Review: Deadly Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock


Title: Deadly Hemlock {Hemlock #1}

Author: Kathleen Peacock

Published: Simon & Schuster 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.

Status:  Read from July 05 to 06, 2012  {Courtesy Simon & Schuster Australia}

My Thoughts:

Deadly Hemlock is the first in a new series featuring werewolves and this paranormal young adult novel reeled me in with a heart pounding opening sequence and managed to keep my interest the whole way through.

In an alternate contemporary society, victims of the Lupine Virus are segregated from the human population and confined to government controlled camps in a bid to slow the transmission of the disease. Werewolves inspire fear amongst the majority of the population and understandably an infected person is loathe to reveal their status. When Amy is fatally mauled during a series of werewolf attacks in the small town of Hemlock, her best friends Mackenzie, Jason and Kyle blame themselves for her death. They are still struggling to deal with their grief when The Trackers arrive, a vicious vigilante group whose agenda reaches far beyond the hunt for werewolves amongst the populace.

Deadly Hemlock doesn’t stray far from the familiar cliches of YA fiction but nevertheless it is an enjoyable read. Underlying the paranormal guise is an exploration of prejudice, bullying, class warfare and politics. Nothing too heavy handed but enough to give the story some depth. A little darker than some YA novels, there are quite explicit descriptions of violence that provide plenty of action. In Peacock’s world, werewolves are acknowledged though feared but I liked the authors take on werewolf lore in that werewolves can shift at will (though strong emotion can force a shift) and remain mostly sentient.
Determining the identity of the werewolf that murdered Amy is the main mystery element of the story which Peacock cleverly twists part way through. I have to admit though, I doubted that the werewolf’s human self would have been so accomplished at remaining under the radar for so long.

Mac is likeable as a heroine, not the brightest, but she is determined and loyal (if to a fault). As with most YA protagonists, Mac has little self esteem, and is a touch too naive to be completely credible. The author does provide some back story in an attempt to justify Mac’s more foolish decisions but I am not sure she was entirely successful. Mac’s dream sequences, starring a cryptic Amy, left me cold and I think they were unnecessary. I can only assume they tie into Peacocks plans for further installments.

The ubiquitous YA love triangle veers slightly from the norm, Mac knows who she wants so she isn’t torn between the bad boy with a heart of gold and the golden boy with a heart of, well, bad. Kyle is the tortured, brooding type who has been in love with Mac forever but denies it to protect her. Jason is pretty much a jerk though I did feel some sympathy for him and Peacock allows him to redeem himself, at least partially.

I did enjoy Deadly Hemlock for its fast paced action and paranormal element. It’s a quick, entertaining read and a solid debut for a new series which has a lot of potential to grow.

Available To Purchase

@BoomerangBooks I @Booktopia @Amazon{Kindle Aust}

via Booko

@Amazon I @BookDepository


Alternate Cover


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tien
    Jul 09, 2012 @ 08:41:36

    The alternate cover looks gorgeous! It definitely sounds like something I’d like to read but am reluctant to start yet another series! I’d rather a One Whooping Big Chunkster at this stage, I think… enough with series :p



    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Jul 09, 2012 @ 13:38:26

      I much prefer the Aussie cover Tien, Mac wheres nothing but t-shirts and jeans so the prom dress is a little silly!



      • Tien
        Jul 10, 2012 @ 08:36:06

        Ah… as you’d know better, that definitely makes sense. I supposed then that the alt cover is to attract attention just cuz it’s pretty 🙂



  2. Patty
    Jul 09, 2012 @ 10:49:05

    OMG…this looks awesome!!!



  3. DannyBookworm
    Jul 09, 2012 @ 14:35:40

    Oh wonderful! I still need to read a single review that is not excited about this book1 Need to read it asap!!



  4. Danielle
    Jul 09, 2012 @ 15:13:21

    Hmmmmm, I’m on-the-fence about reading this one. Must admit, this hasn’t sold me: “As with most YA protagonists, Mac has little self esteem, and is a touch too naive to be completely credible. ” – Grrr. I hate that.

    But I’m always intrigued by a debut author…

    Great, honest review.



  5. The Australian Bookshelf
    Jul 09, 2012 @ 19:40:49

    It’s interesting how so many YA paranormal novels enlist similar characteristics in a heroine… there’s sometimes a fine line between them being endearing and annoying. I do have this one in my review pile and I’m encouraged by your review as the plot and action sounds like it makes up for the character flaws.



  6. Samantha
    Jul 11, 2012 @ 09:26:42

    I have this one checked out from the library right now 🙂 I’m eager to read it because the synopsis makes it sound really good. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on it!



  7. Anna
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 02:51:07

    I’ve read this and LOVED IT!!! From the first two pages I was hooked and as you read further it’s more and more addictive. I never read paranormal books, this was my first, and now I’m dying for the next two books to come out so I can continue with Mac on her next adventure! In my opinion, Kathleen Peacock has done Canada proud!!!



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