Cry Wolf

81xFwy1TTTL

Bibliographic Information

Audiobook $12.99
Paperback $6.00
Hardback $3.98
Kindle $2.99
Associated ISBNs 9780441016150
9780441018482 — Hardcover
9780425261323 — Hardcover
9781841497945 — Paperback
9781440630811

Readers Annotation

They may have mated, but there’s still trials ahead.

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 4P

Pretty well written with no glaring plot holes, though the feel can get wonky with all the different POVs.

It’s a paranormal romance! People love those!

Summary

Here we go!

Okay, so this book picks up immediately where the novella Alpha & Omega leaves off. Bran and Anna are going to Anna’s apartment to pack up her stuff to take to Oregon, and Charles is locked up with the Chicago pack’s doctor in a werewolf proof cell in the pack HQ. Anna and Bran are being escorted by some of Anna’s old pack. Anna’s apartment is sparsely furnish (what with her being poor and all). Anna and Bran manage to pack up like 2 meager boxes before they get a call to go to Charles because he’s being a surly injured werewolf.

Anna and Bran get over to Charles at Chicago pack HQ and Bran warns Anna that hurt!Charles in wolf form is pretty vicious. Anna goes in and Charles gets all defensive of her but is otherwise fine. Bran decides that they all need to fly home that night (to get to a funeral). Charles stays in wolf form the entire flight as Bran (literally) flies them home to Aspen Creek.

Bran, Anna and Charles go to Charles’ home. Anna feels like she doesn’t belong in such a nice place with Charles, and Charles senses her anxiety and changes back even though it will slow his healing. Anna freaks out a little and eventually they calm down and go to bed.

The funeral is awkward. The man was a werewolf gone wrong and Bran had had to kill him. The town was angry that Bran had killed him. So there were glances and a general mood of discontent as Bran and his family showed up. Sam, Charles’ brother, gives a soliloquy and the family does a song. Anna, sitting in the pew watching, gets confronted by Asil, a semi-mad werewolf sitting behind her. Charles gets defensive. Asil says Bran should have killed him when he asked him to.

Bran tells Sam to look at Charles’ wounds (from before) and discovers there was still some silver in there, which is why it was taking him so long to heal. Bran tells Charles there might be a thing that he will need Charles to look into when he’s better (and more settled with Anna).

That night Bran summons Charles because a ranger has been attacked by a were. The situation cannot be left alone while Charles heals. Bran tells him he needs to go investigate. Anna tells Charles she’s going with him. Charles tries to protest, but Bran says it might be good for them, and a good way to bond.

So they pack up all the winter gear and head up the mountain to find the lone wolf. They camp in the snow and eat a lot of food. They eventually get attacked by a large werewolf. Charles chases after the were. Anna meets Mary, a “ranger.” Then gets attacked by a were. Charles comes back and acts all lovey and backs up Anna’s story. Charles and Anna get caught up in a witches spell (the witch is Mary, formerly Mariposa). Anna manages to free them and Charles drives the witch away. 

They meet up with Walter in the woods that night when they try to stay warm despite losing all their gear. Walter instantly latches onto Anna, and Anna to him. Charles and Walter do their wolf thing to keep Anna warm that night.

Asil realizes that the witch up on the mountain is the witch that’s been stalking him nearly all his life. So he heads up the mountain to help Charles and Anna.

In the morning Walter takes Charles and Anna to the cabin he knows of that he used to stay in, figuring that was where the witch had holed up. Asil gets tricked into helping Mariposa (because her wolf guardian is his former mate’s soul, sort of). Charles sets the cabin on fire and the three start down the mountain. 

Bran realizes what’s going on and heads up to help Charles. He gets caught by the witch and cuts off his pack ties so that she can’t get to his pack through him. Charles, Anna and Walter find Asil’s car and head back up the mountain following his tracks.

Bran worries that if Mariposa tries to make him kill Charles that he’ll go beserker again (like he did when his evil mother tried to make him kill Sam once upon a time). Asil lures away his wife. Charles takes on the witch. Anna tries to help. Charles has to fight Bran. Walter takes a hit from the witch to save Anna, killing him. Anna kills the witch. She worries Bran has killed Charles, but he’s still alive. She’s able to use her omega abilities to calm Bran and Charles. Asil’s mate disappears. Everyone’s ok. And Bran buries Walter as part of the clan.

