Want to spend some time with a creepy scary ghost story? Then check out Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. It’s not the creepiest or the scariest but it’s another for the faint of heart either.
We are introduced to Cas while he is out one night killing a ghost. How does one kill something that is already dead? Well, he has an athame that was his father’s, before his father was killed, and Cas believes it is a special knife. He also believes that setting the ghosts free so they can not harm others is his calling. He is meant to do it. Because of this, he doesn’t stay in any one place long. His mother moves them where ever they need to be. And where they need to be is looking into the ghost story of Anna.
Anna is a ghost who was killed in 1958 and now like all the ghosts that Cas releases is killing. She kills and leaves no trace of her victims.
What ensues is Cas’ introduction into the social minefield known as high school. He sets out to find the queen bee because he knows that the popular kids will know all the ghost stories. And while he knows a little about Anna, he needs to know more including where he ghost is likely to be. And as expected, by identifying the queen bee, he pisses off the queen bee’s court which includes an ex-boyfriend jealous jock and his goon friends. Fast forward to them tricking Cas and taking him exactly where he wants to go – Anna’s house. But things go terribly wrong. And for Cas Ina. Creepy sort of way they go right because he meets Anna. And over time he finds that he wants to save her as much as destroy her. We get some quick glimpses into voodoo and other magics. We get introduced to and (thankfully) well acquainted with both the mystery and the answers to what happened to Cas’ father too.
This book had a great balance of creepiness, scariness, gore, evil, ghosts, good guys, magic and fear. It had just a hint of a teenage love story too. Normally I would say that I want to see more of the relationship develop. But here, since we are talking about a really bloody murdering ghost and teenage boy, it was ok to see only a little. And it was the perfect amount of the right stuff to see. The author made Anna scary angry and vulnerable and sympathetic at the same time. It was easy to route for an ending where she doesn’t end up the big bad evil. And it was easy to route for her and Cas even while knowing that they really couldn’t be together. It was also really nice to see the author not find some wacky convoluted was to resurrect Anna.
My biggest disappointment was actually when I realized that there will be a sequel based on Anna. I think that Cas and his ghost hunting abilities/story have potential. But bringing Anna back, when things were so nicely tied up, will likely be a little bit of a stretch. I hope I am wrong and the author has found a way to do the second installment without making the whole thing crazy, because I don’twant to see my opinion of Anna spoiled. But this means that I need to get on putting some pages together dedicated to this series…
This book is a great read for those who enjoy the creepy goose bump inducing story with just enough realizing in it to scare the daylights out of you!