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HEMLOCK (Hemlock #1) by Kathleen Peacock
400 pages, hardcover
Available now (May 2012)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Review copy provided by publisher via Amazon Vine for honest review
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.
Though this book is filled with YA cliches (Ooh, let me look at myself in the mirror so I can tell everyone what I look like! Gasp--I'm waking up from a bad dream in which I saw Very Bad Things that were True! What? Two boys like me and want me? I'm so confused by my feelings for both of them. Oh noes! Dead BFF--I'm so sad!), HEMLOCK rises above the cliche to tell a great story.
A big fan of the werewolf genre (#nakedwerewolf FTW), I really like the spin this book takes on the subject. Lupine syndrome can be contracted through a bite or scratch and those who catch it are persecuted--killed outright or sent off to internment camps (reminded me of the Japanese internment camps of WWII). People are afraid and the Trackers--an ostensibly helpful group led by a fanatical leader--step in to assist with "containing" the virus in the town of Hemlock after a series of brutal werewolf attacks.
A relatively happy-go-lucky girl with a good life prior to the death of her best friend, Mac wants to know what really happened to her friend. She develops into a much more focused and, ultimately, accepting person who has to make a series of very bad choices. All the characters are well-developed and, even if you don't particularly like some of them (Jason's kind of a drunken arse), it's easy to get caught up in their drama.
HEMLOCK delivers an action-packed mystery filled with love and loss, fanaticism and prejudice, and hard choices.
Available on Amazon | IndieBound