Kathleen spent most of her teen years writing short stories. She put her writing dreams on hold while attending college but rediscovered them when office life started leaving her with an allergy to cubicles.
Twelve years ago, Lupine Syndrome was finally acknowledged by the government. Whenever an infected person is found, they are thrown into internment camps. Forever.
That grim idea looms over "Hemlock," the first book of a trilogy that takes an unusually realistic look at how lycanthropes would be treated by "regs." At times the teen drama gets a little overwhelming (which Kathleen Peacock even acknowledges), but the murder-mystery and the clash between werewolves and Trackers makes it a fascinating read.
For the past few years, Mac has been inseparable from her best friends Kyle and Amy, and Amy's boyfriend Jason. But one night, Amy is brutally killed by a werewolf that has been terrorizing Hemlock -- and her senator grandfather calls in the Trackers, a bunch of racist violent thugs who devote themselves to hunting werewolves. And the increasingly disturbed Jason is interested in joining them.
But Mac knows what kind of people the Trackers really are. When two of them start savagely beating her, a werewolf suddenly appears to rescue her -- and it turns out to be none other than Kyle.
Obviously this is a shock for Mac, especially since she must now keep his true nature a secret. Her only hope is to find the white werewolf that killed Amy, so the Trackers will leave. But she begins to suspect that there was more to Amy's murder than just a werewolf going wild, and that the cruel Tracker leader may be at the heart of it...
Honestly, the love triangle between Jason, Mac and Kyle is probably the least interesting part of "Hemlock," and to her credit Kathleen Peacock seems aware of this (" It was official: my life belonged on the CW"). It has the usual love triangle, tormented hotties, but Peacock shows a deft cleverness in not falling into the usual pitfalls (ie, not "fixing" a sexy yet tortured boy, whose torturedness comes out in ugly ways).
No, the fascinating parts of the story are how Peacock sculpts a semi-realistic portrait of a world where werewolves actually exist, how "regs" react to them, and the violent fearful hate that the "other" can inspire. Much of the story is actually a murder mystery, with Mac trying to balance out her investigation into who murdered Amy and why, even as she tries to keep herself, Kyle and Jason safe from the Trackers.
And Peacock has a strong writing style, very visceral and smooth, with hints of blood, dirt and cold night air. A few parts of the story could be tightened up a little (Derby just... snuck into a hospital room?!), but she evokes a feeling of dread and slow-burning fear over the whole story.
Mac is pretty different from the usual pampered suburban protagonists of paranormal fiction -- she's the child of a drifting criminal who abandoned her in Hemlock, and she still has some demons from that. At times she seems too gullible (she NEVER noticed that her closest guy friends were attracted to her?!), but she's a likable, strong young heroine.
Jason also seems like an inversion of the usual love interests -- he's sexy, brooding and possessive, but he's also kind of an idiot, and he instantly signs onto an openly racist, violent gang of people merely because they hate werewolves. Kyle needs a bit more fleshing out, but the supporting cast of Serena, Trey and Amy (hallucination/ghost!) round it out nicely.
"Hemlock" needs a wee bit of tightening up, but the story is gripping. And best of all, it has a semi-realistic look at how a world with werewolves might turn out -- something you don't often find.Read more ›
Hemlock is one of my favourite reads ever. Its such a fresh approach to the Werewolf genre. It has everything you could possible want in a good Werewolf book. Action, suspense, mystery, love!! Highly recommend and cant wait for more :)
Deadly Hemlock came so, so close to being an All Time Favourite read. Everything about it was fantastic, and I fell in love with it just a few chapters in. I think this book is one of those that I will want to reread once a year, like Vampire Academy, Soul Screamers and Harry Potter.
I loved the whole idea of the werewolf virus that was infecting people from all over the United States. The idea of deadly werewolves - as opposed to the fluffy, cuddly ones - was brilliant, and while not ALL werewolves were bad, some suffered from bloodlust which made them go a bit crazy. If discovered to be a werewolf, the person is shipped off to a rehab facility where they will stay until they die. This part was particularly chilling, because you hear rumours about what goes on in those camps.
I am dying to learn more about the lupine syndrome and the origins of it, and I hope that the author dives into that in the sequel. I also want to know more about the rehab facilities and what exactly goes on in those. This book did cover some of those aspects, but I am hoping both points will be fully fleshed out in the future!