Everything basically works out.

Evaluation

So, like a lot of other people (apparently) I made the mistake of thinking this was the first book in the series. Technically it is, and we didn’t have too much figuring out what was going on, but really the first story in this series is a short story titled: Alpha and Omega.

This may be a controversial opinion, but I may like this series just a bit more than Mercy Thompson’s series. I think that mainly boils down to Charles. Charles is a badass (but a total puppy when it comes to Anna), but he’s also pretty quiet and can keep things close to the vest. I also love the aspect of Brother Wolf. Plus, Charles just has this way of just deadpan saying things…. I just really like Charles you guys.

Anna is sweet, if a little beaten up. Its clear she’s had a rough time of it (boy does her last 5 years or so suck). So naturally she’s pretty meek and her life feels a bit out of control. She did just meet Charles and their already mated. The poor girl is struggling to re-find herself. So, she’s sympathetic character. I think the way Patricia Briggs handles Anna’s past is pretty good. There are some moments where I found myself wondering how Anna isn’t worse off with all the past brutalizing and all, but it all seems to work out mostly.

I almost forgot our favorite Vietnam Vet Walter! And that would’ve been bad. Walter is the tragic hero we deserve. I don’t know what it is about Walter, the ‘Nam vet with serious PTSD, but we loved him (even though Vietnam Vet with PTSD is a huge cliche and we’d always sigh and say “‘Nam” every time). There’s something about Walter.

There’s Bran (Mr. Mysterious aka Charles’ dad aka leader of all the North American werewolves) and Asil (the half mad seer running pretty literally from his past). Plus all the side characters and the big bad witch.  All of whom had their own flavor and personality.

Setting= pretty darn good. Though really you only get a feel for Charles’ home and the side of the mountain.

Plot? Not bad. Semi-mystery, action-y, romance-y tale. I can’t say it was unbelievable (because paranormal romance), but it didn’t have super gaping plot holes (which is always nice). Didn’t super appreciate the random chapters in other characters heads always, but it was interesting to get their side of the story at times.

I liked it a lot, and we really enjoyed the narrator for the audiobook (even though he changes the way he voices people in the second book).

Genre

Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance

Readalikes

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Significance

… Half native american werewolf?

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

What do you think of the way the author handled Anna’s past?

What do you think about the way Bran runs his pack?

Discuss Charles and his abilities.

Author’s website

Patricia Briggs

Awards

Reviews

Amazon

Goodreads

Why I Chose It

Wanted a Paranormal Romance for a trip.

Other Information

 

Moon Called

moon called

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $16.73
Paperback $11.25
Hardback
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9780441013814
9780441019274 — Hardcover
9781597227520 — Paperback
9781101208434
9780356500584
9781841496832 — Paperback
9780786561438 — E-Book


Readers Annotation

She’s not a werewolf, but she has to deal with their problems.

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 4P

This is a pretty well written book with no major errors in continuity or character.

Its a paranormal romance-y deal. People love that genre.

Summary

Spoilers Ahead!

Mercy Thompson is a mechanic in the Tri-Cities. Her neighbor is Adam, the leader of the pack (aka Alpha). She used to work for a Gremlin, but now owns the shop herself. She’s currently working on Stephan’s (the vampire) van. A kid approaches her and asks her for a job. He’s clearly homeless and clearly a new werewolf, he also clearly doesn’t realize that Mercy is a shifter (she can turn into a coyote). The kid says his name is Mac, and Mercy tells him he can help out. She’s trying to win over his trust, so she doesn’t ask questions or offer him unwanted help. Her undercover cop friend Tony shows up to ask Mercy to help out a lady friend of his.

Mac is confronted by generic bad guys/weres. Mercy intervenes. She accidentally kills one of the weres. The bad guys leave. Mercy and Mac pull the body into the garage and she calls Adam. Adam sends a witch (with a super complicated Russian name) to clean up the mess. When the witch gets there she throws some shade at Mercy. Adam arrives pretty pissed (thinking Mercy’s killed one of his wolves) but his anger soon gets directed at the rogues in his territory. He agrees to take Mac in.

Mercy goes home to her trailer, and meets up with Adam’s daughter Jesse.

