Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series #1)

Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake is an Animator. She raises zombies for a living – and it pays surprisingly well. You’d be amazed how many people need a zombie. She’s also a vampire executioner – actually, the Executioner, since she has 14 kills under her belt for legally executed vampires. But she also works for the police, since the mortal police force is expected to investigate the supernatural when they know so little about it, it’s good to have an expert like Anita around. Especially one who can use a gun and wield a stake when needed.Of course, those same skills make her useful to the vampires as well, especially when something starts killing them. The Executioner finds herself working for the Vampires to investigate the killings and find the killer – and not by choice, with both her own and her friend’s lives at risk should she fail. But as the investigation progresses, the chance of her surviving Nikolaos’s wrath seems slim, especially since she seems to have stepped into a political fight between her and Jean-Claude.Then there are 2 vicious killer vampires who most certainly want her dead as soon as possible. And, of course, Edward, Death himself, a vampire hunter that makes Anita seem like an amateur. He wants Nikolaos’ hiding place – but dare she risk Nikolaos’ anger if he fails and could she feed Edward to the vampire? And what will Edward do if she refuses to tell him.I first read this book a long time ago, and I loved it. I still do, despite the direction the story turned. Anita is a strong, independent character, the story is intriguing with a mystery littered with plenty of red herrings to keep me going. Anita isn’t exactly the most brilliant of investigators, that’s certainly true and the villain ends up finding her rather than the other way round – but the journey to the villain isn’t slow or dull. I think, in some ways, mystery is a misnomer. Anita tends to flail around various interesting side-plots, revealing more about the world and the people in it, before the mystery actually catches up with her. I’d generally find this style very frustrating if the world and the side-plots weren’t so interesting – but seeing Anita explore the world and face off the vampires in various defiant fashion, ducking Edward, plotting against Valentine, wondering how to survive Nikolaos and trying her own little ham-handed investigations kept me interestedIn terms of world, I love love love this world. I love the diversity of vampire powers, the different shapeshifters, ghouls, different forms and types of magic – and the legal consequences and what that means for the wider world as well. I think this may be the first Urban Fantasy book I came across that blended the modern world and the supernatural world so well – without the supernatural world being a hidden shadowy thing behind the real world – but actually as a part of it, a part of modern society and always having been an open part of society.And even Anita has such a unique profession – Animator and it being a business, raising zombies in order to interview them and ask them questions – and how that can be used in other professions from the law to therapy and then the questions of ethics of using the dead in such ways.Read More