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I Belong

Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Title: Hemlock

Author: Kathleen Peacock

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Series: Hemlock Trilogy (Book 1)

Publication Date: May 8, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062048651 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062048653 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Emmy


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.

Quick & Dirty: A single scratch can transmit lupine syndrome and werewolves are forced into internment camps. While Mac and her friends struggle to cope with the loss of Amy to a serial killing werwolf, they find there’s more behind Amy’s death than any of them imagined.

Opening Sentence: Blood ran down my hands in thin rivers.


The Review

Mac has lived in Hemlock since her father walked out years ago, living with her cousin Tess on the “wrong” side of the tracks.  But her address didn’t stop Amy, daughter of a prominent Hemlock family, from becoming her best friend. Amy, Mac, Jason and Kyle have been best friends for years, inseparable, until the night Amy’s torn apart by a werewolf. Mac had ditched their movie plans for to study for finals, Jason and Amy had just fought, and Kyle didn’t pick up his phone when she called for a ride. The loss of their best friend — and Jason’s girlfriend — hit all of them hard.  While Kyle and Mac kept it together though, Jason spiraled as far down as you can go in a town like Hemlock.

But when, after months of no deaths, the werewolf strikes again, and the police bring in the Trackers.  Outside the police, the Trackers specialize in hunting down ‘fleabags’ and sending them to internment camps — provided they survive their capture, that is. The Trackers make Mac uncomfortable. Their beat-first-and-test-later philosophy doesn’t sit well with many, but no one wants to go against a police-enforced gang. Jason, however, doesn’t share Mac’s aversion to the werewolf hunters.  Eager for revenge against the wolf that killed Amy, he’s throwing himself into their initiate group.

Mac follows him, tries to keep an eye on him and take care of him, but it almost gets her killed.  And Jason is too drunk to realize just how bad things were getting for Mac. When it comes down to it, Mac is always there for Jason, but Jason isn’t ever there for her.  It’s Kyle who comes to her rescue [insert swoon] and begins to help her track down Amy’s killer.  Because what the police never told the public — and what the Trackers refuse to — is that there’s far more to Amy’s murder than the other victims.

On a mission to find the truth and stop the Trackers from taking over, Mac is pushed face-to-face with her feelings about Kyle and aspects of Amy’s not-so-perfect life that Mac never knew.  Honestly, my favorite part about Hemlock was the angst between Mac and Kyle! My least favorite, the unnecessary love triangle the author created here.  It worked alright within the story line, but it was like plopping a giant cliché in the middle of an otherwise unique novel. I loved Mac, her desire to take care of Jason as he deals with his grief, the way she interacts with her guardian Tess and Kyle, were all great ways of characterizing her without the info-dumping seen in a lot of other young adult novels.

I loved the fact that lycanthropy stemmed from an illness in Hemlock.  Since just a scratch is enough for possible transmission, and you don’t know who may or may not be infected, it added extra tension.  Peacock also makes the reader wonder about the pull of cults and the actions they’ll drive people to, the moral ambiguity of protecting the human race and what it really means to be human.  Hemlock is definitely a book I’d recommend to anyone who likes paranormal mysteries.

Notable Scene:

Something thick and warm ran down my face. Blood.

“Our Father who art in Heaven. Hallowed by thy name…” The words stuck in my throat. Hank had been an atheist and Tess went to church only at Christmas and Easter.

“They kingdom…”

A particularly loud scream echoed behind me and I choked on a sob.

“Thy kingdom come.”

Tears streamed down my face. Battered, bruised, and terrified, I struggled to curl into a ball. Blackness rose up. There was another scream behind me, and then, mercifully, I passed out.

The Hemlock Trilogy:

1. Hemlock

FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Hemlock.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.

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