Laurell K. Hamilton
Blood Noir (Anita Blake, Book 15)
Orbit (27th May 2008)
You can outline a story beforehand or write it by the seat of your pants. It’s clear the author wrote Blood Noir the latter way, and not just because I know the backstory. Like Micah, this was originally going to be a novella, until something more developed. And it shows. Not only that, but I would’ve really enjoyed this had it been a novella and not this.
Jason Schuyler has never got along with his father, who is now dying of cancer. But now he has to go home to Asheville and say goodbye. And he’s traumatised enough that he’s bringing Anita Blake with him.
The story gets a little Sweet Valley when it becomes evident that most of the town’s people look a lot like one another. (Visit the 1BRUCE1 LiveJournal community to learn that while Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are identical twins, they also look like their mother, their cousin, and the “evil twins” Margo and Nora. And Steven Wakefield keeps seeing females who look like his dead girlfriend Tricia Martin.) The eerie truth is that they all descend from resident man-whore Jebediah Summerland (who shares a surname with an axed TV series starring Lori Loughlin, Jesse McCartney and Ryan Kwanten – which pulled me out of the story to giggle every time the surname is mentioned). So there’s obviously been incest going on, though the I-word isn’t used.
The relationships between Jason, Anita, the Schuylers and the Summerlands’ various guards and spin doctors is really quite interesting – sometimes it’s understandable why the author is a bestseller. But as the plot with Marmee Noir unfolds, it becomes somewhat tedious when werewolf Ulfric Richard and his people show up.
Yet it brought up an intriguing situation when Anita learns that sex has consequences. But she only seems concerned with possible pregnancy, and doesn’t even think about sexually transmitted diseases. Are metaphysical creatures/people permanently clean? How did Anita get all those powers and the different animals to call? That all this wasn’t considered left me feeling somewhat stale.