Sunday, June 17, 2007

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

Richard was an alpha werewolf. He was head of the local pack. It was his only serious flaw. We'd broken up after I'd seen him eat somebody. What I'd seen had sent me running to Jean-Claude's arms. I'd run from the werewolf to the vampire. Jean-Claude was Master of the city of Saint Louis. He was definitely not the more human of the two. I know there isn't a lot to choose from between a bloodsucker and a flesh-eater, but at least after Jean-Claude finished feeding, there weren't chunks between his fangs. A small distinction but a real one.

--Blue Moon, by Laurell K. Hamilton.

Crime fiction isn't an exclusive Boy's Club anymore. Sometimes the hard-boiled detective walking down those mean streets at night is wearing high heels. In a parallel universe where vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other creatures of the night co-exist in an uneasy truce, Anita Blake is a vampire hunter. Have Stake, Will Travel. It's a dangerous job, but she's good at it, and it pays the bills. Silver bullets ain't cheap.

Written by written by Laurell K. Hamilton (The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, The Lunatic Cafe, Burnt Offerings, Danse Macabre), the series cunningly uses the best elements of the crime and horror genres and dumps the worst. It's a happy marriage of Sue Grafton and Stephen King. The rules of Hamilton's fantasy world make sense, the quirky, well-defined characters have bite (sorry), the devious plots are as addicting as cocaine-laced junk food, and is thankfully absent of the pretentious goo that gummed up Anne Rice's later novels.

Marvel Comics is publishing a two-part series, Anita Blake-Vampire Hunter: The First Death #1, written by Hamilton and Jonathon Green with art by Wellinton Alves. A prequel of sorts to Guilty Pleasures, the comic examines the struggles of Anita's early days as a vampire hunter, trying to prove herself to a skeptical police force, and her hunt for a serial killer. Looks good.

Anita Blake is a superb and endlessly intriguing character, and I can't wait for the next book starring America's Favorite Vampire Hunter.