Review: ‘Kiss the dead’ by Laurell K Hamilton

Anita Blake returns in this, the 21st novel in the ‘Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter’ series.

A fifteen year old girl is missing, presumed kidnapped by vampires. Anita is the Marshal on the case. Working with RPIT, St.Louis police’s specialist preternatural crime branch, she must interrogate a witness/suspect and find the girl. There is little time, and when their suspect finally answers the questions they realise there is no time at all.

Going to the rescue Anita and the team find that the problem is much worse. With two officers dead and a potentially volatile group of ‘Free’ vampires holding the girl hostage violence is the most likely outcome. A conspiracy is uncovered that will cause Anita personal pain, unless it can be stopped.
The investigation continues and things take a turn for the worse when bomb making materials are discovered. Who and what are the targets?

Then a ray of hope arrives, in the form of Weiskopf, the human servant of Benjamin, the vampire nominally in charge of the ‘free’ vampires. Shocked at the news of potential explosive devises Weiskopf reveals how little control over the other vampires Benjamin truly has. Unfortunately it’s too late.

A phone call from Nicky (Anita’s bodyguard and lover) let’s them know the conspiracy has taken hostages. Going to the rescue once again, this time of people so much closer to Anita than a stranger, Anita has to prevent bloodshed and end the violence once and for all.

Through all this Anita has been questioning herself, but so have her colleagues and superiors within the police force who are questioning her loyalties and integrity. A one-time friend believes she has become a monster, her newest boyfriend has problems with her job and the women in the office are getting terribly jealous. And should she trust the new Marshal she has to work with?

Laurell K Hamilton has written another steady instalment in her Anita Blake series. I’ve read all but ‘Hit list’, the novel preceding ‘Kiss the dead’, and mostly I’ve enjoyed them. Unfortunately I’ve found the recent novels repetitive. Ms Hamilton’s formula of ‘criminal investigation/sex/ metaphysics/Anita’s messed up personal life’ has produced some good stories but now its getting boring. The plots are underdeveloped, the writing repetitive and lazy, and editing for continuity lax – I found an instance of an entire paragraph repeated two chapters apart and a characters name changes half way through a scene before changing back again at the end. On a couple of occasions I lost track of events because the writing was unclear.

Yes, on occasion the wry humour that makes the earlier books so enjoyable makes an appearance and the development of some of the newer characters are positive points, but they are outweighed by the problems of the writing and the underdeveloped plot lines.

2/5 – sorry but it just wasn’t that good.

As much as it pains me to admit it I probably won’t read any more of these books, and I’ll only re-read the first dozen. Its such a shame because its a good concept.

That’s the first of the three new books reviewed. I’ll be back in a few days with more.

Bye

Rose

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