Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: May 8, 2012
Summary: Mac’s best friend Amy was murdered by a werewolf. Mac and her other friends, Kyle and Jason, all feel a sense of responsibility for Amy’s death. After all, Amy wouldn’t have died if one of them had just been there for her. The local police have brought in the Trackers, a group of werewolf hunters, in to find the wolf that killed Amy. But something’s fishy about Amy’s death, and Mac is determined to find out what.
My thoughts: Hemlock might come as a bit of a surprise to you (it certainly did to me!). It’s pitched as a paranormal romance, but it’s actually more of a mystery. Better yet, the focus is actually on human rights (or lack thereof)! I love when YA digs into current socio political happenings. Kathleen Peacock’s world-building is absolutely fantastic: if lupine syndrome were ever to exist in today’s world, it would definitely spark the same controversy that Peacock addresses in Hemlock. The people against werewolf rights, the Trackers, are horrifying. But you can totally see how certain members of society would rationalize their existence. Shudder!
Back to the mystery I mentioned earlier. Hemlock is a darn good murder mystery. Yes, there is a supernatural element involved in the world of Hemlock, but the mystery-solving mostly just involves research and good ol’ fashioned deduction. It’s believable that Mac—and ordinary girl—would be able to solve this case. The twists that Kathleen Peacock throws into her story are fantastic and completely surprising. I was unable to predict the killer until the big reveal (and that’s saying something; you know how many books I read)!
My only issue with Hemlock lay with the two main male characters. Yes, there is a love triangle, but neither of the dudes really struck my fancy. And if they can’t do that, I can’t enjoy the love triangle. Let’s start with Kyle, the better of the two. Kyle starts off as a relatively sweet guy, but he starts to smother Mac once we find out his big secret. Jason is all sorts of messed up, with a drinking problem and a tendency for self-loathing. Making both guys flawed does make them seem more realistic, but their overprotectiveness clashes with Mac’s girl-power vibe, and neither of them are, in my opinion, worthy of her.
Speaking of Mac’s awesomeness, I cannot neglect to mention that yes, she is a fantastic protagonist. You will love her.
If you’re a fan of murder mysteries with a dash of paranormal, check out Hemlock! Kathleen Peacock’s debut novel is excellent.
For those who like: werewolves, social commentary, mysteries