Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

The basics

Title: Hemlock


Series: Hemlock #1

- Hemlock (2012)
- Thornhill (2013)
- Willowgrove (2015)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

Fans of Maggie Stiefvater and the hit television show True Blood will flock to this first book in the supernatural mystery series set in a town where werewolves live in plain sight. Mackenzie Dobson's life has been turned upside down since she vowed to hunt her best friend Amy's killer: a white werewolf. Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country, and bloodlust is not easy to control. But it soon becomes clear that dangerous secrets are lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, Mac's hometown—and she is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her in grave danger.

Kathleen Peacock's thrilling debut novel provides readers with a mystery that Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder, calls "clever and frightening," while Sophie Jordan, New York Times bestselling author ofFirelight, raves: "Forget every werewolf book you've ever read. This one breaks the mold."

Read a full summary of Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock below. If you can’t remember what happened in Hemlock and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

This recap was written by Kelly from Effortlessly Reading. She’s a fabulous sidekick!

in short

Mac is still recovering from her best friend Amy’s violent death. Everyone suspects that Amy has been killed by a werewolf. There has recently been a number of killings in Hemlock caused by a white werewolf a few months after Amy died and Trackers, people who track down and kill werewolves, move into Hemlock, controlling everything. Jason, Mac’s friend and Amy’s boyfriend, joins the Trackers against Mac’s wishes and Mac realizes her feelings for Kyle, who also share similar romantic feelings towards her. However, Mac discovers that Kyle is a werewolf after he saves her from a Tracker attack. Mac doesn’t care that Kyle is a werewolf, but he does, worried that he could lose control and kill Mac at any moment. Mac digs deeper into Amy’s death, discovering that Jason and Amy had broken up right before Amy died and that Amy was drugged when she was murdered. In the end, Mac discovers that her current best friend, Serena, and Serena’s older brother, Trey, were also werewolves like Kyle. Mac finds out that Amy’s murderer was Ben, Mac’s guardian Tess’ older boyfriend. There was an epic battle between the lead Tracker Derby, Mac, Kyle, Jason, Trey, Serena, and Ben. Ben manages to escape, but Derby gets killed. The book ends with Kyle leaving Hemlock, planning to go to a rehabilitation camp and Mac chasing after him to stop him with Jason tagging along with her.

what happened in Hemlock?

