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Publisher's Summary

When LA’s vampires, witches, and werewolves make a mess, they call Scarlett Bernard to clean it up. Her ability as a null erases all magical traces from anything — or anyone — that comes within ten feet of her, and keeps humans in the dark about the city’s paranormal activity. One night when she’s called to a grisly crime scene, Scarlett is spied by the all-too-human LAPD cop Jesse Cruz, who strikes up a deal with her: he’ll keep quiet about the supernatural underworld if she helps him crack the case. She agrees, but the city’s chief vampire, Dash, starts to suspect Scarlett is behind the murders and will reveal all she knows of his shadowy empire. Now it’ll take more than Scarlett’s unique abilities to clear her name, keep the underworld underground, and track down the real killer.
©2012 Melissa F. Olson (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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Flawed but with great potential

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” ― Shannon L. Alder

Scarlett Bernard is one pragmatic lady. Of course, she has to be considering her job is supernatural crime scene cleanup. As in, get in, clean up the mess, steal the body, and book the hell out of Dodge before the cops arrive. She is truly good at her job, and her boss, the cold and distant Dashiell, Master Vampire of the city, may be scary, but he pretty much allows her to do her job without interference. But then, the worst happens.

She gets caught. Caught by a newly minted detective, Jesse Cruz, just after she arrives at a scene more bloody and grotesque than any she has ever seen. What happens next is fast paced action with terrific world building and interesting characters. I first read the book back in 2012, and enjoyed it then. This time I listened to the Audible edition narrated by Amy McFadden (one of my favorite narrators) and, as sometimes happens, I liked it even more as I listened. Scarlett is a strong character with a well-developed, though brutal, background and is likeable. She isn’t perfect, but that is what makes her interesting. She has taken horrific hits in her life – but the one she walks into later on is absolutely devastating and Olson does a rather wonderful job of writing the horrors of betrayal. I would have liked her to be more mature in her interactions with others – her tendency to cope a nasty, self-serving attitude at times was a downer. I am hoping that the next books will show growth in her as a character (especially since I own them all). Her behavior isn’t as horrendous as other female characters in the genre, but I am hoping for more maturity in upcoming works.

There are some things that were irritating. The Dreaded Love Triangle. Irritating! Not only do love triangles make me retch, this one felt stilted and unnecessary, dragging down the storyline. Also, the POV switches between characters and from first to third person erratically and unnecessarily. Irritating, but not as irritating as the lurrve (titter titter, Groan) triangle. Olson’s take on werewolf psychology was more interesting than a lot of other books in the genre, and her friendship with the Alpha and Beta were more realistic than many others. The Alpha isn’t as ‘Alpha’ as in other books (thank the Goddess!) and the tortured Beta was very realistically portrayed in the vein of “I never wanted this in the first place.”

So, flawed, it isn’t perfect by any means, but I still enjoyed it as much as I remembered, and Amy’s narration was, as always, spot on.

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  • CS
  • 05-17-16

audio book a great addition to reading the ebook

Scarlett is what the magic world calls a null, someone who cancels out the magic related characteristics of supernatural or paranormal 'old world' beings when they are within close proximity to her. So, vampires become living humans that can age or die from wounds and werewolves return to human form and heal (or die) normally if injured. Her job is to clean up the evidence when someone from the old world dies. in this story, someone may have to clean up her body if she's not able to prove she wasn't involved in a murder that has L.A.'s master vampire on her case.

i read this series as ebooks a couple of years ago. I've become a big fan of audio books because I can listen pretty much anywhere. Since i enjoyed this series I decided to try the audio books and I'm very glad that I did. The narrator's voice and pace of the reading is spot on and she uses different inflections and accents for different characters. I'll be listening tto the rest of the series for certain.

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  • LRYAN
  • Austin, TX
  • 03-10-16

LOVED this series

Can't wait for more! I found this one day - the author and series were new to me but I'm glad I stumbled on it.

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A null

Any additional comments?

