Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Y'all are aware that I am a fan of the Urban Fantasy genre. Like, big time. I'm always looking for another new book to tickle my fancy and there are plenty of stories out there for me to take for a spin. Unfortunately it seems like a lot of UF debuts don't really much to offer in terms of originality or spark and so I've been getting discouraged of late, thinking "well, there's always my old standbys." That is, until I decided to pick up a largely unheard of debut by author Melissa F. Olson called Dead Spots. Read on, friends. This was a good 'un.

Vampires, werewolves, and witches are not just a story cooked up to scare you at night. A fact which Scarlett Bernard knows firsthand as she runs a type of 'house cleaning' service for the secret Old World. As a null, someone who basically defuses any type of magic just by coming within 10 feet of it, her services are highly rated and extremely rare within the magical community and as such often gets calls to clean up 'mistakes' and other messy situations before the public at large can ask any pesky questions. And she's doing pretty good at it -- or at least faking it pretty good while trying to figure out how to deal with all the hurt and loss she's been handed in the past few years. At least that's sort of working until she gets called to fix up a grisly murder scene and is caught by one very surprised detective, Jesse Cruz. Understandably, the head honchos of clan Wolf and Vampire are none too thrilled about Scarlett's new cop shadow and demand she make things right. Which she's trying to do, only how's a girl to solve a murder with absolutely no clues to go on?

Let's just say this book caught me hard. Hard enough to blow through it in one sitting that is. The story was intricate and multidimensional with plenty of fodder left unsolved for sequels to deal with. Scarlett at first glance does seem a bit predictable but she quickly reveals herself to be extremely layered and carting around a barrel full of grief and heartache. She's an exceptionally compelling individual with more to offer than she even knows herself.

My favorite aspect of Dead Spots has to be the memorable character interactions. With a perky vampire roommate, a dead scary (ha!) vampire boss, a cop with no idea what he's gotten himself into, and a somewhat complicated relationship with a werewolf named Eli, Scarlett's relationships are highly unusual and immensely entertaining. I do hope to get more of the bartender Eli in subsequent books as I have developed quite a soft spot where that werewolf is concerned. And although I didn't exactly love the squeaky, shiny persona of Jesse Cruz at first, he eventually won me over with his trademark persistence.

Dead Spots will inevitably be compared to the Sookie Stackhouse series -- and for good reason. Scarlett's youth and lack of training are very similar to Sookie's, along with the whole werewolf/vampire/witch trifecta but Melissa Olson makes the story her own with unique and believable characters and intriguing conflicts. I will definitely be back for more.

Wanna read more? Check out the first chapter here.

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Cookies, Books and Bikes review
Mixed Book Bag review

book source: purchased


Angiegirl said...

This is just excellent news, Michelle. I am always on the hunt for the next great UF. This one sounds like IT. :)

Michelle said...

Angie - I was pleasantly surprised with this one too! Let me know if you like it.

Heidi said...

I'm so glad you were brave enough to test the waters on this one and that you lived to tell us about it! I'm with you on the amount of ho-hum debut UF out there, and have determined never to stick my neck out first again. With your approval, this one is definitely going on my radar!