, not particularly a shocker if you were paying attention. When people say there's ONLY one possible reason for something, even if they follow it up with, but that's impossible, remember we're talking about vampires, witches, and werewolfs. Reassess impossible. Still, it was a fun cliff-hanger ending.
One final note... the second book, Trail of Dead, is out and not on audible or on the audible coming soon list. What gives? I'm kind of craving to know what exciting gore/romance related misadventures one of my potentially favorite heroines gets up to. Give me book two or at least a release date or explaination OF WHY I'M CONTEMPLATING MY FIX ELSEWHERE (GASP). We grow impatient, possibly with torches and pitchforks.
I liked the story line; it was different and intriguing. The characterization was well done; they acted within the 'person-hood' established for them by the author.
Pacing was good; the story neither dragged nor jumped ahead without reason. And the narrator stayed true to that.
I'm not fond, for the most part, of stories that do not end but are the beginning of the next book, and this one has series written all over it, and not in a particularly deft way. (Although it's not a cliff-hanger either.)
SPOILER**It's a love triangle, although the female protagonist isn't one of those romance Tall and Blonde and Gorgeous heroines, thank heavens. Relationships develop rather than are thrust on one.**
All this said, I do not think I'll be going to the next (and the next and the next) book. The set-up seems to indicate more of the same, and she did it right the first time; I don't think I'll need a second helping. But YMMV. If you like the genre and don't need clothes falling off every time the characters get close to each other, you might like this. Not a 'gritty' book although there is violence.
This was an entertaining story with a new angle and I was pleasantly surprised. There are the usual vampires and werewolves, but with Scarlett there's a new aspect to the interaction. The main characters are well defined and as the book progresses, more background to each one is revealed.
There's a bit of romance (in the making) also, but not too much.
Amy McFadden's performance was just right for this story, clear and precise while giving each character definition.
I did listen to it in one "sitting" - perfect for working all day in the garden.
Easy listening Urban Fantasy - I anticipate the next book in this series and hope Audible will add it as soon as it comes out - I would like to go on listening right now...
I live to ride my bike.
This is a fresh take on an urban fantasy. The plot is unique and well written. The main character is intelligent and insightful.
She is a null. When supernatural person is within in a certain distance to her, their abilities do not work. Ironically, she is their clean up person when they have created a mess (dead bodies) that would alert humans to their presence.
When she arrives late to a horrific crime, the police have already been alerted and of course a police man discovers supernatural beings.
Since she was not able to “clean up” the situation becomes all her fault. Now with the clock ticking on her life to become the fall guy, it is her responsible to discover who made the mess.
Sure she can nullify supernatural powers but she is human, fragile, and never has her taser when she needs it.
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
Finally, something new in the world of vampires, witches and werewolves. The creation of a new creature, A NULL! What a great concept, someone who can nullify magic, made this a very interesting and intriguing story. I totally got this story and can’t wait for the next book, the ending was terrific, a wonder of wonder cliff hanger.
My favorite character of course is Jesse, who knows when to keep his mouth shut and to accept things for what they are. My least favorite character is Molly, who is Scarletts roommate and Dash’s spy.
Now for the narrator, in my humble opinion she did a fantastic job. Her characterizations were spot on and she did well with Jesses’ Latino accent that is common to Angelinos, yes their accents are different from other Latinos.
Should you spend a credit for this one? YES!! I just hope the second book in the series is as well written as this one.
I didn't think there would be much to take me by surprise regarding urban fantasy, but I was taken back, in a good way, by this new kind of character, the "null". Scarlett is indeed a nice addition to the world of paranormal and urban fantasy. The plot is good, the action is fast-paced and all the other characters are well-defined. Also, there is that damn nail-biting cliff-hanger in the end: how did THAT person manage to undergo THAT kind of transformation!?!
The switch between first-person and third-person narration actually made sense, too bad that Ms. McFadden didn't switch also when narrating: it took me some time to make sense of the story on the beginning of each chapter. On the plus side, she was better with keeping up with Jesse's Spanish accent throughout the story, which is better that in Susannah Sandlin's novels she narrated... Not my favourite story-telling person, but I've heard worse.