The main character, Mac, was a badass who looked after her friends. She had, in my eyes, an awesome background that was so, so interesting. Again, I am wondering if we will learn more about that in the future?
There was a love triangle in this book involving two guys and the main character, and I didn't really mind this, despite Mac being totally ignorant for most of the book. I just wanted to hit her over the head with a Twilight novel and hope that she would get it. Alas, she did not, and she stayed clueless until the last few chapters. I am a little worried as to how the love triangle will play out in the next book, because I have a strong preference on which guy I want her to end up with and I am biting my nails in anticipation.
I was totally obsessing over this book while I was reading it and for a long while after. I couldn't put it down! The action scenes were by far my favourite parts of the book. I had to keep rereading them because they were so thrilling and I couldn't breathe the first time around.
Overall, as you can see, I adored this book. With the badass characters, awesome bad guys and evil werewolves, it will definitely have a place on my favourites shelf even if I didn't rate it an All Time Favourite.Read more ›
Lupine Syndrome - also known as 'the werewolf virus' - has been on the rise across the country. Attacks in Hemlock have also been on the rise. Amy is not the first death in town... will she be the last?
Recently werewolves have been outed, no longer are they something of fiction or nightmares. No, they really exist. A fact that Senator John Walsh is in support of. Right up until one kills his grand-daughter, that is. Amy was a beautiful young girl with her whole life ahead of her. She had her loving boyfriend Jason, her best friend Mackenzie - all until that day her life was cut unnecessarily short by the white werewolf.
Mac's life was turned upside down that day. Little did she know things could get a whole lot worse. I know, you're thinking "what could be worse" Right?! But trust me, things got decidedly worse when the Trackers came to town. The Trackers are an extremist group, called into town to hunt for the werewolf. They are working alongside the police, hoping to bring Amy's killer to justice. I'm just not so sure their brand of justice is the same as mine.
Mac knows that the Trackers have come to find Amy's killer. She just can't help but not trust them. There's something about them and their leader, Derby, that hits a nerve. So, wanting to put an end to her dreams where she is haunted by visions of Amy, Mac decides to investigate for herself. Little does she know that the circumstances surrounding Amy's murder would up-end her life even further. She uncovers secrets about the people she loves and holds dear. Secrets that throw her into a maelstrom of violence and bitter betrayal that will see her own life put in harms way.
I loved this story for many reasons. Mac was just the kind of MC that I love. She's feisty, she's tough and when confronted with an amassing amount of evidence that all is not what it seems, she is like a dog with a bone and she will not let it go until she uncovers the truth.
Throughout the whole story, I couldn't help but admire Mac's strength, loyalty and hard-headed attitude. She may have been a little naive in some instances, and she may have been kept in the dark by those closest to her. But that doesn't stop her from being one of the best female leads I have seen in YA. In fact her foibles endear me to her just as much as anything. Along with a great MC and a gritty storyline, there were also some other little bonuses in HEMLOCK. For instance, Kyle. *Swoons* I heart Kyle. Big time! He was the kind of guy you'd be happy to call your best friend. The kind of guy you'd want backing you in a fight. I absolutely fell head over heels in love with him from pretty much first sight.
There's other characters to like, some to hate and some that trip you up when you least expect it. I knew who the killer was before it was revealed, but even then, there was another surprise in store that shocked me to the core.
I finished HEMLOCK with a lump in my throat and tear tracks down my face, so I warn you now - have tissues at the ready.
Being Kathleen Peacock's first novel, I didn't know what to expect from her as an author. What I found was she has a unique style all her own - making her sky-rocket straight onto my favourite authors list. The writing was fast-paced with an elegant fluidity to it that meant I was absolutely swept away and easily lost chunks of time whilst I was reading. I'd pick it up and upon putting it down I would wonder how on earth it had got to that time when it felt like I had only been reading for 5 minutes.
Sometimes I find stumbling blocks within books that it takes me a while to get my head around. But HEMLOCK wasn't one of those books. There was nothing that needing explaining, no barrage of information that attacked you from on high. It was a provocative storyline that prompted questions about love, trust, lies and prejudice. All in all, it was a beautiful story that left me sated yet all at once thirsty for the next installment in the trilogy.
For anyone who likes a good supernatural mystery - this book is a MUST read.Read more ›