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The Way She Reads

My thoughts on everything I read; good, bad and indifferent.
Kiss the Dead (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #21) - Laurell K. Hamilton Book received from Book Geeks and would be rated 3.5 stars if I had that option.

Anita Blake is an equal-opportunity executioner. She kills every vampire, regardless of apparent age, race, sex or religious affiliations.
As a vampire hunter, necromancer and US Marshall Anita Blake is always on the trail of the dead, the un-dead, the not-quite-dead and the not-quite-human although most of those closest to her fall in exactly those categories.
Now that laws have been passed legislating how to deal with non-human criminals, it is no longer allowed to just shoot and kill any-thing/-body not human.
When a group of vampires abduct a fifteen year old girl though, determined to have her join their ranks, all bets are off and Anita and her police and Marshall colleagues pull out in force to rescue the girl before it is too late. Two dead police officers later the vampires have sealed their fate; they can all be executed without any need for an official warrant.
What surprises Anita though is that all the vampires in the group she encounters were recently turned and very ordinary. They look like teenagers, soccer mums and grandparents, unthreatening on the surface but lethal in practice. And all of them refuse to submit themselves to a vampire master.
Because Anita is connected to Jean-Claude, the Master vampire of St. Louis she is perceived as the ultimate enemy by these free-thinking vampires and with not all of them captured during the raid and their creator unknown, the danger is far from over after the last shot has been fired.

The above is really only half of the story. The first 150 or so pages of this book deal with Anita and her colleagues hunting, fighting and killing the rogue vampires. And then the story turns into something else completely. Suddenly it is a book about Anita and her relationships. It turns out that she has multiple partners, so many in fact that I decided to not try and keep count. And, over the course of the next 150 pages she has sexual relations with quite a few of these partners; relations which are described in quite some detail but didn’t quite work for me as erotica.
This is the 21st book in a series in which I’ve only read seven previous and much earlier titles. And, I have obviously missed a lot in the stories that were told in the books I didn’t read.
I have no idea how Anita ended up with, at the very least, 8 lovers, quite a few of whom she considers her partners and claims to be in love with. I imagine that Hamilton introduced the various characters in previous books and then couldn’t bear to get rid of them again, but I have to say that this many relationships and close body action was a bit too much for my liking.
In the last few chapters of the book the reader is suddenly back in the (non-sexual) action part of the story when somebody related to the rogue vampires gets a hold of a few of Anita’s partners and she has to use her special connection to her lovers to save them.

So, what to say about this book? It wasn’t a hard book to read. The writing is smooth and the story moves along at a steady pace.
On the other hand, the book as a whole didn’t really feel like one story. In fact, this could easily have been two separate books; one about the vampire hunting and another one about the various intimate relationships the main character has. If either part had been published as a stand-alone story you would not have missed the other part because they just didn’t feel that connected to each other.
I would say that this is a book that should probably be read by those who have read all the previous books in the series since there are a few characters mentioned in the book that have no part in the story but (probably) reflect back to earlier events. It is therefore quite possible, if not likely, that up-to-date fans of Laurell K. Hamilton get more out of this book then I did.