Some time later Mac’s body ends up on her doorstep. Mercy rushes over to Adam’s home and finds some dead wolves and Adam fighting another. Mercy shoots the invader. Adam is severely wounded. Mercy turns into a coyote to see if she can follow Jesse’s scent to Jesse, but its no use. Thinking the pack may be involved, Mercy bundles up Adam and Mac’s body in her van and heads up to Bran (the Marrok) in Montana to fix him.

Mercy once lived in the Marrok’s pack (but was never one of them). She tracks down Sam (a former love) and Charles. They set Adam up in a cell and help fix him. Sam snaps at Mercy. Mercy works out some of her issues with Bran and Sam. Sam is sent to go back with Mercy and deal with the problems with Adam’s pack (and sends Charles to Chicago to work out the other part of the story). Adam and Sam do some adorable squabbling over Mercy (who just is done with this shit).

Mercy takes Adam to Warren’s place (and accidentally kicks out his boyfriend, which stirs up that can of bees). Mercy leaves Adam and Sam there and goes to talk to Warren’s boyfriend Kyle (and tells him Warren’s a werewolf because Warren can’t tell him b/c RULES). Mercy comes back to Warren’s house to find him standing off with Sam. Adam breaks them up. Adam is going to stay at Warren’s for the time being.

Mercy gets a call from her Gremlin friend for a meeting with someone who knows about the other wolf pack (that had taken attacked Adam). They meet in a bar. Mercy then gets a call from Stephen about Sam. His nest doesn’t like having a new, unofficial wolf in their territory. So Mercy and Sam meet up with Stephen to travel to the nest (the Gremlin gives her a magicked knife).

At the nest, they meet a touched vampire. Then they meet with the mistress, who is entranced by Sam, who is entranced. She drinks from him. Mercy breaks it all up. They are escorted out. They learn that the vampires were paid handsomely to let the other pack into their territory. They get an address.

Mercy and Sam travel back to Warren’s place and finds the rest of Adam’s pack there. There’s a short standoff. The pack decides to check out the address. Mercy is left behind. The address is abandoned when Mercy gets there. Mercy gets confronted at her trailer by the other pack. They talk it out and agree to help her rescue Jesse (and Adam).

They sneak in to get to Jesse. There’s a fight. Mercy figures out that the witch’s witch son is involved and that she’s partially resistant to magic. They take out the witch and confront Jake about his grand plan.

Mercy hires Tony’s girl’s son, goes on a date with Adam and Sam is crashing with Mercy for a while.

Evaluation

Ok, so I actually started this after we listened to Cry Wolf (the first book in the spin-off series). So, we were curious about Sam and Mercy.

This is a fun little read (or listen). Mercy has a great voice and is a good heroine (not super badass but definitely not a damsel in distress). She’s a sarcastic mechanic who happens to have a lot of connections. Adam is a pretty good character too. He’s not like Mercy (he’s more strict and organized). Sam is… difficult. We get a lot of his past, but I don’t always understand him. We get a taste of Bran and Jesse and all of Mercy’s other supporting characters.

The Tri-cities are as described as a city can be, as well as Mercy’s trailer, Adam’s home and where Bran’s pack lives (the name escapes me). They’re not super detailed, but they don’t really need to be.

Look, its a fun little romp. Its an interesting world and an interesting character. There isn’t much steam but its got the beginnings of a great love triangle.

Genre

Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance

Readalikes

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Significance

Urban Fantasy with a lady mechanic lead.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

What do you think about this interpretation of werewolves/paranormal world?

What is your opinion of Mercy’s status in both packs?

Discussion on pack politics.

Author’s website

Patricia Briggs

Awards

none

Reviews

Amazon

Why I Chose It

Wanted to know the rest of the world from the other book in the spin-off series we listened to. Plus, ties to native culture! Yay diversity!

Other Information

I Am Not A Serial Killer

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $22.00
Paperback $12
Hardback $19.61
Kindle $8.51
Associated ISBNs 9780765322470
9780755348817
9780765327826 — Paperback
9780765362360 — Paperback
9781429934848

Rating (VOYA)

3Q, 3P

While I love this book, its a 3Q because its not the most well written book, and it may have some plotting issues.

3P because I may love it, but surprise Paranormal may throw people off and not everyone is all about the murder/sociopaths.

Readers Annotation

John’s not a serial killer, but someone in his town is.

Summary

John Wayne Cleaver lives in a small town with his mother. His father left some years ago and they rarely talk. His mother and aunt work in the mortuary below the house. His estranged sister is their secretary. John occasionally gets to help embalm the corpses.

