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Guilty Pleasures

Laurell K. Hamilton

Ace Fantasy /Penguin Putnam

US Mass Market Paperback

ISBN 0-441-30483-4

Publication Date: 10-15-1993

$5.99; 266 pages

Date Reviewed: 07-20-1999, 07-25-2002

Reviewed by Rick Kleffel © 1999 and 2002

Laurell K. Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures Originally

Yikes! Pass the crackers, please.

Laurell K. Hamilton Guilty Pleasures Makeover

Anita Blake gets a makeover!



Horror, Mystery


Some writers know they've got a series long before they start. That was evidently the case with Laurell K. Hamilton whose Anita Blake novels have just released their seventh installment. The aptly named 'Guilty Pleasures' is where it all starts. Hamilton is out to combine the cold-hearted female detective with the cold-hearted vampire killer. There's lots of cold and not surprisingly, lots of heart to her main character, whose sassy voice and dry sense of humor keep this standard vampires-loose-in-modern-society novel enough above your expectations to ensure that you'll finish it and look forward to the next.

Hamilton focuses on the details in the introduction to her vampire world, and doesn't well at all on the history. The reader is never clued in as to whether this is an alternate history or our world a couple years after some inciting event. Instead, we're given a fairly typical mystery -- who is killing the powerful master vampires of Saint Louis. What carries it off is Hamilton's narrative voice, which in this novel is rough on the details and exposition and plotting but smooth on delivery. Yes, she takes the obvious potshots at vampire fans, but they work for the most part.

The mystery itself requires no rocket science for the reader to solve, and little enough from the character. The pleasure it all in the getting there, and Blake's voice is just good enough to do the trick. This is not great literature, but it's certainly good enough to warrant interest in reading the rest of the series. You may have to hide it behind something serious, but if you're even thinking about reading books that look like this, then you're probably used to that workaround. 'Guilty Pleasures' uses an entertaining voice to live up to its title.

In the three years since I wrote the original review above, a lot has changed. Hamilton has graduated to nicely designed hardcovers, and they've jiggered the look of the paperbacks as well. The mass-market paperback originals are now available as first-edition hardcovers.