Guilty Pleasures – Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter – by Laurell K. Hamilton

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 1)

Anita Blake is a narcissistic, stone cold, over confident leading character. I’m sorry but I don’t like her. She just isn’t very likeable. She has a friend who she wants to save which is honorable of her but she doesn’t act like she even likes her friend. I got no feel for the connection or the relationship between Anita and her friend. She is invited to go out for a impromptu bachelorette party but acts like she is too put out to spend time with her friend.

The book is written in first person and the first few chapters feel like one of those old black and white detective movies with the narrator who is a hard-hearted cynical detective who delivers clever one line quips. I don’t know if it is supposed to have that feeling but that is how it came off to me.

Thankfully, the book started getting better about 30% through the book and it lost some of the old Film Noir detective feel. I still didn’t like Anita Blake but I started liking the story and some of the other characters.

The book was probably written in the early 1990’s before cell phones and digital technology were popular. It brings back memories of pagers and telephone booths. It seems like so long ago.

The setting is in St. Louis, Missouri in the sweltering heat. Anita Blake is an animator, a person who brings the dead to life in the form of a zombie. It sounds creepy and gross and it is but supposedly there are a lot people willing to pay good money to speak to a zombie for various reasons. Humans know about Vampires but I was confused on if it was a recent development or if the world had always known about them. It seemed like a more recent development since it was mentioned that St. Louis had a large tourist industry because of the Vampire District. Anita Blake hates vampires and is known as the Executioner because she kills vampires as a side job. She only kills them if there is a warrant for their death so it is legal. She doesn’t go around killing indiscriminately.

Her friend Catherine is getting married soon so another friend of Catherine’s, Monica, calls Anita and asks her to go out with them for the bachelorette party. Monica takes them to Guilty Pleasures, a vampire strip club. Things get really weird at the club which is owned by Jean-Claude, a handsome and powerful vampire. A scarred up human stripper named Phillip goes up on stage and dances, then a vampire named Aubrey goes on stage and tries to mind control everyone and succeeds except for Anita who has a higher immunity to mind control than most humans. Phillip likes to be bitten which seems painful and leaves scars all over his body.

At one point, Anita gets called away to investigate a murder for the police. She leaves her two friends at the weirdass vampire club even though she thinks vampires are dangerous and then returns later. It turns out that Monica had purposely lured Anita to the club because the master vampire of the city wants Anita to find who is killing vampires in the city. Aubrey does something to Catherine that puts her under his control and he threatens to kill her unless Anita works for the master vampire who turns out to be a really creepy, one thousand year-old vampire who looks like a twelve or thirteen year-old girl. Jean-Claude, who seems to have some deep feelings for Anita, tries to help her out but the master vampire punishes him by putting him into a coffin with a silver cross on it so he cannot escape. He manages to give Anita some of his powers but by doing so, he has made her his human servant. He apologizes to her and tells her it is the only way he can help her. Anita is more pissed at him than grateful.

Anita ends up going to a freak-party with Phillip in order to find information about who might be killing vampires in the city. Phillip is your basic addict who uses his looks and charm to get what he wants. At the party, there is an over-weight woman who Anita describes as a beached whale along with all kinds of other unflattering descriptions. Anita is 105 pounds and somewhere around 5’3” tall. To me, that sounds anorexic but I guess the author thinks that is the perfect size. The description of the over-weight woman just made me like Anita even less. What a condescending bitch! Anita and Phillip develop and friendship. I get a deeper feel for the relationship between Anita and Phillip than her relationship with Anita and Catherine who she is supposed to be helping. It just feels like she is helping her out of duty more than friendship or love. The master vampire thinks Phillip and Anita are lovers and to hurt Anita she captures Phillip. Now, Anita has to save Phillip and her friend Catherine.

There is a lot of action in this book and the storyline or premise is pretty good. Even though I’m not too keen on Anita, I like the story enough to give the series a try. I’m going to read the next book in the series.

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