Book Review: Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson

Book Review: Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson
17 Comments Book Review Heidi Angell

Book Title: Nightshades
Author: Melissa F. Olson
Genre: Urban fantasy
Amazon rating: 4.3


Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades.

Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

Reviewed by: Katheryn Avila
My rating: 4.5 stars


4.5 stars!

Nightshades kind of came out of nowhere for me. One day, I was browsing Facebook when an article popped up of upcoming books. I mentioned in passing to my boyfriend that I’d really like to read this one, mainly because I can’t pass up a good vampire story. After that, though, I basically forgot about the book until he surprised me with it. Man, am I glad he did! Vampire stories are a dime a dozen, but Nightshades definitely stands out thanks to its relatable characters, fast-paced story, and amazingly descriptive yet brief writing.

The story picks up some time after the existence of vampires becomes public knowledge. The FBI, as a result, has created a new department/division called the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations aka BPI. The story follows newly-promoted Alex McKenna has he tries to deal with the threat posed by vampires in Chicago. Alex is a pretty relatable guy – he’s a great agent, but struggles with removing himself from his mother’s shadow within the FBI. His struggle to prove himself is what characterizes him and drives him forward in every decision he makes. One of those decisions involves recruiting a vampire, Lindy, to help combat the threat in Chicago. Lindy’s another great character, and who I would point to as the second protagonist of the story and my personal favorite. She has some history with the vampire behind the happenings in Chicago and her own demons and shortcomings to deal with, along with her desire to just live in peace. There’s a clear spark between the two characters, giving off a will they/won’t they vibe which I’m a sucker for. Not to mention, most vampire romances I’ve read usually don’t place the woman in the role of vampire. This was a nice change of pace.

The vampires themselves were pretty cool, too. Unlike traditional vampires, they don’t turn to dust in sunlight. They also have extra abilities, like saliva that acts as a mind-control agent. Olson put her own twist on the vampire mythos that makes them into something new and interesting.

As a novella, it’s a very quick read – I got through it in a couple of hours. Reading it felt very much like watching an action movie, with all the fight scenes that implies. Despite it’s brevity, at no point did I feel like it was missing anything. The writing was tight, clean, and very enjoyable. My only complaint is that it left me wanting more! Olson does a great job of setting up an interesting world, showing us peeks of how the public reacts to the existence of vampires and the possible social repercussions (do vampires have human rights?) of such a discovery. As I read it, it wasn’t hard to imagine things going exactly as Olson describes. Here’s to the possibility of seeing a follow-up novel. The author did a good job of telling a complete and entertaining story, but the unanswered questions definitely leave the doors open for more.

If you’re into vampires and action, then this is the book for you!

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