Book Review: Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

Posted January 23, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 10 Comments

Book Review: Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, Erotic Romance
Published by Berkley Sensation on October 11, 2016
Pages: 720
Format: eBook
Source: the library

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
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Also by this author: Lunatic Café, Bloody Bones, A Lick of Frost, Killing Dance, Dead Ice, Serpentine, "Wounded", Fantastic Hope, Cerulean Sins, Sucker Punch, Rafael

Twenty-fifth in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter erotic paranormal fantasy series and revolving around Anita and her harem based in St. Louis, Missouri. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books on my website.

I actually bumped this up to a “2” because some of the overall plotline does get some boosts.

My Take

Oh. My. God. Pick this one up ONLY if you want excellent examples of tell and info dumps. Crimson Death is LOADED, and I do mean loaded, with the info dumping. Over half the damned story is either info dump or the core cast whining on about their therapy issues. Huh. It only takes 29% of the book to finally get to Ireland and another 39% before we finally start some real action — that’s some 489 pages into this 720-page book. Quite tedious.

Part of that info-dumping is Anita being so incredibly stupid, ignorant, and deliberately obtuse. LOL, she keeps saying that the Irish vampires can’t hurt her because they’ll have the Irish police (who want to protect the vampires) backing them up. When, on God’s green earth, has having law enforcement behind you ever made subduing a vampire easy?? Anita and crew are NOT thinking ahead — it’s like they’ve got tunnel vision.

I’m wondering if Hamilton is channeling her own therapeutic issues and was in a rush to meet some deadline for this story? What adds to the annoyance is how they keep harping on the same issues.

There are way too many instances of nobody thinking in this story. Anita has had past experience with a triumvirate not working, so…? Nor is that the only CHUNK of stupidity on Anita’s part. After twenty-four books, you’d think she’d have figured out that she can’t ignore feeding the ardeur, that she needs to eat on a regular schedule, and she needs to know how her various powers work. One bit of progress is Anita’s therapy…although Hamilton rubs it in and keeps rubbing it in until you wanna smack someone.

“For the first time, I had the ability to feed on anger…” Huh?? I thought Anita had been feeding on anger since Blood Noir, 16??

We do learn some new things about the characters from one of Micah’s disabilities to some of Jean-Claude’s insecurities to Sin’s issues (and Anita’s about him) with lots of disrespect going on in this. There are also several major events that FINALLY happen in the story that are pivotal in moving the series plotline along, and yet I am grateful that I haven’t wasted any money on buying this installment.

Meanwhile, Anita continues to add to her reputation in yet another country as she manages to get that invite to Ireland. That was incredibly contrived and full of so many lost opportunities for Hamilton to create real tension. Of which there was so little in this story.

Interesting point about apocalypses from Kaazim while that premise about why the British referred to the Irish as animals is curious.

The attitude of the police, while sweet, was so idiotic, and they need to get out of their own way. Haven’t they seen any video of what vampires do?? And even this conflict doesn’t really get the attention that would have increased the drama. What’s with Pearson keeping Logan on the team?? All it was, was so incredibly annoying.

Okay, there’s a positive in that one of the main themes that I love in this series is the love and caring support, even if Hamilton does harp on and on about it:

“When people ask if love can last they always seem to mean romantic love, but there are all kinds of love, and they can all last.”

Of course, I love all the ass-kicking too, *grin*, especially when it’s the girl doing it, lol.

The Story

Anita has never seen Damian, her vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

And now, with Damian at his most vulnerable, Anita needs him the most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be losing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. And when Anita joins forces with her friend Edward to stop the carnage, Damian will be at their side, even if it means traveling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from…a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer.

The Characters

St. Louis, Missouri is…

…where Jean-Claude, the vampire king of America, is based. Anita Blake, a.k.a., the Executioner and War, is a U.S. Marshal, a necromancer, queen of the vampires, Nimir-Ra, and vampire hunter engaged to Jean-Claude. Well, that’s the official appearance, for Anita plans a polyamory marriage with assorted sweeties who include Micah Callahan, the Nimir-Rah of the local wereleopard pard (with a second animal shape, a black tiger thanks to Dev), and head of the Coalition. Sigmund is her favorite stuffed penguin.

Damian, a Viking vampire, and Nathaniel Graison, a bisexual leopard stripper and pain slut, are part of Anita’s triumvirate. Damian is the manager of Danse Macabre and is in a monogamous relationship with the increasingly jealous Cardinale, another vampire and a dancer at the club. Nicky Murdoch/Murdock is a sociopathic werelion, Rex of the lionshifters in St. Louis, Anita’s lover, and her Bride, metaphysically compelled to make Anita happy.

