Kiss The Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton has all of the elements expected in an Anita Blake Novel. It was really well balanced between cop scenarios and steamy lovemaking. I’m glad, because some of her previous books have been too lop-sided and has turned away some readers.
When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…
But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them…
Out of the two things that balance out her novels, both of them had flaws for me this time. I’m not sure if I’m finally recognizing it and I’m slowing coming out of the LKH hypnotized fog or if it was just super evident in this novel.
First, Anita is one kick ass Marshal. I love how badass she is and her efficiency and deadliness. I was initially drawn into the series from all of the police work and cases she worked on. Unfortunately, this book had too many soapbox moments. It seemed after every police moment Anita would step up onto her soapbox and preach about the brotherhood of policemen working together. It was a lot of “This is what we do,” “Standing side by side,” “Heading into the gunfire and screaming,” and “No one harms one of our own”. Normally, that’s fine; I get it, Marshal Pride and the unity of having each other’s back, but it was too much. Shut up already, we get it.
Also, I felt like the plot turned into a disappointment. In the beginning we hear about this new vampire clan that isn’t tied to a master and wants to live freely. They are killing people to fight for freedom, yet in the end it’s resolved in two pages. It seemed too easy. I was disappointed, usually the book ends with a bang; this one was more of a sizzle.
Another issue I had is a more personal one. I don’t know why it’s taken me until book gazillion (That is an exaggeration, this is Book 21) to have this problem but there are simply too many men in Anita’s life. I’m all for multiple male characters that add tension and excitement to the story, but come on! I’m having trouble believing not so much that the men would be okay sharing Anita but that Anita would be okay being with so many men. I understand LKH tries hard to differentiate each guy in bed as well as looks and personality, but it would be so much more interesting to read if one of the guys wasn’t the greatest in bed. The whole point in having multiple lovers is to add diversity in Anita’s sex life, but if all the sex is “great” and she orgasms a million times for each guy, how is that any different? I would love to see awkward, laugh out loud moments or angry fights in the middle of a session. Juggling that many men should be entertaining and exciting, but it’s becoming more like Anita racked with guilt she hasn’t slept with so and so today, and she does it only to appease the men. There isn’t any anticipation; the sex is expected. I’d love to see more build up, which means the sex needs to be toned down.
Alas, I still love Anita and Jean Claude, and Asher, and Nathaniel, and Micah…the list goes on and on. I was still enraptured in the story and enjoyed every juicy detail. Kiss the Dead is still very gory and badass, executioner Marshal Anita Blake comes out to play. There is a lot of love and lust between Anita and her men. I enjoyed the character building among her cop buddies and how the cops attitude towards her has evolved into respect. There is a bit of drama but it didn’t blow me out of the water. It was too neatly packaged for me. I understand Anita has issues juggling her men but it comes off as emotionally draining, in turn leaving the reader emotionally tired. I just expect nothing but the best from LKH and I’m left feeling confused and disappointed. I can’t see where this series is going to go next, but I’m a loyal fan of LKH so I’ll definitely be around to find out!