SPOILERS BELOW! HIGHLIGHT TO READ!!

We start with a murder. Someone in the town has been slashed apart and its making headlines. It’s also gained John’s attention. John is obsessed with serial killers. He’s also a sociopath, but is quick to point out he’s not a serial killer. He writes his school papers on serial killers. He only has one friend, but John doesn’t really have friends (because he’s a sociopath) but there is one kid he hangs out with so it seems like he’s more normal. His “friend” is kind of a douchebag.

The murder gets John thinking. He goes to the place where the man was killed. He notices a pile of black goo. He heads home. He anxiously awaits the body’s inevitable arrival downstairs. His mother is unhappy that he wrote another paper on a serial killer.

John sees a therapist once a week. His therapist Dr Nesbit is the only person who can somewhat understand John and who he is.

A second murder occurs, much like the first one. John starts to think that there’s a serial killer. He starts putting the pieces together. He talks to his friend about the “whys” of the case until his friend gets weirded out. 

He and his mother have a big falling out, and John is banned from helping with the embalming. 

John goes to a dance at school with his friend. At the dance, he meets a girl and talks with her (and later realizes he likes he… sort of). They are interrupted by a bully. John calmly threatens to murder him, which scares him and the girl off.

John’s mother hears about the incident and John has to talk to Dr Nesbit about it. He reveals that he has a set of simple rules so that he can prevent himself from becoming a serial killer: not watching people, not talking to one person for long, and so forth. He developed these rules from studying serial killers, because while he really doesn’t understand people, he really doesn’t want to be a serial killer.

Near Christmas, John notices his neighbor (Mr. Crowley) picking up a suspicious drifter to go ice fishing. John trails them on his bike, thinking the old man is stupid for picking up a drifter who obviously is going to try to kill him. He watches from the trees, secretly berreating himself for only watching and not stopping what’s about to happen. However, it turns out the drifter is the victim. Mr. Crowley is a demon. His fingers turn to claws and he rips the drifter apart. He takes an organ from the drifter, pulls out the same organ from his own body and switches them. His former organ turns to black goo. Then he drags the body away to dispose of it.

John is beside himself. He knows no one will believe him, and he knows he’ll have to do something. He starts to monitor Crowley’s behavior and movements. He starts breaking his own rules, knowing he’ll need to in order to keep an eye on Crowley and eventually kill him.

One night Crowley goes out to “watch the game” but John knows there is no game on that night, which means that Crowley is going out hunting. He follows on his bike and Crowley seems to get more frantic trying to find a victim. He finds one in an alley. John calls the police and waits. Crowley kills the man and takes part of him. The police arrive and there is a showdown. The police are slaughtered. Crowley takes another piece to replace his own failing pieces from one of the policemen. 

John realizes that breaking his rules is helping him start to spiral out of control. He realizes he’s stalking the girl from the dance, and threatens his mother. Even Dr. Nesbit seems concerned with John’s behavior. John needs to come up with a plan.

John comes to the realization that Crowley is trying to wait as long as possible to replace his organs. So John devises a plan. He starts leaving Crowley notes that say something like “I know what you are/did.” Crowley starts to freak out. Crowley waits so long in fact, that the next time that he needs to replace something he can’t go to his normal hunting grounds and kills one of the people from the town, who happens to be John’s friend’s dad.

The town host a memorial. John doesn’t entirely understand the point and wants to go home. He also doesn’t understand why the people are only morning for two of the townspeople and not the rest of the people that the killer has killed. John realizes he doesn’t understand why Crowley is doing this.

He talks with Dr. Nesbit, and brings up a “hypothetical” situation to get his opinion. “Why would a demon stay if he had to kill to and clearly didn’t like killing?” Dr. Nesbit helps John realize that he doesn’t understand because the demon clearly loves his wife. 

When Crowley can no longer keep from feeding, John puts his plan into motion. He sneaks into Crowley’s house and sneaks up to his wife’s room. He grabs her camera and starts taking pictures, getting gradually closer to her. He then bashes her over the head. He can’t stop himself and keeps hitting her. He barely pulls himself away and calls Dr Nesbit. He tells Dr. Nesbit that he can’t stop. Dr. Nesbit talks John down and says he’s coming over to see him. John hangs up. He ties up Mrs. Crowley and keeps taking pictures. Then he starts sending them to Mr. Crowley. 

