PUBLISHER: Headline (UK) | Berkley (US)
RELEASE DATE: June 2012
FORMAT: Hardcover, 359 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more. But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them. (Goodreads)
I think anyone who has read the Anita Blake series has quite strong emotions on how the story with Anita and her immensely complicated love life has developed. The series has taken a very different route than many fans expected. I keep reading the books because I loved the early ones so much and have read them about four times. I thought all was lost and then I read Hit List, it was like a refreshing step back in time. Edward and Anita and a serious amount of guns. Oh yeah!
So I had a lot of great expectations for KISS THE DEAD. I’m in two minds about the book, first there was the police investigation and the action scenes, this has always been where Hamilton excels as a writer. The opening paragraph takes us straight in with Anita at a crime scene, crazy vamps and hostages. Immediately I was excited.
But then came the scenes with the dreaded boyfriends, and I say dreaded because this is how I began to feel about the pages when I knew they were approaching. I found myself thinking ugh she’s going home, cue melodrama. It’s gotten so crazy I actually could not tell you who are her boyfriends and who aren’t, or how many are in the final total. Oh, but there is a girl now and her youngest lover while eighteen, is still at school. Then there’s Asher. Actually the least said about Asher the better. Anyone got a stake?
I don’t really mind that Anita is polyandrous. Well, I guess I do, as the extent is a bit crazy. But, I understand the books are as much about her seduction by her powers and the darkness surrounding her, as it is about her being a vampire executioner. There was also a theme in the book of Anita realising that there are just too many men in her life. I did feel at times like Hamilton is trying to cleave the story back to the action, and the police work that originally made this series such a success. But the crux of it is the scenes with her partners rarely seem to go anywhere. The plot surrounding them is overblown, repeating the same themes and they have become painfully tedious rather than interesting and sexy.
The crime scenes and police work were great. I am intrigued by the addition of Brice the new executioner on the block. I smiled at the interactions between Anita and Zebrowski. I hissed at the prejudiced investigators. I loved the guns and the gore and the adrenalin. This is where I wanted to see more of and is where those pages kept on turning.
Stylistically the book seemed clumsy, there seemed two streams of repetitive description. More so than normal. I also did not understand the need to be continually reminded of how tough or how tall Anita is. We all know she’s tough, that’s why I love the books. I lost count of the amount of times she or others inferred she was a monster.
I’m better at killing the monsters, because I’m one of them, is that it?
As much as I know it’s an important element of Anita’s journey, it seemed to be repeated over and over. There were whole paragraphs that should have hit the editing table, because they just weren’t needed. Sadly, I just wanted more from this book and I think it could have been better.
My problem with KISS THE DEAD is that I know Hamilton can do better. I’m so frustrated with the boyfriend problems, and want more action and more bad guy hunting. Will I pick up the next one? Probably, but I doubt I’ll rush to the shops…
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
1.Guilty Pleasures (Carolyn’s review)
2.The Laughing Corpse
3.Circus of the Dammed
4.The Lunatic Cafe
6.The Killing Dance
10.Narcissus in Chains
21.Kiss the Dead
BUY THE BOOK