Bloody Bones (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter No.5) – Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley Books, 2005
Originally published in 1996
The undead are out of the crypt and it’s a brave new world of legal bureaucracy. When an old graveyard is uncovered during the excavation of a chunk of multi-million dollar real estate, bringing the true ownership of the property into question, Anita Blake is brought in to question the only people who can resolve the issue for sure: the dead themselves. Sorting one pile of mangled bones from another while not ripping into her belligerent client is enough of a challenge – and that’s before she learns there’s a sword-wielding supernatural killer at large in the woods.
I think of the Anita Blake books as urban fantasy, but they could just as easily be classified as horror. The plot twists delve into very dark territory, edged by gallows humour. Hamilton has constructed a fascinating reality, though, and I love her focus on the bureaucratic implications the undead bring with them. Anita remains fantastic as a protagonist, though I worry about her life choices, and I still want to punch Jean Claude in the face every time he shows up. The series continues with The Killing Dance.