  • Mac, who is Amy’s best friend, Jason, who is Amy’s boyfriend, and Kyle, Mac’s friend, attends Amy’s funeral. We find out that she was killed by a werewolf six days ago.
  • Flash forward five months and we find out that there has been other killings. The suspect? A white werewolf. We learn about the lupine syndrome.
  • We meet Tess, Mac’s legal guardian, and Tess’ boyfriend, Ben. Tess teases Mac about Kyle, thinking that they secretly like each other.
  • Mac is walking home when she sees Trey beating up Jason because Jason owed him money. Mac brings Jason home and learns that there’s a new werewolf attack after five long months with no attacks.
  • Mac learns that the Trackers – people who track down and kill off werewolves – are back in town and witnesses them taking down a classmate in class.
  • Mac thinks that something’s up between Kyle and his ex-girlfriend, Heather. She also spots Jason looking at her at different moments (aka he likes her).
  • Worried that Jason would join the Trackers, Mac attends a Tracker meeting with her current best friend Serena and meets the current Tracker leader, Branson Derby. Jason accuses Mac about not caring about Amy’s death, upsetting Mac greatly.
  • Mac saves Ethan, the leader of the RfW, from two Trackers: Jimmy and Alexis. Mac is cornered in an alley by them when a brown werewolf saves her. She discovers that the brown werewolf is actually Kyle and promptly faints.
  • Mac is at the hospital recovering when Branson Derby threatens to hurt her and Jason if Mac insists on telling the police that Jimmy and Alexis was hurting her and it was a werewolf that had saved her. Derby tells her to tell everybody that she remembers nothing and to say nothing to Jason about the incident and to lie about it if Jason asks. Mac is forced to agree on his terms.
  • Mac has a talk with Kyle at his house and learns that he got lupine syndrome from Heather. They end up kissing, which Kyle regrets doing because he is a “monster” and is planning to turn himself in to the authorities. Kyle walks away when suddenly, the window breaks, and Heather appears, half-transformed, jealous, and angry, and accidentally hurts Kyle. (Heather had seen Mac and Kyle kissing.) Kyle transforms to a werewolf and shoves Heather out into the yard.
  • Mac tells Serena the truth about what had happened in the alley, leaving the Kyle is a werewolf detail out of it.
  • Kyle talks with Mac, telling her that he’s not going to turn himself to the authorities anymore, but he is going to leave Hemlock. Mac tries to convince Kyle not to do it, and they kiss. After Kyle left, Jason reveals that he’s been watching them all along, and angrily confronts Mac about her relationship with Kyle, not knowing about it. As Jason turns to leave, Mac notices a black dagger tattoo on the side of his neck, meaning that he has joined the Trackers.
  • Mac studies the envelope that Jason has left behind, containing Amy’s death report with photos. Mac looks at the call records and suspects that Amy was on her way to see Trey on the night she died. Mac also found out that Jason and Amy had broken up the night she died.
  • Heather attacks Mac at school. Frantic, Mac calls Jason for help. Two Trackers save her and they take Heather away.
  • Mac asks Serena about Trey and Amy, only to get shut out by Serena. Serena also informs Mac that Amy isn’t as perfect as Mac had thought.
  • Mac and Kyle stop by Detective Bishop’s house. (Detective Bishop was in charge of Amy’s case.) Mac learns that the white werewolf that had killed her might have been a serial killer and that Amy was drugged when she died. Bishop also said that he thinks that Jason had killed Amy.
  • Mac and Kyle left Bishop’s house when they saw the white werewolf outside. Kyle and the white wolf fought. Mac and Kyle managed to escape the attack and went to Serena’s house, where they were surrounded by Trackers.
  • There, they saw Serena with an injured Trey. Derby was questioning/harassing them and Jason was just standing there watching, doing nothing to help. Mac learns that the reason Jason and Amy had broken up was because of her (aka Jason likes her). Amy was sleeping with Trey to get back at Jason. Derby then lit Serena’s house on fire with her little brother Noah still inside, hoping to anger Trey into transforming into a werewolf.
  • Serena surprisingly transforms into a black werewolf and runs into her house, trying to save Noah, with Kyle and Mac running after her. Trey also shifts, starting to attack Jason when wolf-Kyle blocked him from doing so. Serena managed to save her little brother and Mac, Kyle, Serena, and Trey drives away, refusing to take Jason along with them.
  • Mac decided to give Jason a chance to help them and told him their address. Mac also began to suspect Ben for killing Amy because the dates he gave just didn’t match up.
  • Mac finally tells Jason about Derby’s threat and explained why she lied to him. They argue and Jason angrily kisses her. Kyle sees them kissing. Mac discovers that Kyle had also knew that Jason and Amy had broken up before Amy died.
  • Mac suspects that Amy had been killed for politics since her rich grandfather was supporting werewolf rights right before Amy died. Mac confirms that Ben indeed had been lying to her and Tess, suspecting that Ben was part of the Trackers.
  • Ben kidnaps Mac. Mac learns that Ben’s real name was in fact Ian and that he was working for Derby as a werewolf, killing off people so the Trackers would get more power. Ian is also Derby’s son. Ian attacked Mac under Derby’s orders, when suddenly, Jason arrives with a gun, along with a transformed werewolf Kyle. Trey also arrived later to help. In the end, Ian managed to escape while Derby was killed by werewolf Kyle.
  • Tess later tells Mac that Ian called from a pay phone to break up with her.
  • Mac wakes up only to find out that Kyle has left. Mac decides to chase after Kyle, and Jason tags along.

how did it end?

Ben, whose real name is really Ian, turns out to be Amy’s killer. Derby, the leader of the Trackers, is dead. Kyle leaves Hemlock to turn himself in and Mac chases after him. Jason decides to tag along with Mac.

anything else

Lupine Syndrome: Aka the disease that makes you turn into a werewolf. Two ways to catch it: a bite or a scratch from a fully or partially transformed werewolf. If that happens, you turn into a werewolf yourself.

Trackers: People who track down and kill off werewolves. They usually have a black dagger tattoo.
RfW: Also known as Regs for Werewolves; a national network of werewolf rights activists.
LSRB: Also known as the Lupine Syndrome Registration Bureau. They send you straight into a werewolf camp where you’re caged like an animal.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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