Richard Zeeman, Ulfric of the wolves, is part of Anita’s triumvirate with Jean-Claude. Asher had been Jean-Claude’s lover along with Juliana in Belle-Morte’s court centuries ago, but was cast out for his issues. The totally vanilla and manipulative Kane is the hyena shifter Asher thought was his be-all, end-all. Mostly because Asher, a sadistic dominant, can be such an idiot.

“Your first lover gets a piece of your heart until you have enough therapy to take it back.”

Mephistopheles “Devil or Dev” Devlin Devereux, is Anita’s golden tiger to call (with a new shape, that of a lion) and another of her lovers; he has some unanticipated powers. Pride Christensen and Envy are some of Dev’s cousins and golden tigers as well. Domino Santana and Crispin are tiger shifters from Las Vegas. Cynric, “Sin“, is the teenaged blue tiger who got a bump and whom Jean-Claude sees as a nephew; he’s getting a football scholarship for college. The Harlequin consider him a prince. Zeke, Gina, and baby Chance are part of the pard and live at Anita’s Jefferson County house.

Claudia, a wererat, is head of security which includes the extremely competent Bobby Lee; Ethan Flynn is a blend of tigers (white, gold, red, and blue) whom Anita rescued in Hit List, 20 (he’s dating Nilda, a werebear); Fredo; Lisandro; Pepita; Socrates (his wife is expecting a girl); Milligan and Custer, a.k.a., Pud, were part of a SEAL unit that was attacked; neither Barry nor Ricky are long for their jobs; Roger Parks; Harris; Emmanuel is an appreciative were-rat; and, Russell Jones.

The Harlequin are…
…shifters and vampire masters, assassins and the ultimate spies, whom the Mother of All Darkness controlled, using them to maintain a semblance of peace among vampires worldwide. Jacob “Uncle Jake” Pennyfeather is a wolf shifter and was one of those who hid the golden tigers from the Mother of All Darkness. Kaazim “Uncle Chaz” Fath is servant to Bilquees, a.k.a., Billie or Queenie; Magda Sanderson, a lionshifter and one of Anita’s lovers, is servant to Giacomo, a Mongol; Pierette is a leopardshifter who answers to Pierrot; Scaramouche is a wererat who wants to be Anita’s rat-to-call, even though he has no respect for her; and, Hortensio answers to Magnifico.

Echo is head of security at Danse Macabre and one of Anita’s female lovers, although she’s with Sofie “Fortune” Fortunada, a pure blue tiger, who is willing to have Nathaniel’s baby.

Angel, another gold tiger and Dev’s twin sister, is an assistant manager at Danse Macabre. Jason Schiller, a werewolf, is currently auditioning with J.J.’s dance troupe in New York. The love of Jason’s life, J.J. is bisexual and a ballet dancer. Rafael is the Rat King of America; he brought all the rat groups of America into one rodere. Narcissus heads up the local hyena shifters.

The Coalition for Better Understanding Between Human and Lycanthrope Communities is…
…a national organization bringing all shifters in under one umbrella and settling disputes between them.

Bartolome and Valentina were turned when they were still children. Belle-Morte is the vampire master who turned Jean-Claude and Asher, and she had to flee France when the vampire council fell.

Dublin (Black Pool), Ireland

Edward, a.k.a., the cowboyish U.S. Marshal Ted Forrester and Death, is an assassin who used to be part of a black ops group. He’s one of Anita’s best friends, in fact, she’s gonna be best man in his wedding to Donna. Peter will be Edward’s stepson and is working out some of his issues with Nathaniel.

The hopeful preternatural unit is…
…under Captain Brian Nolan, who is both military and Garda as well as an old frenemy of Edward’s. Seems he knew Bobby Lee back in the day. Some of his people are from a military background — the unprepared Brennan, Donahue “Donnie” who is quite welcoming, and the very fast Mort. Those from both military and Garda include Flannery who is a Fairy Doctor and Griffin. There’s also another Donahue. Van Cleef leads a group of covert operators who wants to get his hands on Anita; he trained Edward and Nolan.

The Gardai are…
…the police, the peacekeepers. Superintendent Pearson, Inspector Luke Logan is a first-class jerk, and Inspector Rachel Sheridan, who is taken with Ted, are on the team. Gerry is one of the paramedics.

