[By Nic Lindh on Monday, 15 November 2004]
I found Laurell K. Hamilton’s Guilty Pleasures while cruising around Amazon. There’s no way I would have bought it if I’d found it in a bookstore as it has the following ghastly blurb on the front page: “A heady mix of romance and horror.” Gag.
Well, just shows how much we judge books by their covers.
Fortunately though, the novel is actually pretty good. (There are some horror-ish type things, which make sense when you’re dealing with vampires, but there’s very little romance, and no Romance as genre.)
This is the first book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. The concept is that all sort of supernatural things like vampires, ghouls, zombies, and lycanthropes are actually real and have come out from hiding to take their place in society. Anita is an animator–meaning she can raise the dead–who moonlights as a vampire killer. The vampires know her as “The Executioner.” Not that this is outside the law, by any means. Anita only kills vampires who have gone far enough outside what is accepted that they have to be destroyed. Sort of like a dog catcher.
In Guilty Pleasures, somebody has started killing vampires in gruesome and unauthorized ways, and the vampires obviously want this to stop, so they force Anita into finding the killer.
As is common with the first book in a series, the characters are a bit vague and not all that fleshed out, and the myth somewhat blurry around the edges.
The writing is fairly tight, even though it dips a bit too much into Hollywood-esque one-liners when it tries for noir and Anita feels much too flippant for somebody in the kinds of troubles she is dealing with.
Nevertheless, this is a very promising start, and the series could turn out to be very good. Well worth checking out if you feel the need for some blooood.