Overall, good start of a new paranormal series. Will be impatiently waiting for the sequel!
The author, Melissa Olson, did a great job of "constructing" the fantasy world in which her characters and story live. I like the concept of "nulls" in this world.
Scarlett is my favorite character, but I also really like the "human" cop Jesse Cruz, how he copes with the new world exposed to him, and his relationship with Scarlett. In this first novel, Melissa Olson does a great job of character development. I hope she writes more novels with these same characters.
A good narrator can make a good book great, and when searching for a new audiobook I search on favorite narrators as well as favorite authors. "Dead Spots" was my first listen with Amy McFadden, and she is a part of the reason I liked the book. I will definitely add her to my search list!
I hope this first novel becomes a series, and that the second book is published soon!
I could see this is a first book of a series--a few rough points but I must say I like the characters, the action and intrigue. Couldn't wait to read Book 2---I was very surprised at the book--REALLY WELL DONE. Again all of the above but those rough spots are now gone.
I had to get Book 3---SO HAPPY I DID--great flow of story line and new action to spice up the story. Great imagination---time well spend and I really have enjoyed the reading/ listening.
Now for your narrator--Amy McFadden--excellent choice--you are doing a great job!
One problem--WE NEED BOOK 4!
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
Melissa Olson has achieved something quite unique, she's added a brand new type of supernatural to the, by now normal, mix of vampires, werewolves and witches. Scarlett Bernard is a Null, she creates dead spots for magic. In her presence, vampires and werewolves become human and witches cannot cast spells.
This is a truly odd, negative, super power. It doesn't turn Scarlett into an apex predator but it does give her some protection from them. She lives in a niché where she can be used by the various super natural factions to clean up messes, usually deaths, without being a threat or being threatened. She is valuable because she helps keep the "Old World's" secrets.
At least, that's how we see the world at the start of the story.
The plot places, Scarlett in a situation where she has a deadline to prove she had no involvement in some gruesome killings or face execution. The twists and turns of the plot are perfect for building a picture of the supernatural world while making it satisfyingly difficult to figure out who is guilty of what.
I enjoyed the fact that Scarlett, because her powers are essentially negative, couldn't just use muscle or magic to solve her problems, she had to use her brains and rely on her friends. This made the whole story more engaging.
Circumstances have thrown Scarlett together with a freshly promoted plain-clothes LAPD officer, Jesse Cruz. He is new to the "Old World" and becomes the device through which much of the exposition is done. He is also a very moral person (hey, if you can accept that LA has vampires, werewolves and witches, then is a moral LAPD officer such a stretch).
I didn't like Scarlett very much at the start of the book. She seemed glib, superficial, numb as well as null and I didn't much care what happened to her. As the book progresses, two things change, Scarlett's back-story of trauma, guilt and exploitation is revealed and,partly in response to Jesse's reactions to the Old World and partly as she slowly realizes that she actually has some friends, Scarlett takes stock of her life and her attitudes and starts to make changes.
By the end of the book, I was interested in Scarlett and the world she lives in and ready for another instalment.
"Dead Spots" was an entertaining read that had some problems with pace and perhaps a little too much exposition, but which appealed to me because of its flashes of originality and the intelligence and pragmatism of Scarlett Bernard.
"Enjoyable urban fantasy story"
Well written. Characters have some depth - not 2 dimensional and 'wooden'. Dialogue and interaction between characters engaging and believable. I would class it more as urban fantasy than paranormal romance. The focus is mostly on the action and any romance is subtle. No graphic 'love' scenes'! I wasn't sure if I liked the female lead character for the first half of the book. However later on you begin to see why she's so jaded and I can see how the character has been given room to develop emotionally over the coming books. Overall the narrator did a reasonable job but her tendency to sound a bit whiny" at times was may be why I had difficulty 'warming up' to the female lead. Overall engaging and enjoyable but not one of my absolute favourites in this genre - yet - but I'm willing to give the next book a go!
"Dead spots null stories no1"
first time read. I found the story hard to keep interested in.hope book 2 is better
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