Review: Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard, #1) by Melissa F. Olson



Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and any supernatural spells or demonic forces are instantly defused—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t get out so much as a “hocus pocus.” This special skill makes her a null and very valuable to Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, who utilize her ability to scrub crime scenes clean of all traces of the paranormal to keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark. But one night Scarlett’s late arrival to a grisly murder scene reveals her agenda and ends with LAPD’s Jesse Cruz tracking her down to strike a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the undead underworld if she helps solve the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dash, the city’s chief bloodsucker, who fears his whole vampire empire is at stake. And when clues start to point to Scarlett, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.


I did not have any expectations starting on this book. I just stumbled upon it surfing Audible for new books to read with my ears. I was a little curious about the Null ability, but the rest sounded like the run of the mill paranormal fantasy book.


I like the way the origin of magic and how it works are described. It`s also interesting to read about the Null power and how it affect the supernatural world.


I usually don`t like the love triangle, and this one is no exception. Luckily it was not to heavy in this book, but it looks like it could be a problem in later books. I also hated the cliffhanger. Luckily there are already a book number two out, but it dos note bode well for future books. I really hate cliffhanger endings. Sometimes I wish the Authors of cliffhangers should get some first hand experience of how a Judas Cradle works.


Dead Spots is mainly written from Scarletts point of view in a first person narrative. There are however small chapters that are written in third person view from other characters, mainly from detective Jesse`s point of view.


This book is set in Los Angles. L.A. is apparently not among the bigger supernatural cities, but it is on of the only cities where all three supernatural species coexist on an equal footing.

Character types

The human race split into three different supernatural species. Vampires, Werewolfs, and Witches. They are basically what you expect them to be. There is also another new player in the game, the Nulls. The Nulls can remove all traces of magic within the null field that are around them. This is not only restricted to magical spells but also to magical species. Werwolfs and vampires become human when they get close to a null, but they return to their species when they get outside the null field again.


While reading the book you will learn about more than the mentioned characters and many of them will probably be requiring characters in the books to come. Some of them will likely also get a bigger part than they have until now.


Scarlett is a Null. She did not discover what she was until another Null approached her after her parents died in a car crash. Her only other living relative is her brother, who she is trying to keep secret from her supernatural "friends". She works as the Cities cleaner, or janitor as she describes it. Whenever a supernatural person has an accident that needs to be cleaned up they call her. She can nullify magical spells and magical residue from failed spells with her own Null talent. She also has to clean up dead bodies when animals or people "accidentally" dies by supernatural means. Scarlett, Jesse and Eli has the beginnings of a love triangle going on in this first book. I am not a fan of love triangle and sadly it looks like this one will, as most of them does, keep on going in the following books.


Jesse is a human detective at L.A.P.D. He accidentally discovers the old world (the supernatural world) when he stubles upon a crusome crime scene and get a first hand experience with a werewolf transformation. This is also where he first meats Scarlett, which he later falls for. Despite his dislike for her occupation.


Eli is a werewolf bartender and he has had three one night stands with Scarlett, if they can still be called ONS at that point. He is also assigned to help Scarlett out with her tasks, which just builds up that stupid love triangle. Scarlett is also stupidly afraid that he is only interested in her for her ability to make him human, which is something most werewolfs like. It relaxes them.


Molly is a vampire and she is Scarlett`s roommate. She originally become roommate with Scarlett because of here ability. Most vampires are afraid to get close to Scarlett since they then are easily killed and they ages as normal humans. Molly was turned as a teenager and she wants to be close to scarlet so she can age to a more fitting age.


Dashiell, or Dash, is the vampire boss of all vampires in L.A. He gives out mixed signals about caring for Scarlett and being a ruthless bastard that will do anything to keep Scarlet under his control.


Kirsten is the witch leader and she is really powerful.


Dead Spots is not among the better books. Its just another run of the mill paranormal book. I would not recommend this book to anyone except if you are a fan of paranormal / Urban Fantasy books. I am however going to keep reading this series, at least until I reach the currently last book that are published. But I am not sure if I will get going again if I have to wait to long for a new book to be published.

Item Reviewed

Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson
Series: Scarlett Bernard#1
Published: Oct. 30, 2012
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Language: English

About Melissa F. Olson

Melissa F. Olson

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 proved too broke for LA and moved to 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.) Along with her Scarlett Bernard novels Dead Spots, Trail of Dead, and Hunter’s Trail she has also released a mystery novel, The Big Keep. Melissa’s work has been published in the Daily Trojan, the Chippewa Falls Herald Telegram, The International Journal of Comic Art, The La Crosse Tribune, U-Wire, Women on, and the compilation Images of the Modern Vampire. She has also presented or been on panels at the Midwest Popular Culture/American Culture Conference, the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts Conference, OdysseyCon, and EncountersCon in Wichita.