Source- Review copy
Publisher- Simon & Schuster
Publication date- July 2012
Synopsis- Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.
Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.
Review- Five months ago, Mackenzie’s best friend was attacked and killed by a white-furred werewolf. Lupine syndrome (a.k.a) the werewolf virus is running rampant and though the infected are usually well managed by the Trackers, there’s one on the loose in Hemlock and the town are fearful of more attacks.
Mac struggles to move on; her grief is shared by her best mate Kyle and Amy’s boyfriend Jason. All played a role in letting down Amy on the night she was murdered. Jason has is on a streak of self-destruction, he’s angry and careless and Mac worries about him endlessly. Kyle has been Mac’s best friend for several years and when he reveals a secret that could change their friendship for ever, Mac stands by him and their supressed feelings for each other bubble to the surface.
Amy is the granddaughter of a local politician and her death brings about a strict regime for locating infected citizens, including the arrival of the Trackers, a group of burly men with weapons intent on locking away werewolves. Despite the fear of furry beasts hiding in the night, it seems Hemlock’s biggest concern is the Trackers who are powerful, backed by politics and police and working outside of the law. It becomes clear who the real monsters in Hemlock. Mac and her friend’s challenge the real monsters in Hemlock but realise they are playing a risky game and there’s uncertainty about who they can trust.
Mac is a grief-stricken teen and not surprising in a YA paranormal novel, she too suffers from low self-esteem. Thankfully, Mac’s self-consciousness is nicely complimented by some more likeable qualities; she’s loyal to her friends, she’s strong when she needs to make tough decisions
From the very beginning, Deadly Hemlock is an action-packed thriller with many surprising twists and turns and complicated characters. Although it does sit within the typical YA paranormal framework: the ordinary girl, a juicy love triangle and plenty of damsels in distress moments, but I like that the ‘werewolf’ existence was known to Hemlock at the outset, the love interests were fleshed out early and it’s fast-paced from the very first chapter. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel to find out what’s in store for Mac, Kyle and Jason in the second book of this trilogy.
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