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Kiss the Dead (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 21) [Kindle Edition]

Laurell K. Hamilton
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (624 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…

But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them…


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A conversation with Charlaine Harris, best-selling author of Deadlocked, and Laurell K. Hamilton, best-selling author of Kiss the Dead

Question: Did you ever imagine that your series would run as long as it has?

Charlaine Harris: I was just glad to sell the first book. It took two years of my agent sending it out to get a bite. I never even dreamed that Sookie would be so popular, that I would find so much to say about her and her world.

Laurell K. Hamilton: No. I had over two hundred rejections for the first Anita Blake novel. They were the nicest rejections, with editors suggesting other publishing houses to send it to, but they, themselves, couldn't figure out how to market it. When I got that first three book contract, I remember thinking, "Well, at least I'll get to write three of them." I actually did think I had at least ten books in Anita and her world, but I don't think anyone can plan to write twenty-one novels in a series and still be excited about starting the twenty-second.

Did you ever dream paranormal would be this hot?

Charlaine Harris

LKH: I remember being told that mixed genre didn't sell, before the term paranormal became a genre. I was also told that no one wanted to read about vampires. More than one editor told me that particular monster was dead and gone. I thought there was life left in the old legends, but I never saw this level of popularity coming.

CH: Yes, even my agent didn't expect Dead Until Dark would be an easy sell, maybe especially since my books contained a lot of humor. Vampires were passé, and books that crossed genres (Except for yours: I think you had three or four books out when I wrote the first Sookie, and I was so glad to discover them!) were called "unshelvable.’ I could never have anticipated shelves and shelves of cross-genre books.

Does fan response play a part in your planning process?

CH: Not in the sense of changing plot direction in my novels. This is my story to tell, and I have to write it the way I see it. But every now and then when reader response to a character is unexpectedly enthusiastic--or the opposite--I'll take a second look at that character to see why he/she is coming across in a way I didn't expect or anticipate.

LKH: I don't change plot direction for fan reaction either. My story, my world, my books, my stuff, my way. The only people who can change the direction of my novels are my characters. It's their life, after all, so if they're really insistent on a different plot, then they win. I agree that reader response to a character can make me puzzle over them more, but it doesn't usually change how often the character is on stage, or how big their role is, because weirdly if the fans are interested, then I'm already intrigued. Best example is Edward who started out as this cold blooded assassin, almost a bad guy, and now he's one of Anita's best friends, and he's a U. S. Marshal. So, not what I had planned for him.

Have you ever had a character totally surprise you with their choices?

LKH: A lot of my characters have minds of their own. Edward went away on his own and got himself engaged to a woman with two children from her first marriage. Edward-- assassin, ex-military, current police officer, taking a six-year-old to ballet lessons with all the other moms both amuses and hurts my head. Anita's love life went into a completely different direction than I'd ever anticipated. I so didn't see Anita dating this many men, or being in love with more than one man, and having everyone she loved okay with that.

CH: I've discovered some surprising things about my characters as I wrote them. I know that their minds are really my mind, but sometimes it doesn't feel that way. It's like knowing a character has a secret (I'm thinking of Bill), and then suddenly realizing what that secret is. I was genuinely aghast. Sometimes my creative brain thinks a lot faster than my conscious brain. And it's certainly a lot more devious.

Laurell K. Hamilton

How do you keep a world with paranormal elements credible?

CH: I anchored my skewed world with real-life elements. Sookie has to pay her bills, she has to do her laundry, and she has family obligations. My vampires buy their clothes at the mall. My werewolf runs a surveying business. One of my fairies works in customer service at a department store. Readers seem to enjoy the fact that no matter what creature you may be, there's a process of surviving that has to be gone through; but there's all these other elements that make that process so different.

LKH: I make sure any real life facts are as real and well-researched as possible. Because I'm asking people to believe in vampires, wereanimals, and zombies, I need to make sure the guns, cars, and real crime are as realistic as possible. Once a reader catches me wrong in an area where they are expert they won't believe my monsters are real. But I have found if I'm right on the hard facts even experts will let me fudge, or take that next fantastic leap, because I've proven myself by laying the foundation of reality to make my leap into the unknown.

Do people ever expect you to be your characters?

LKH: If I had known people would get confused between fiction and fact I'd have made Anita look less like me, but it just never occurred to me that there would be a problem. I've had fans want to know what weapons I'm carrying. They assume all the men are based on real people, and they aren't. I don't actually base characters on real people. Since I can't lighten Anita's hair, I've lightened my own and I get less fan confusion. I've had fans ask for the phone numbers of the men and get angry when I tried to explain I couldn't give them the contact info for a fictional character.

CH: Ha! Well, I'm much older and rounder than Sookie, so I'm definitely no stand-in for Sookie. In fact, readers who have never met me before are usually astonished when they meet me; so were the actors on True Blood. Some of my readers who came to me after watching True Blood get the characters in the books sort of conflated with the actors who play them on television. In their minds, Alexander Skarsgard IS Eric, Stephen Moyer IS Bill. It can lead to some confusing questions when I'm at signings.