The first book in the Scarlet Bernard series is a good start. Interseting storyline and characters with a strong plot. Though the head vampire made my hackles rise, I liked the other characters. Mystery, murder, & subterfuge as well as lusty tension, love triangle, & relational frustrations are included. Narrator did a great job.<br/>

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not what I expected

I read something that was linked with this series and the differences are pretty noticeable. It said to find out what happens then reaf this book......There was nothing in there about the story I read at all. I am not impressed at all with how misleading the "find out what happens next" BS. With that said it wasn't a total bore but it war not nearly as good as the lead in I read to begin with. my kids did not read the 1st one and they did seem to like this one well enough that I'm willing to read the 2nd in the series and hope that i can find out what happened.....

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Reading after border crossing

I'm going backwards apparently, but so worth it! I was afraid I would feel like I would be able to anticipate the ending, or feel the characters would be redundant now that I'm in "book love", with the characters in Melissa F. Olson's other books (border crossed) . I'm amazed that there is no feeling of a template story line..Completely loving this author

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  • Linda
  • Bowie, MD, United States
  • 06-02-15

Witches Are Human...Mostly

What did you love best about Dead Spots?

I liked the interaction of Scarlotte to,the other characters. Eli was especially likable. The vampires see the good in Scarlotte and all end well.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dead Spots?

When Scarlotte discovers how powerful she is.

Have you listened to any of Amy McFadden’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No but I liked her narration of this book.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not necessarily. It was entertaining and I will,continue with the series but it wasn't a book I couldn't put down. I recommend it.

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Pretty Good Urban Fantasy

After reading Boundary Crossed, I wanted to go back to Dead Spots to remind myself of the world and the story. I wanted to see if Dead Spots was as light and “romancy” as I remembered. I think it does have more of a romantic leaning than Boundary Crossed, especially since there is a love triangle involved. And Scarlet’s relationship with her roommate, Molly, has some comical tendencies. But the story itself wasn’t as light as I was remembering.

Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Scarlett Bernard is a magical null and cleaner for the supernatural community in Los Angeles. I like Scarlett – she’s practical and resourceful and determined – but she also has an annoying tendency to be too passive. I think she sees herself as a victim of her circumstances and is a little bit self-pitying, which keeps her from believing she has worth and can take charge of her life. It’s been a while since I’ve read the whole series, but I’m hoping this is one of the character’s growth-points.

Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ I’m not very fond of the vampires in this world – with the exception of Dashiell’s wife, Beatrice. I do like the wolves, though. Will and Eli seem like good guys. I feel bad for Eli; he likes Scarlett, but she doesn’t take his interest seriously. Jesse Cruz is the cop who accidentally stumbles into supernatural dealings. I like him, but he’s a bit slow on the uptake. His stubbornness seems to put his and Scarlett’s life on the line a bit too often.

World: ♥ ♥ ♥ In Scarlett’s world, supernaturals are attempting to avoid detection by the normals. Vampires, werewolves, and witches have a tentative working relationship, but none of them really like each other. In Los Angeles, where Scarlett lives, the vampires are in charge. They operate much like an old mob family and are not very nice – well, most of them aren’t very nice. Nulls like Scarlett are seen as valuable, but mostly in the way that property is valuable. Werewolves seem much friendlier.

Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ Dead Spots is mainly a mystery. Los Angeles vampires are being slaughtered brutally and no one knows how or why. Scarlett needs to solve the mystery before human cop, Jesse Cruz, gets pulled farther into the supernatural world and probably killed. There is an interesting surprise at the end, though I won’t spoil it for you here.

Narrator: ♥ ♥ ♥ I’ll admit that it took me a bit to warm up to Amy McFadden as the narrator. Her voice for Scarlett is pretty brash… more like an East Coast accent than a West Coast one. There wasn’t a great amount of difference in the voices of her males, either. But I eventually got used to her and it was fine.

Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ Dead Spots is a good read and a good listen. Though it sometimes straddles the line between a serious urban fantasy and a fluffier paranormal romance, it is certainly entertaining.

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captivating story

enjoyable read with a captivating story. not high literature, but I definitely want to know what happens next and am invested in the characters.

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  • Shawn
  • Smyrna, GA United States
  • 04-30-15

pleasant surprise

pleasant surprise. Story does follow archetypes but with a few twists. Fast moving piece. Amy McFadden gives great performance as narrator.