The vampires
She-Who-Made-Me, a.k.a., M’Lady, Moroven, Namhain, and Wicked-Bitch-of-Ireland with her own soudre de sang, is the fear-drinking, day-walking night hag mara vampire queen of Ireland who made Damian 1,000 years ago. Keegan is her human servant. Perrin had been one of her day-walkers. Rodrigo, Rodina, and Ru, triplets, are her Harlequin; Hamish, Bachman is a beastly vampire, Barnabas, and Tommy are some of her guards. The Roane, a.k.a., Selkies, are her animal-to-call, and Moran, a.k.a., Roarke, is their king and Moroven’s moitié bête. Riley, a Roane, is desperate for help from the Coalition. Isabel is his mother.

The Fey, a.k.a.,…
…the gentle folk, wee folk, the kindly ones, little people, hidden folk, hate being called faeries. Ireland has the highest concentration of the Fey, and it has affected the land of Ireland. Auntie Nim is Flannery’s relative. Slane with his silky dog ears will be a go-between. Fairy Doctors are humans who gain magic through the Fey or are beloved by them. In the past, they helped cure people and livestock with magic.

The Irish human and vampire victims include…
Michael and Helena Brady along with their daughter, Katie, and the daughter’s best friend, Sinead Royce. Edna and Frankie Brady are Michael’s parents.

Moitié bêtes are beast halves who serve a vampire master. Why this term has suddenly appeared…I don’t know. Marianne is Anita’s magical mentor. Nicholas had been Nathaniel’s older brother who told him to run when their father was beating Nicholas to death. Bibiana, a white tiger, is married to Max, the vampire master of Las Vegas.

Seems security companies will hire shifters but they have to have been a shifter for a minimum of two years before they will take them on. Marshal Larry Kirkland, Denis-Luc St. John, and the now-retired Manny are some of the few psychics who can raise the dead. Sergeant Zebrowski is Anita’s partner on the St. Louis Regional Preternatural Investigation Team.

The Cover and Title

The cover is red, black, and white with a close-up of Anita in a brocade bustier, lying as though dead, a teardrop of blood at the point of the spear-topped fence post with its diamond-shaped Celtic knot enshadowed on her chest and neck. The author’s name is large and at the top in an embossed white and gray with the same style used in the title at the bottom of the cover. The series information is clustered on the left and atop the title.

IMO, the title refers to one of those pivotal moments with Domino and that Crimson Death that fulfills the prophecy.

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10 responses to “Book Review: Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

  1. I actually quit this series after the last book. I tried to listen to it on audio (my preferred method). I can’t remember how many hours I got in and they were still trying to decide who Anita was going to marry. I decided that I had had enough. I agree with you that Anita has been feed off anger for a while, though I don’t remember exactly which book. I’ve noticed lately that Hamilton’s continuity editing has been lacking. I really noticed it in the most recent Merry book. She used to be my favorite author, so I had listened to the series multiple times, so I know most of what’s going on and will notice if something isn’t correct. Hell, she called Vivian a completely different name throughout an entire book (like book 20 or something). Sorry for the rambling. Thank you for confirming that I was correct to walk away from this series. It was hard, because it was a favorite of mine. Great review.

  2. I’m a glutton for punishment. I must be. I keep hoping as I’ve enjoyed this series too. I don’t know if her editors have given up on her or if she’s gotten too big an ego and won’t hear it. That or she needs to get out of therapy. Hmmm, or get into it?!

  3. Sky

    Okay so I’m really confused. I’ve read and re-read this series over and over, having to relearn and catch up when a new book comes out so I’ll remember everything. LKH is one of my absolute favorite authors (until the last M Gentry book, and these last few Anita books) but something doesn’t add up. I’ve read every damn book in the past week up to crimson death and she’s just suddenly a wererat! How did that happen? Did I miss a book?? No one seems to be talking about it and I’m very confused. Especially since nothing serious happens in this series without a book about and no serious character trait/description can be mentioned without an over used copy and pasted info dump. I was reading and she’s just suddenly part rat?? No book (that I’ve found), no info dump on how it happened, nothing. Which also got me thinking about how Anita still has a form of Lycanthropy that the docotrs couldn’t identify. LKH brought it up twice in two separate books but since then it’s been a loose end that just never got tied up/revealed to us…. but I digress, but to the main point I guess, which is, Why The Hell, How The Hell, is Anita suddenly a WERERAT? *please note I have not finished crimson death yet but honestly I’m so done with the book at this point that spoilers don’t matter.

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