Crowley speeds home and John barely has time to escape out the back door. He needs to sneak around Crowley’s care to get safely home. He looks through the passenger side door and there is Dr Nesbit. The man had come out to go help John and had gotten killed for it. John drags the body out of the car after realizing Crowley hadn’t stolen any organs from it. He hides the body behind the garage. Crowley comes out of the house furious and starts hunting for John and Dr Nesbit’s body.

At this point in time, John’s mother wakes up and finds him gone. She starts freaking out. John sees that his mother is coming out of the house and so does Crowley. John makes a mad dash to get to her and the two of them race through the house towards the embalming room with Crowley hot on their tales.

They reach the embalming room and defeat Crowley.

Evaluation

I did not expect where this book was going. I honestly thought it was just about a sociopath trying not to kill people (sort of ala Dexter). There was more to it this book than that.

I loved John Wayne Cleaver. This little sociopath is amazing. Not only is he aware of his own tendencies, he is trying desperately to not become what he could be. He is such an aware teenager (which, now that I think about it is a bit of an oddity). The great thing about John is that he just doesn’t understand people’s emotional motivations (and duh, he’s a sociopath). Nearing the climax he wonders why the demon is staying in town, and it just never crosses his mind that its staying because it loves its wife. Oh John… he just needs someone to understand him.

Point being, the characters are great. Learning about the characters from John’s perspective really gives you a different sort of insight into them. John doesn’t necessarily understand people or their motivations, but we can see them through him. John’s mom is an interesting character who is trying so hard but just doesn’t get it. His “best friend” is kind of a douche. His aunt is almost sympathetic. Dr. Nesbit is the only one who really understands John, and it comes through in his point of view.

Clayton is a small town, and you can tell. Its not the most graphically depicted, but you can feel how small it is through the way John talks about it.

Plot-wise, this one took a turn on me (as previously stated). I can see where people looking for a Dexter sort of deal may not like the turn to the paranormal, but since I love paranormal I didn’t have a problem with the twist. However, despite the paranormal turn of events, I thought this was a great introspection on a sociopath’s life experience. Have I mentioned how much I like John?

Genre

Horror

Mystery

Paranormal

Readalikes

Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis

Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Significance

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

What did you think about the paranormal twist?

What did you think about the Wells’ portrayal of a sociopath?

What would you do if you knew you could potentially be a serial killer (psychopath)?

Author’s website

Dan Wells

Awards

Reviews

Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Why I Chose It

This book sounded like an interesting introspection into the mind of a sociopath.

Other Information

Falling Angel

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook
Paperback $13
Hardback $19.57
Kindle $6.15
Associated ISBNs 9780312957957
9781933618081 — Paperback
9781453271131 — Paperback
9781933618098 — Hardcover
9781842431542 — Paperback
9781453246702 — Paperback
9780446314329 — Paperback
9781453246580
9781453281703
9781480480742 — Hardcover

Rating (VOYA)

3Q, 3P

This book is pretty well written given the subject and era it was written in but its not perfect.

This won’t be jumping off the shelves. Its an older book, with a plot that won’t appeal to everyone and a subject that could hold it back.

Readers Annotation

Harry Angel is hired to find a man gone missing from a medical ward… 15 years ago.

Summary

Harry Angel is a P.I. in New York City. He has just been hired to find Johnny Favourite, a former big band singer and current coma patient, by Louis Cypher. Harry goes upstate to see if he can visit Johnny, but when he gets to the hospital they tell him that Johnny was transferred to a military hospital 15 years ago. Harry calls the VA hospital and they tell him that Johnny was never there.

(SPOILERS AHEAD, HIGHTLIGHT TEXT FOR FULL SUMMARY)

Harry breaks into Johnny’s doctor’s house and snoops around looking for clues. When the doctor gets home, Harry blackmails him with his morphine habit but the doctor won’t talk. Harry ties the doctor up to his bed and goes for a walk to give the doctor time to think about his information request. When he comes back he finds that the doctor has apparently committed suicide.

Harry returns to New York and gives an update to his client. He gets information from the newspaper about Johnny’s life before he disappeared. He finds out about Johnny’s ex-fiance and bandmates. He puts in calls to the bandmates and tracks one “Toots” Sweet to a club in Harlem and an M. Krusemark. He finds that M. Krusemark is the fiance’s (Margaret) sister and a fortune teller.

