Melissa F. Olson
Nightshades Cover



Alex McKenna is a legacy agent at the FBI. So when he volunteers to head one of the most disastrous and dangerous units in agency history, his higher ups are sorely tempted to say no. Alex's argument is a convincing one, though, landing him the gig as Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Bureau of Paranormal Investigations.

Alex has his job cut out for him. Ever since the discovery that vampires are real, efforts at investigating their crimes have resulted in mass casualties. But Alex has a novel approach no one else seems to have considered - using one of their own to hunt them. And in a case where tensions are high and the victims are children, success is his only option.

Melissa F. Olson's latest is a paranormal procedural with just a hint of noir. And it appears to be the start of a series - maybe, hopefully :)

In Alex McKenna's world, vampires are real and have been here mingling with humans for quite some time. But it's only in very recent years that humans have really become aware of the shades' existence. By and large, the population seems to be mostly blasé about the whole thing. As one of the characters notes, the human worry and understanding of the shades' presence is akin to their worry regarding the latest flu outbreak. It's a nuisance more than anything.

But authorities are definitely concerned. Especially when the teams they've put together to investigate shades and crimes attached to them have been massively and embarrassingly unsuccessful.

Lindy is a vampire. One not interested in anti human sentiment or in outing herself and her situation. But that's no longer up to her - Alex McKenna knows what she is and has tracked her down. But Alex doesn't want to detain Lindy. Instead, he hopes she can offer insight into the shades that has so far eluded law enforcement.

There's just one problem: Lindy has also caught the attention of the very shade the feds are currently hunting. And that vampire and his minions are none too pleased with the fact that Lindy is helping the BPI.

The novella gives us fairly good insight into the world, its workings, and the characters that inhabit it. McKenna and Lindy in particular are explored with pretty good depth, but I was glad that Olson also pays attention to side characters like Chase, Ruiz, and the others as well - especially considering the fairly limited page real estate available.

Considering the end, it is fairly clear that the world of Nightshades is intended to encompass more installments than just this first outing. The end is undeniably a cliffhanger and there are oh, so many questions left beyond that scene as well. Normally I'd admit to being fairly bled dry of any interest in vampires these days, but I have to say Olson's have grabbed my attention. I want to know more about the mystery that's begun here in Nightshades and what's going to happen next with McKenna, Lindy, and the rest of the team.