Warning: Mild Cliffhanger (Rage inducing.)
Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and anything supernatural is instantly neutralized—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t cast the slightest spell. Scarlett uses her status as a null to cover up crime scenes for Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, helping them keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark.
One night Scarlett gets caught at the scene of a grisly murder by the all-too-human LAPD cop Jesse Cruz, who blackmails her into a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the supernatural underworld if she helps him crack the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dashiell, the city’s chief vampire, who fears his whole empire is at stake. And when the clues start to point to Scarlett herself, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.
“It’s funny, but finding out that Hollywood movie monsters were real never shook my convictions. If God could create a platypus, why couldn’t he create a vampire? If AIDS could exist in God’s kingdom, why not lycanthropy?”
I thought this was overall more strongly written than Dead Spots, but a worse story. There are parts to this story that just made me angry. For example, I really dislike the main character as a person in this book. She makes a decision at the end of this book that made me rate this book a 2.5 the first time I read it. With hindsight, I don’t think it is as horrible as I thought it was originally, but it is still pretty awful.
Scarlett is a character that I would never like in real life. She spends the entire book bitching about how all the people who love her are trying to protect her. She also spends a fairly good portion trying to talk them out of protecting her as well as trying to get away from their protection. And then, when she does manage to escape somewhat, she makes the most boneheaded decisions ever. She is constantly argumentative, headstrong, obstinate, whines constantly, makes dumb decisions constantly and just a horrible person to be around. I have no idea how she has not only one, but two guys wanting her attentions.
Jesse, the detective, is a prat. His holier than thou attitude is so damn annoying it makes me hate him. He is constantly shitting on Scarlett for doing her job, because the law is his god. Anything he finds to be morally or ethically wrong, he will make his opinion known, and make Scarlett feel like shit. But, what the hell is the alternative? There is nothing else she would be able to do in the world as it stands now. I hate Jesse. He is the character who likes someone, but hates everything about that person. Most of the book was on Jesse to solve, because Scarlett kept getting protected instead. He came across some ethical decisions to make of his own, the same ones Scarlett had to face all this time. Guess what decisions he makes when the time comes! But he isn’t a shitstain of a person like he thinks Scarlett is, for some reason, because he is a cop? Or something? I hate Jesse.
The werewolf, Eli, is the only good character of the bunch. And, he doesn’t have as much of a role in this book as Jesse. It is a shame, and Eli doesn’t deserve Scarlet at all. Eli is a good person, Scarlet isn’t. I have no idea why he likes her. It is frustrating.
The villain, Olivia, is okay but lacks scale. I’m no longer even certain what the main point of her whole deal was about, other than getting Scarlett back. She is suitably bad, but is so hyper focused on Scarlett it makes the entire thing a joke. Her villain backstory made me roll my eyes, though. Her machinations are the only reason this book has any plot, because Scarlett is basically useless all book.
The worldbuilding rewrites itself from book one a bit. Things to make the story fit better. For example, in book one Olson says that nulls have a “very difficult time procreating”, where this book it got changed to “they can’t procreate”. Other minor things were changed somewhat, too. Scarlett keeps evolving to be whatever the author needs in her, as well. It feels like she levels up at the end of each book. I don’t like it, I want it to stop.
This book could have been better. Most of my problem is with the main character than the plot. The plot could have been better, too, but mostly by getting a better main character.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Scarlett Bernard series page!