“Toots” Sweet and Harry talk about what Johnny was like back in the day (no friends, hanging out with mystical people, perhaps not a liker of black people). “Toots” tells Harry that Johnny had a black mamba (voodoo priestess) on the side and Harry ducks out to check out her place of business. Johnny’s woman is dead, but her daughter Epiphany now runs the store. She denies being involved in voodoo. Harry returns to the club and talks again with “Toots” until Harry touches on some things that “Toots” doesn’t want to talk about. “Toots” clams up and Harry decides to follow him home.

“Toots” doesn’t go straight home though, he stops in Central Park to participate in a voodoo ritual, led by Epiphany. After the ritual is completed “Toots” heads home. Harry follows him in and threatens him to get information and then heads home.

Harry returns to check in with “Toots” the next day, only to find him slaughtered on his bed with voodoo symbols written in his blood on the wall. Harry is harassed by the police, who think he’s murdered “Toots.” Harry tries to talk to Epiphany, but she isn’t in her store. He goes up to check out her apartment above the store. He hears her leaving and follows her straight to Margaret Krusemark. The women discuss Harry trying to find out about Johnny. They leave and head in separate directions. Harry follows Margaret.

Margaret goes to her father, the shipping tycoon. Harry poses as a window washer to and eavesdrops on their conversation. Margaret and her father talk about Harry and Johnny. After Margaret and her father leave, Harry comes in to the building, he finds an invitation for Mr Krusmark to attend a Black Mass (satanic mass) and leaves in a hurry. He has lunch and then decides to check in on Margaret.

Margaret has been murdered, her heart pulled from her chest and put on display. Harry tears a page from her calendar (which had his name on it), the astrology map she had made for him, and anything else he thinks will incriminate him and goes home.

Later Epiphany finds him. She’s afraid for her life. She tells him that Johnny Favourite was her father. Harry invites her to stay with him. They have a lot of (not explicit) sex. The next day the police come calling again. After they leave Harry and Epiphany go to a church where El Cifer (Louis Cypher in black face) is performing. When they return after a creepy fire-and-brimstone performance, they hole up in bed. The next day Harry tells Epiphany to stay home while he goes to see the Black Mass.

Harry takes cameras and his gun with him to the Mass, being held in the subway tunnels. The Mass includes creepy masks and cloaks, baby sacrifice, virgin defiling and an orgy. Harry takes pictures of it all, paying special attention to the tycoon Krusemark. After the ceremony, Harry confronts Krusemark for answers. Krusemark and his daughter had sprung Johnny and paid off the doctor at the clinic. Johnny had performed a ritual to fool the devil, with whom he had brokered a deal, into not collecting his due. He sacrificed a soldier and taken over his life. Krusemark and Harry get into a fight, and Krusemark gets electrocuted on the third rail.

Rattled by these relevations, Harry rushes back to Margaret’s apartment to find a vase that Krusemark had detailed in his story. He breaks open the vase to find Harry Angel’s dog tags. He knows who he is.

Louis Cypher aka Lucifer, talks to Johnny, telling him he can never escape and then leave. Harry/Johnny immediately thinks of Epiphany and runs home. The police are already there, Epiphany has been murdered and Johnny realizes he’ll never escape and will burn in hell.

Evaluation

I’m not sure I really enjoyed this book, which is sad to me. I literally may have fallen asleep at times, but I trucked through (b/c I was already halfway done and damnit I could finish this book, it wasn’t that long). I found it hard to avoid the spoilers (but did discover that it was turned into an awful looking ’80s movie) since this is an older book.

I really wanted to like this book. I just didn’t. I’m not sure if it was the pacing (slow), the characters (kind of boring), the plot (actually pretty inventive) or the fact that it was a Noir (never read one of those before).

Look… its got a really interesting plot with some really interesting ideas… but I just found it so boring (though those last 40 or so pages were pretty exciting). I don’t know.

New York was pretty vivid. Hjortsberg spent a lot of time laying out the details of New York (Ts, cabs, neighborhood, and so much more). New York was well drawn out, and so was the social climate of the book. Talk about dated language! But it was so fitting. It set the mood. It helped form the world. The world the book was set in was detailed.

