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The Scent Of Shadows: The First Sign Of The Zodiac by Vicki Pettersson
Zodiac Series
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-089891-5
ISBN 10: 0-06-089981-7
Reviewed by Lyonene

Have you ever read a comic book with superheroes and wondered… what if?  What if they were real?  What if someone you knew lived a normal life, yet had another one; one that put them in danger, one that they live in order to keep you and the human race safe from the horrors of evil?  Hmm… what if?

Joanna Archer was hurt badly when she was fifteen.  She was attacked while on her way home from her boyfriend’s house in the desert.  She was beaten, raped and left for dead.  It took a lot of time and a lot of effort, but through years of training in Krav Maga, she knows that she’ll never be a victim again. 

Walking the streets late at night may not be the smartest thing for a young woman to do in Las Vegas, but Joanna isn’t frightened; she can take care of herself.  With a chip on her shoulder the size of a small mountain, Joanna prowls the streets hoping to come face to face with her attacker of ten years ago. Only, this time the outcome of their meeting will be much different; he’ll be the one broken, bleeding and not just left for dead, he WILL be dead.

Making her way home after the blind date from hell at the Valhalla Casino, a homeless man appears in front of her car. Joanna ends up running him down because she’s driving too fast to stop in time.  After a quick and miraculous healing, the man tells her some crazy things…things about superheroes. He tells her that she was one, tells her about her past and then tells her that she is being hunted.  He leaves her with the parting words, “I can’t help you now Joanna. It’s too early by a moon’s rise.  I just came to warn you.  If you survive, I’ll be in touch.  Make sure you survive.”

After yet another attack in her sister’s apartment, Joanna wakes up with the knowledge that her sister was killed. She in turn killed her sister’s murderer and she’s changed, not only from the metamorphosis she went through the previous night, but from the emotional devastation of Olivia’s death.  And she’s being hunted, again. 

The Scent Of Shadows starts well with action and an introduction to the main characters of Joanna, Warren and Ben, but it took me a few chapters to figure out what was truly going on and to understand the rules of this world.  Once I gained my bearings, The Scent Of Shadows took off and brought me right along with it.  Joanna‘s long lost love, Ben, is finally back in her life after she turned away from him after her attack, but because of new circumstances, can he stay?  Warren, who Joanna believes is insane half the time, turns out to be the leader of the Zodiacs in Las Vegas.  He’s a true leader that will put his life on the line, if doing so will save even one of his team, but what bothers Jo, is that he’ll sacrifice an innocent if their death will save many others.  

Fast moving and emotionally charged, The Scent Of Shadows is an incredible adventure that had me spellbound and imprisoned until the final page…and totally loving every moment of it (even if it did keep me up all night).  I just couldn’t put it down.  Ms. Pettersson is a wonderful storyteller with an incredible imagination that can pull you right into the story.  I can’t wait until the next book, The Taste Of Night: The Second Sign Of The Zodiac, to be released!!   I will be getting it!


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