Review: Hemlock-Kathleen Peacock

4/5 Stars

Hemlock (Hemlock, #1)-Kathleen Peacock

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Old people asked each other where they’d been when JFK was shot; my generation asked each other if they could remember the day werewolves officially came out of the closet.

Plot: Werewolves have come out of the closet, the lupine disease is prevalent and spread throughout the U.S. Because there are so many infected with the disease they have established multiple rehabilitation camps that are essentially prison camps. A group of activists called Trackers encourage anyone who suspects someone of being a werewolf to report them. The Trackers, lead by Derby, are compared to a white supremacist group and used very violent, backward ways to capture those infected, beating someone to death is not uncommon. In the small town of Hemlock, the people are divided by eastside and westside, the wealthy and the poor, respectively. A string of brutal werewolf maulings haunt the town of Hemlock but it does not get media attention until Amy Walsh was viciously murdered by a werewolf. Amy Walsh is the granddaughter of a state senator and the former best friend of the main character MacKenzie. MacKenzie lives on the poor side with her cousin turned guardian Tess. Her father was a small time criminal wanted for a slew of robberies, beatings, etc, and her mother left. Up until Amy’s death, MacKenzie, Kyle, Jason, and her had been an inseparable foursome. But like any complicated relationship secrets and lies were buried deep and at her death, Amy’s all trickled to the surface. MacKenzie struggles to deal with her best friend’s death, helping Jason(Amy’s boyfriend) cope with his self-destructive behavior, and figuring out her budding attraction to Kyle. Meanwhile, the Trackers take over the town and MacKenzie pieces together clues that lead her to startling discoveries about Amy and what may or may not have happened to her.

PROS:

  • Tons of action, plenty of violence, beatings, and weird initiation rites. 
  • The werewolves are not all bad and their placements in the camps is a matter of politics and pushing through laws. The whole political system behind establishment of the camps, laws about werewolves, and the fact that after bitten they are no longer people so they revoke their rights is fascinating, not to mention something to think about in relation to our current laws.
  • 3 hot boys and their macho possessive behavior is definitely swoon worthy.
  • There are several great bouts of comic relief.
  • The plot reads like a crime novel but feels like a supernatural drama.
  • MacKenzie’s dreams of Amy serve as a combination of Amy’s personality and MacKenzie’s own subconscious doubts. They are really interesting and function as a cool foreshadowing technique.

CONS:

  • MacKenzie is constantly making ridiculous mistakes and putting her life on the line for reasons that are only justifiable half of the time.
  • The dream scenes are really foreboding and when they suggest some unknown danger in the future serve as more of the author’s insertion into the book. I’m not quite sure how to feel about this but it’s a little too postmodern for my standards.

If you liked Ellen Schreiber’s Full Moon series you’ll like this. 

-BB