However, the characters weren’t super compelling. I wasn’t particularly moved by Harry Angel, or his quest. Cipher became intriguing as the book went on (and as his identity was being revealed). Epiphany might have been the only compelling character, and even then she was thin but interesting. This book wasn’t big on character.

I don’t know, I was so disconnected and bored by a book that should have been exciting.

Genre

Mystery

Horror

Readalikes

Mr. Clarinet by Nick Stone

The Long Fall by Walter Mosley

Significance

A Noir style mystery with Voodoo elements and a horror twist.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Did you figure out who Louis Cypher really was?

What did you think about the ending?

Let’s talk about identity and how it ties in with the book.

Author’s website

William Hjortsberg

Awards

None

Reviews

Kirkus

Amazon

Why I Chose It

This book sounded like a great mix of Noir and Horror with some identity crisis thrown in.

Other Information

Guilty Pleasures

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $80.73
Paperback $11.02, $6.00
Hardback
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9780441304837
9780515134490 — Paperback
9780515136173 — Paperback
9780515144185 — Paperback
9780425187562 — Hardcover
9780425197547 — Paperback
9780785776185
9781596880078 — Hardcover
9780613582926
9781596880283 — Paperback
9781596880061 — Hardcover
9781101146385
9780755355297 — Paperback
9780786528967 — E-Book
9780755374816
9780785125792

Rating (VOYA)

3Q, 4P

The quality was alright. It wasn’t the best written, the characters weren’t the greatest, but it was sturdy and appealing.

Popularity wise, this was a big one from my Readers Advisory class, and it seems as though it must be popular (considering it spawned like, 27 sequels).

Readers Annotation

Someone’s killing vampires, and it isn’t Anita Blake.

Summary

Anita Blake is a necromancer (by any other name). She raises the dead for a living. Her friend is having a bachelorette party at a vampire strip club. But surprise! Its a set-up. The vampires have manipulated Anita into coming to the club to blackmail her into finding the killer targeting vampires. Her friend is now under the power of one of the vampires from the club. Jean Claude (the sexy, French vampire club owner) really wants to be able to mentally manipulate Anita. She reluctantly agrees to look into the killings (not that she has a choice).

A “friend,” a psychopathic former assassin, is looking for the vampire queen. He knows Anita knows something. Anita gets abducted by Jean Claude. She gets thrown into a basement filled with were-rats. She fights them to stay alive. The vamps pull her out eventually. Then she meets the vampire queen, a scary old little girl. She meets their personal necromancer and keeps them from killing him.

She investigates the murders with the help of her cop friend. The psychopath ends up helping. She’s running low on sleep. She figures out who the killer is, there’s a showdown. She confronts the vampire queen and there’s a showdown too.

Evaluation

Of course he’s a foreign vampire with a sexy accent. Of course he’s going to be the love interest. Of course she’s a “badass.” These are all things I found myself thinking at the start of this book. I listened to the audio, which was great. But really, its like all the modern vampire cliches were in this book just to begin. I honestly thought this would be just like One Foot in the Grave, but it wasn’t. In fact, there wasn’t any romance at all, just hints of what will surely come. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I found it refreshing. I mean, we all know she’s going to end up with Jean Claude eventually.

Really, I found the characters… lacking. The plot was interesting. I liked that there was a mystery for the characters to solve, and I think it had just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting, but once you looked past that there were some problems. I didn’t completely connect with Anita. She didn’t really seem to deserve her killer reputation (pun intended). She wasn’t entirely likable, even though I loved her sarcasm. Jean Claude was questionable, and really wasn’t developed so well. He came off less sexy, and more creepy, manipulative asshole.

I think the world that was built was interesting. I wonder about having all this supernatural stuff out in the open, but it seemed mostly believable. I thought the human/supernatural conflicts were relatively believable, if not a little muted given today’s world.

I don’t know, overall. I liked it while I was listening to it, but it wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever read. I’m really on the fence about it. I think I’ll try another one and see where it leaves me.

Genre

Urban Fantasy

Readalikes

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Significance

A sexy paranormal romance without the sexy romance.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Do you think Anita deserves the “Executioner” title and associated fear?

What do you think of the world Laurell K Hamilton has built?

What do you think about this interpretation of vampires?

Author’s website

Laurell K Hamilton

Awards

None

Reviews

Amazon

Why I Chose It

I chose this book because everyone in my Reader’s Advisory class had raved about this series, so I thought I’d try it out.

Other Information