Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
American release date: September 24, 2002
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/paranormal/drama/272 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Guilty Pleasures is a vampire strip club in The District—the vampiric area of St. Louis—located near the Riverfront. It isn’t animator Anita Blake’s intention to go there, but she finds herself coerced into being the designated drive for her friend Catherine’s bachelorette party and gives in during a weak moment, one exacerbated by lack of sleep. She has already turned down the opportunity to do a job for the local vampires as it is, and she has a feeling this night won’t end well.
Club owner and master vampire, Jean-Claude, is undeniably sexy, and Anita has to work hard to fight her attraction to him, which he doesn’t make easy. Called away from the club on police business, she returns to find things have gone horribly wrong and Catherine is in great danger. Anita finds herself in the uncomfortable position of either agreeing to help the vampires or risk her friend’s life.
Master vampire Nikolaos looks like a delicate young girl, but she’s anything but that. She wants to know who’s been killing vampires in St. Louis. Anita reluctantly takes the job. As if things aren’t bad enough, fellow exorcist, Edward, demands Anita tell him where Nikoloaos’ day-time resting place is. He gives her twenty-four hours to tell him, or else….
This is the first novel in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, written by fellow St. Louisan Laurell K. Hamilton. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleased with what I got. Anita Blake is a spunky character. The novel is told in her voice. She’s an animator by trade, which basically means she raises the dead, for a company called Animators, Inc. She also helps the police with investigations regarding the supernatural, when they need it. Anita is a tough woman, with a strong faith, and a lot of experience with things that go bump in the night. She’s also very resourceful and brave, although there are things she has sense enough to be afraid of.
Hamilton creates quite a detailed paranormal alternate universe set in St. Louis, and populates it with some very interesting people. Besides Edward, there is Anita’s friend and private detective, Ronnie, and vampire junkie Phillip, just to name a couple. I was particularly fascinated by Jean-Claude and hope to see much more of him in future volumes.
This is not a romance novel by any means, nor does it take a romantic view of vampires and the supernatural. There is a gritty realism here. People do get hurt, and blood gets spilled. Look for the scene with the freak party/swingers party—those are some of the creepiest people you’ll ever meet.
Great first novel. I look forward to reading more about Anita’s world and seeing what lies in store for her.