Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Title: Hemlock
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock, #1

The town of Hemlock is still reeling from the werewolf attacks that claimed four lives and infected eight others. Among those killed was Mac’s best friend Amy. When rumors of another attack arise and the Trackers, a private militia group bent on eliminating the werewolf threat, move in, everyone goes on alert. Mac struggles to keep Amy’s boyfriend Jason above water, even when it seems his self-destructive ways might drown him for good, and she isn’t getting much help from her best friend Kyle whose own behavior has been erratic. With Amy’s death still unsolved, Mac finds herself on a quest to discover the culprit, but the deeper she delves into the murder, the more danger she finds herself in.

“I’d never been more aware of the absence of people, of the way shadows and dark buildings could press in on a person. I stretched my stride as far as it would go, trying to increase the gap between us. Each breath sliced my throat and chest.”

This is the only werewolf-centered book I’ve read that doesn’t treat werewolves as some clandestine monster of lore, stalking prey without the general public’s knowledge. Kathleen Peacock’s Hemlock casts a very real light on werewolves. They are real, they are dangerous, and fearing them is only the beginning. Rehabilitation centers have gone up all over the nation to house those infected with the deadly lupine syndrome and tempers are flaring over werewolf rights. This is the kind of world-building I like in a book because as a reader, I find myself contemplating these scenarios which makes falling into the book so much easier and enjoyable.

Mac is a relatable and admirable protagonist. Her need to help those around her is in direct contrast with her own troubled upbringing, which includes an absent mother and a criminal father. She holds on to those she cares about, even Amy herself, as long as she possibly can because family is something that has not come easy for her. She has an infinite threshold for hope and is willing to give up everything for those she loves. She also has a bit of fight in her that I wholly respect.

Mac’s relationship with the two boys in her life is complicated. Jason, Amy’s boyfriend, is eaten up with guilt and anger. He makes highly questionable decisions and while I can understand his need for vengeance, I wanted to slug him more than a few times. And I must give Mac credit for not falling into the ‘oh this boy is wounded and just needs someone to love him’ trap, because despite her heavenly patience, even she got tired of the mess he was making of his life. And then there’s the dependable Kyle, juxtaposed with Jason, struggling with his own problems, but infinitely more self-controlled and I couldn’t help but love the guy.

This is my second time reading Hemlock and if I had remembered how wonderful it was, I would have read it again a lot sooner. Now it’s time for the sequel…

Rating: 5/5


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