What scenes in your novels are the most fun for you to write? Action? Sex? Relationship drama?

CH: All of those are fun, depending on the outcome! But I have to say, I love to write a good fight scene. I find the "relationship" scenes a challenge. When people talk about their relationships, it's a messy conversation. People aren't too articulate about their innermost feelings. And such conversations don't proceed in a linear way, but jag back and forth as each speaker voices the issues that are most important to that person. So it's hard to make sound realistic, coherent, and yet condense such a conversation enough to make it tolerable.

LKH: It depends on my mood. Sometimes a good fight scene can be very therapeutic, and give a productive outlet for negative emotions. The more people involved in the action the more complex the fight choreography can become, and that can be a challenge, and slow down the emotional content for me. I enjoy doing sex scenes, but they are a different kind of challenge. On a day when I can get in the mood for the scene, they’re great, but on a day when real life interferes, it’s a bit like real sex. It’s hard to concentrate on it when you have too many interruptions from the non-sexy side of your life. I guess that’s true of all writing, though, too many interruptions disrupt the process in general. The biggest challenge for the sex scenes is that sex is a very personal and individual activity, so I have the same girl involved, but different men and I want each man’s style to be unique. Relationship drama? Yuck, can I just say, yuck again? This kind of drama isn’t fun in real life and the only thing that makes fictional relationship drama tolerable is that it’s fictional, and I’m not having to endure it in my real life, but other than that it sucks just as much. It also tends to complicate my life as a writer, because almost nothing screws up a story arc like relationship choices, though I have had action scenes go so differently from what I’d planned that an entire third of a book had to be thrown out. It was a better book for it, but still, near deadline that was hard.

What’s the hardest thing about writing such a long running series?

LKH: The beginning of the book is easy, because you always want that to be interesting and lure in both old and new readers. It’s the middle of the book that becomes more complicated. As a writer you always have to think that you may have brand new readers picking up your book, so you have to explain the characters, the world, everything, but you don’t want to over explain to the long time readers. The other problem with a series is that each book needs to stand alone as much as possible, but you also want character growth and world development from novel to novel, so again, it’s a balancing act. I make sure that each opening is different enough that you won’t be left wondering, did I read that already. It’s an issue I’ve had with other series that I read. It gets very challenging when you get in double digits to make everything fresh, but familiar. I’m lucky that I’m still discovering new things about Anita, Jean-Claude, Edward, Nathaniel, everyone, and the world continues to grow and surprise me. My fictional world is like the real one, I never know quite what’s coming next.

CH: The hardest thing is keeping track of previous developments and details. My memory just wasn't up to it, and I had to hire someone (the fabulous Victoria Koski). When you create a world, there are a thousand small things that make it credible, and it's easier than you'd think to forget whether someone is a werefox or a werelynx, or whether it's still daytime during the narrative or if you've passed into darkness. I think it's important to catch as many little errors as you can, so readers don't get yanked out of the world. I'm not the kind of reader who notices, but there are many readers who do.

Photo Laurell K. Hamilton © Stefan Hester

Photo Charlaine Harris © Sigrid Estrada

Review

'Hamilton remains one of the most inventive and exciting writers in the paranormal field' -- Charlaine Harris 'Anita Blake is one of the most fascinating fictional heroines since Scarlett O'Hara' -- Publishers Weekly 'What The Da Vinci Code did for the religious thriller, the Anita Blake series has done for the vampire novel' -- USA Today 'A hardcore guilty pleasure' -- The Times

Product Details

  • File Size: 521 KB
  • Print Length: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Jove (June 5, 2012)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0072O00VQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,165 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
371 of 391 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I keep reading Ms. Hamilton's Anita Blake novels and stories, and lately,I keep hoping she will get out of the corner she seems to have written herself into. The early Anita novels, the middle ones, the police procedural laden tales, the relationship conflicts and struggles to come to some workable compromises, all the wallowing around in the steamy underbelly of sexuality--I have been willing to follow the characters thru all of their adventures because they were interestingly drawn, and the universe Ms. Hamilton created had some interesting quirks. However, things have changed in the last couple of books. It seems Ms. Hamilton really has lost interest in the characters as there has been little advancement in the last two novels, at least little that wasn't just announced....great evil Mommy Dearest just gets swallowed. fine. she's gone. Jean-Claude will start a new council and make things better. Do we see that happen? no. we just get informed that he's in charge and it's done. No more great elaborate vampire political scenarios. In this book, we get just one old vampire,Benjamin, and his human servant who are allowing un-oathed vampires to be turned(which we've seen done with more panache previously). The issues with the guys Anita works with on the force are just swept away--Dolph gets counseling and is fine, and a gay guy gets introduced--but nothing happens with him. We don't see any action at the Animator's office at all this run. So, what's this novel accomplishing? well, Anita needs to accept one lover and ditch another because they keep giving her emotional fits that screw up the plots, such as they are. We get lots of SWAT teams charging around, lots of dead bodies, little angst over any of it- Why am I still reading this? Read more ›
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319 of 338 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 50/50 this time June 5, 2012
Format:Hardcover
I started reading these because my wife recommended the first 3.

