“Hemlock” by Kathleen Peacock
4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Hemlock is a murder/fantasy fictional book that is the beginning of a new series/trilogy. Hemlock holds lovely characters that will capture your heart, an enjoyable heroine, and some…werewolves? A deadly virus has been created by someone and it is causing humans to be turned into werewolves.
Hemlock begins with Mac’s best friend, Amy’s, funeral. Distraught over her friend’s eerie death, Mac feels broken and guilty. If only she had kept her plans with Amy instead of studying, her best friend would still be here, still be safe. But Mac isn’t the only one who feels guilty; Kyle, the faithful protective friend blames himself for not picking up his phone when Amy called for help, and Jason, Amy’s boyfriend and a trouble maker, blames himself for saying something that made Amy get out of the car, and then letting her walk away alone. Alone…
All of them feel responsible in one way or another for Amy not being there now; the three friends, who once there were four, are wracked with an undeniable guilt that for some, is turning into anger and revenge. But little do they know that there is more to Amy’s death than a freak occurrence; murder was its purpose, and it was not done completely by a werewolf. Someone wanted Amy dead. Can the three friends stick together long enough to find Amy’s true killer, or will the rifts caused by her death be too much to forgive, too wide to heal?
Mackenzie is funny and cute, but has a darker past. Hank, her father, was a criminal and abandoned her when she was very young, and she is now taken care of by her older, and certainly less wizened, cousin, Tess. With the loss her best friend, and the withdrawal of her other friend, Jason, Mac feels very alone in this big bad world. Lucky for her, she still has her other best friend, Kyle, to look after her. Or does she? Mackenzie’s world begins to crumble with some new revelations concerning Amy’s death, and Jason’s joining the Trackers. Kyle is a mystery too! Is anyone who she thought they were, and can the truth somehow be even worse than the lies she has been fed for months? The answer is, “yes.”
Kyle is smart funny and sweet, but despite his and Mac’s deeply rooted friendship, he has some secrets of his own. Can Mac and Jason be trusted with a secret as dangerous and hard to keep as his? If he tells them, can they find it in themselves to forgive him for lying, and still love him despite his dark secret? Or will the shadows and secrets Hemlock breeds within itself destroy not only him, but everyone he loves?
Jason is the bad-boy of Hemlock. He’s been friends with Kyle since third grade, and is friends with Amy and Mac. Ever since Mac came to town three years ago, his happy little bubble has been a little different, somehow fuller and better than it had been. But after Amy’s death, and the secrets he has kept from Mac, it will be hard for him to trust her not to hate him because of the truth. And why does everyone look at him, or at least Kyle and Mac, like he’s some psychopath for wanting revenge for what he/she did to his girlfriend. Well, maybe they are right. But can he let go of his desire for revenge and realize that he is losing the only two people left in his life who love him before they too are lost forever?
Wow! Hemlock was fantastic, and is in my top ten favorite books. Peacock has a gift for writing and creating likable and “real” characters that reach out to your heart and threaten to never let go. I was enthralled from beginning to end, and I enjoyed that the plot was well planned and finished as strong, or stronger, than it began. I did guess a few things, but when you assume that everyone is a killer, you have a greater chance of being right! I enjoyed the twists and turns that Kathleen takes her reader through, and I felt that I was involved in the story somehow; I just felt like I was there with them, watching it all happen from the not-so-far-away sidelines. Also, there was nearly zero language, which was fantastic. I am longing to read the next book that will continue thee three friends’ stories.