Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson


Teens are missing, agents are slaughtered and shades (vampires) are a known entity. Special Agent in Charge Alex McKenna lobbies for and gets the top job in the Chicago Bureau of Investigations-Bureau of preternatural investigations. Alex wants to prove he’s more than a legacy as his new team is tasked to verify the connection to shades and put a stop to the rampage for safety and public relations.

Determined to use every resource he can think of to create a successful team, Alex visits the one shade they have in captivity and is in turn steered to shade Rosalind ‘Lindy’ Fredrick of Cincinnati. Impartial and non-violent, Lindy broke with vampire leader Hector’s rulings of stealth to the point of embracing human behavior but became anxious when she couldn’t reconcile the Chicago killings.

Alex visits Lindy at her office to talk at the same time shades arrive to either kill her or bring her to Hector. Lindy maneuvers Alex to safety by insisting they talk away from her workplace. Alex is unprepared to find his type of woman in Lindy, except that pesky shade thing. Continuing to make his own rules, Alex offers Lindy a job on his team but she’s reluctant to leave her spot under the radar.

Alex is fairly confident he can make a difference with both a shade attack survivor and Lindy on his side and persists. Alex and Lindy are circumspect about their new working arrangement but the shades have devious and insidious methods to gather information. It doesn’t take long until Lindy is very much on their radar and adaptations are made accordingly, leaving room for exciting battle sets.

This fast paced tale offers a fairly fresh take on vampire life without going to one extreme or the other. The characters are well done and the story has natural ebbs and flows that work with the lead and secondary characters strengths. A nit that definitely needs picking here is the ending. While not exactly a thrilling cliffhanger, the reader is left with enough puzzles to independently clamor for a sequel.
Rating: 4.5stars

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