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.

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If I could describe Hemlock in one word, it would be “stunning”. Seriously, this book blew me away with its lush descriptions, perfectly flawed characters, unforeseeable twists and turns, a believable romance, and fear-inspiring villans. After I finished, I wanted to flip it right over and start again!

I wasn’t sure what to expect upon turning the first page of this book. I adore Urban Fantasies, but have never been big on werewolves. It obviously requires a certain suspension of rationality to believe that a virus can cause bones to shift, hair to grow, and a biped to transform into a quadriped. However, I was completely happy to hand over my brain and my heart to Kathleen Peacock and become like putty in her hands.

The humans-turned-werewolves in Hemlock were sympathetic and relateable. After all, they’re not just evil fairytale creatures out for blood. They’re regular human beings who were unfortunate enough to contract the virus that changes their life forever. They are cast out from society and stripped free of their human rights. Society as a whole has slapped a big label on werewolves, with “VICIOUS” written across, and the hatred towards these “creatures” is on the rise. The subtle but effective message within the pages of Hemlock on the dangers of prejudice and judgment is a much-needed one in today’s social climate.

I really adored all of the characters in Hemlock, even the bad guys and the secondary characters. They each played their part well and were very well-written. I enjoyed the friendship that was portrayed between Mac, Kyle, Jason, and Amy. I had a group of friends like that in high school, and the similarities are eerie! Mac was such a fierce character, and I really felt for all of the highs and lows she went through. I like to fancy that she’s a bit like me, in that she wants to “save” everyone from themselves, and tries to see the best in even the worst of people. I loved how Kathleen handled the love triangle between Kyle, Mac, and Jason. It was definitely NOT the focus of the story, and I respect that there was no definite “team” between the two boys. Jason and Kyle are both lovable, though incredibly flawed, and you never really know which one will come out on top.

The nightmares that Mac has throughout the story were delightfully creepy, and despite Hemlock not having illustrations, I could vividly picture what she felt and saw. I also enjoyed the way the mystery of Amy’s death and the secrets she hid from Mac slowly and purposefully unfolded. Maybe, looking back, I could have guessed a couple things, but Kathleen Peacock has a way of telling a story that just keeps you hurtling forward with no desire to figure things out before they’re revealed within the story. This is one of the greatest attributes of a master story-teller, in my humble opinion.

Hemlock ended on such a great cliff-hanger, and left me stuttering and wide-eyed. Now, I cannot WAIT for Hemlock #2, which is sooo far off, the title and release date haven’t even been declared yet! In the meantime, though, Kathleen Peacock has a fabulous website, where you can really dig down deep into the history and behind-the-scenes world of Hemlock: There, you will find Deleted & Bonus Scenes, Playlists, Hemlock Wallpapers, Character Rosters and more.

I do hope that this review has urged you to grab Hemlock off the nearest shelf and give it a read. It is easily one of my most favorite reads of 2012 thus far! Kathleen Peacock has earned a “Standing O” from this book lover!

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Hemlock? What did you think of it?

If you have already read and reviewed it, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave some comment love below, and let’s discuss!

Thanks for stopping by BlookGirl, and happy reading!