Mackenzie's best friend, Amy, was killed by a werewolf. Lupine syndrome has been identified by the government for many years, and those infected are sent to government-run rehabilitation camps. But there are werewolves who keep their infection a secret. And when the bloodlust hits them, they must kill. Amy fell victim to one of these werewolves, and Mac can't stop the bad dreams.
When the Trackers come to town to track down Amy's killer and any other werewolves they can find, Mac gets frightened. Jason, who was Amy's boyfriend, is threatening to join this group whose methods aren't always legal. Mac is determined to find out who killed Amy, to relieve the guilt that is giving her nightmares, and to allow the trackers to leave so Jason will be safe.
Kyle is the other member of the foursome, and he is a good friend to Mac, but he has a crazy ex-girlfriend that won't leave him alone, and so he hasn't been around much since Amy's death.
Mac is brave, but somewhat stupid at times, as teens will be. There's much tension and several surprises, including the actual perpetrator who is revealed at the end of the book. Mac's visions of conversations with the dead Amy were brilliant. The portrayal of the Trackers was realistic and frightening -- you can see this happening -- a group not entirely sanctioned by the authorities, but allowed to apprehend and beat up people before even knowing if they are infected. It's a stressful situation and people can overreact, sometimes with violence.
The interplay between Mac, Kyle, and Jason is complicated. They are each dealing with Amy's death differently, and withholding some big secrets from each other. And Peacock creates a believable romance to enhance the story and add some additional tension.
I liked the complexity of the plot. The pacing was excellent; I devoured Hemlock almost without stopping. I don't think it's a book that I will re-read, and won't remember all the details, but I very much enjoyed reading it and won't hesitate to recommend Hemlock to anyone who enjoys paranormal stories. Hemlock is an interesting and somewhat unique addition to the mix. This is a debut author, and I couldn't find anything about future books, but I would be interested in reading some more of her writing.
Published by Katherine Tegen Books, May 8, 2012
ARC obtained from Around the World ARC Tours
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