Guilty Pleasures: The Fantastic Wonderful Origins of Anita Blake
Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton
So I have been wanting to go back to reading my old books. And that has been a bit hard to do lately as I recently donate my old library to a retirement home. It’s very hard to move with a collection of three hundred or so books. But the other day I saw some of my favorites were on sale for two dollars a piece on Kindle. One in particular I have been wanting to read again for a while. The book is the first Anita Blake novel, Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton.
What is Guilty Pleasures? It is an urban supernatural dark fantasy following a young woman of unique skills, named Anita Blake. Anita is a necromancer which makes up her main day job of raising the dead for clients ranging from witnesses to testify in court to relatives that family member who can’t let go of. But her part time side jobs of consulting and occasionally hunting vampires for the police. And the occasional vampire hunting requested by the police tends lands her in trouble. The story starts simple. The police request her consulting on a mystery, the same day she volunteered to be the designated driver for her friend’s bachelorette party. She soon discovers that it is a vampire strip club and things go south from there. Anita’s kidnapped and forced to meet the master vampire, a monstrous thousand year old child who black mails her into solving the vampire murders. Even though she doesn’t want to do it, she must because her friend will be killed if she doesn’t. Then begins this murder mystery full of loose ends, red herrings, action and plenty of monsters. And oh yeah, there is wild card of an assassin who may or may not kill her, which is another thing hanging over her head.
The good? It’s a great hard boiled supernatural detective story from an age when Hamilton was more interested in imaginative monster mysteries than erotic fantasies. Hamilton is at her best here. This story is well crafted perfect tale with twists, turns, and red herrings that keeps the reader guessing. Also the story is set in an amazing world. Vampires are citizens and so are other monsters. Prejudice runs deep but not without reason. Many still refuse to blend in. There’s also another strange part of the world where humans are being turned by a vampire church because they are afraid of death and judgement. The world just has all these interesting social statements that are just so darn interesting and they make you think. The action is great. The characters are great super well developed and unique including Anita herself who is a kick ass yet deep involving character. She’s unique and unforgettable. The same goes with the rest of the cast.
So with all that praise one has to ask, is there anything bad? There is. This book has a few scenes where it struggles with detail. I had to re-read a few things to know what is going on, but that’s never good. I’m sure this because it’s one of her earliest works so it’s easy cut her slack for that issue.
Overall, Hamilton was at her best when she wrote this novel and its one of the best of the genre. So it’s a must read. I recommend it to everybody. It’s such a great book that has to be read.
4 smoothies out of Four
Overall Rating: The Fantastic Wonderful Origins of Anita Blake.