Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood was refreshing for me. It’s not light and it doesn’t shy away from creeping you out a bit. It tackles the ghost story and urban legend tale from a different angle.
The wry wit of protagonist Cas prevades the novel, and even when he’s scared the snark level remains high. He knows he’s putting on a front of being calm, but his confidence keeps Anna from being scary and instead remains rooted in character development and progressing the mystery plot.
Cas is a ghost hunter. His dad was a ghost hunter. And the family tree continues on thusly. His mom is a witch and does her best to be supportive of Cas killing ghosts. She helps clean his athame — the same one his dad used — while generally coming off as a cool mom. Cas has come to Thunder Bay to kill Anna. The legend is huge, a young girl who dismembers those idiotic enough to come into her house. She’s always seen in a simple white dress dripping with blood. Only no one really knows her story. There are bits and pieces, but just who killed Anna and why remain elusive.
Anna has killed everyone who entered her home since her death, but she doesn’t kill Cas. She can’t explain it either. She’s more powerful than any ghost he’s met before, and she doesn’t want to kill. Their loneliness unites them and while both fear one another — the goals are on the table: killing one another is what’s supposed to happen — there’s a sense of security when near each other.
Anna Dressed in Blood is part ghost story with chill-inducing descriptions, two parts murder mystery (not just Anna’s) and a touch of romance. The wry tone will draw you in, you’ll stay for the clever Cas and the enigmatic Anna.
Sexual content: Kissing