Laurell K. Hamilton is still trying to find that balance for her readers. For the people who loved the earlier books and find the new ones too much fantasy Mary Sue and the readers who enjoy the erotic self-indulgence of her books. This time she apparently tried to balance by word count.

The first half of the book has a plot. It has moments of Anita Super S(four letter word, rhymes with nut) Mary Sue writing while Anita proves to anyone who hasn't been paying attention that she truly is one of the guys but short, curvy and dressed to impress, but the majority of it is actually story telling. Then almost exactly halfway through, we get the first "love" scene and it devolves from there. The plot in the second half is rushed between sex scenes, introspection and drama with the lovers. Parts are very repetitive, like a school assignment with padded words. The actual ending is rushed, as it has been in the last few books. Almost exactly the opposite of Hit List where the first half was the Mary Sue, and a rush in the last half for a story.

Recurrent themes:
Is Anita a monster?
Can she fight monsters when she loves them?
Can she love everyone she's with?
Will she ever discover that shoes don't have to have heels to look good?

Answered questions:
Yes, some men in her world realize she's just a tough or tougher than they are and she appreciates that very much.

It would have been two stars, but my wife yelled "Give a star for Sigmund being mentioned." That's what this series that started out so strongly has become. Something to laugh at, and to be happy because a stuffed penguin gets a sentence.

There are moments where you see touches of Ms. Hamilton's original flair and insight. A sentence here, a paragraph there. But this still reads like bad fan fiction.
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685 of 735 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kiss It Off June 5, 2012
Format:Hardcover
"When a fifteen year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it's up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she's faced with something she's never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people-- kids, grandparents, soccer moms-- all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there's one martyr, there will be more...

But even vampires have monsters that they're afraid of. And Anita is one of them..."

With the Mother of All Darkness gone, sucked down the drain like a swirly, Laurell Hamilton is now struggling to find a story arc for this series, something to pad out the pages of her fantasy life between the sexual olympics. Before anyone gets too excited about the outline, remember what series this is and who's writing it. And re-read that blurb; it takes just about that long to resolve this scenario- the first 7 out of the 50 chapters. And once it's done, you already know what comes next. This book can be broken down into three categories- Plot, Sex, Wangst. Believe it or not, Plot wins. A basic page count breakdown goes like this: Plot- 46%, (Actual) Sex- 13%, Wangst- 41%. But as the majority of the wangst relates to sex, you could well say that it makes for over half the book. Because of that the story can't help but crash and burn, but not exactly for the reasons you'd think, and it actually has a few redeeming features.

**Potential Spoiler Alerts**
The Good: It's Old Home Week as several long time friends finally make their return. Dolph, Zerbrowski, Larry Kirkland; yes, Virginia- RPIT's back! And there's actually flashes of a story and some interesting plotlines dropped in here like bread crumbs.
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More About the Author

Laurell K. Hamilton is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of two series that mix mystery, fantasy, magic, horror and romance. Her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novels from Berkley Books began with GUILTY PLEASURES (now a hugely successful graphic novel from Marvel - the first sexy paranormal comic ever!) and continues with the SKIN TRADE, number seventeen in the series, in which Anita's complex personal and professional relationships with a master vampire and an alpha werewolf continue to evolve. There are now more than 6 million copies of Anita in print worldwide, in 16 languages. Hamilton's Ballantine series features Fey princess and private investigator, Merry Gentry and there are now six novels exceeding one million copies in print. Divine Misdemeanors, the eighth in the series will debut Octobe 29, 2009. She lives in St. Louis County Missouri with her husband Jonathon Green, daughter, one pug dog and one boxer/pug dog.

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Anita Blake prequel
I believe LKH considers that she has done the origin story with her god awful comics. As to the early days of Jean Claude, it will never happen. LKH has repeatedly said that she can and will only write from the prespective of her main characters so Anita or Merry only. And as control freakish... Read More
Mar 18, 2012 by A. C. Trujillo |  See all 4 posts
silly pricing
Its too much money for an e-book. Its the same with JR Wards new book too. The publishers (the same for both books) clearly don't care about consumers, they just want to make more profit....well I won't pay that much....too bad the author's don't care about their readers....at this rate they'll... Read More
Mar 13, 2012 by Francesca Alvarez |  See all 18 posts
kindle pricing
You are so right.... I order kindle books for two main reasons. One, it's easier to handle the kindle device than carrying the books with you. But second and most important, since I live in Mexico, I'm saving (or was saving) a very expensive shipping fee..... sigh
Apr 4, 2012 by Mariana Flores Verduzco |  See all 4 posts
What is LKH doing to this series?!
Look up the hard cover forum for this book and pretty much all the newer books in the series and you'll find many people who only come here to mock her efforts these days. I think she may actually have to listen to people outside of her circle of yes people soon as her latest offering, the Merry... Read More
Aug 5, 2014 by theroyalbrat |  See all 2 posts
something that needs to happen...
That is hysterical!
Jul 15, 2014 by K. Fugate |  See all 2 posts
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