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.
I usually don’t really like Werewolf books, I find them cliche and often very similar to one another. The same with Vampire novels. Deadly Hemlock is anything but that (even if I didn’t realise at first that I had read it back in 2012 I quickly realised it was a reread but I kept reading it because it still was interesting and captivating). Kathleen Peacock has developed a world where Lupine Syndrome has been spread over the United States, Werewolves are considered animals where they have no rights and are kept in ‘rehabilitation camps’. Set five months after the death of Amy and a rash of killings by a white werewolf the story follows Amy’s three friends when Trackers (or people who ‘deal’ with Werewolves) come to town after yet another attack by a white werewolf.
It’s teenage angst, romance and confusion all rolled up with Werewolves who run around town unregistered while trying to pretend to be human. All the while Mac is trying to solve the mystery of what actually happened to Amy as she doesn’t believe she was actually murdered by a Werewolf but it was only made to look like it.
I think the main redeeming quality that makes it different to a lot of the ‘stereotypical’ werewolf books out there is that a) Wolves aren’t accepted even though they’re known b) the ending actually is rather surprising which I liked. The entire mystery is quite well done.
What I didn’t like? The love triangle. Ugh so over those. The fact that it is the girl deciding between the ‘human’ and the ‘wolf’ well not surprised there. It’s fairly typical teenage angst/romance with paranormal bits in it. The Ending gave it the rating it did otherwise it floats around 3 stars for me. It’s not great but then I didn’t go in thinking it would be a literary masterpiece either.
Still it’s a fun YA werewolf novel. I doubt I’ll read the rest of the series though.