Book Review: Sucker Punch by Laurell K Hamilton

Posted November 9, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Sucker Punch by Laurell K Hamilton

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

Sucker Punch Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Berkley on August 4, 2020
Pages: 624
Format: eARC

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Twenty-seventh in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter paranormal fantasy series and revolving around a feisty female US Marshal and vampire “queen”. The setting is in Hanuman, Michigan. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books on my website.

This eARC was sent to me by NetGalley and Berkley Books for an honest review.

My Take

It’s a battle over that warrant of execution with the locals wanting Bobby dead NOW, and Anita and Newman having their doubts. I’ll tell ya, that Duke scares me. He really wants Bobby to be killed and is willing to pull a gun on Anita. Then again, there’s that little bit of compassion, as Duke knew Bobby before he was bitten.

This started as expected but quickly got me wondering, and I had a hard time continuing on, what with all the therapy-izing going on. I kept wanting some action! Then there was that detachment. It just didn’t feel like an Anita Blake. It didn’t help that most of the core characters didn’t show.

Poor baby. Anita has to text home on a regular basis when she’s on an out-of-town case. Only, she has a multitude of sweeties unlike the rest of us, lol. Yep, we know all about Anita’s problems, thought-wise and emotionally, as Hamilton uses first person protagonist point-of-view to go on and on.

The characters in Sucker Punch play their bit, but I see it as mostly action — passive with lots of talking and action with, well, action, especially since Hanuman has some trigger-happy cops, oh my. Nor do the locals know a lot about forensics, so I gotta wonder: Is this a frame-up or did he really murder his father? Hamilton’s story did have me veering from one to the other, as she makes her case.

Otto is a truly disgusting character who does add “color” to the mix; he’s also a lionshifter after a recent incident. He wants to date Anita, but his idea of dating is, um, not survivable. He is trying, though, and it’s creepily fascinating to “watch”. He really likes killing with Anita. Eeek. Anita’s trying to apply some control to him, and they have “pet” names for each other: Anita is “Irene Adler” and Otto is “Sherlock”…until it changes to “Moriarty”. Oh, ick, Otto is beginning to think he wants Anita more than once. That exchange Otto has with Nicky is rather fascinating as well — seems Nicky and Otto knew each other when Nicky had been with the criminal element, and Otto is shocked at the changes in Nicky.

Whoa, that Muriel. She’s something else. And I’m not too impressed with Deputy Rico’s intelligence. Where has that boy been? How did he ever become a cop?

More crack-ups included that little discussion Duke has with the Three Horsemen about whether they torture their prisoners…or not. Edward, Olaf’s, and Anita’s responses are so true.

Truer words were never spoken…sigh… It’s Anita’s therapy comment that “fixing your issues isn’t the same thing as getting rid of them”. No kidding! Ooh, more issues, lolol. That scene where Anita gets pissed at the “prejudiced” doctor cracked me up. Anita’s girl-on-girl dating issues also arise. It’s an interesting perspective to see how Anita now looks at the feminine sex.

Oh boy, that plot Anita’s backup have cooked up to bait Otto is rather scary. With some oddly scary outcomes, lol.

Those photos…and the wonderful things the staff said about Bobby. The way Ray and Joshie reacted to Bobby in his leopard form… They’d had such a wonderful life, and it makes me cry.

I did wonder how Anita was going to handle marrying three men. Seems she’s marrying Jean-Claude and Micah is marrying Nathaniel. Gotta give Jean-Claude credit. For a vampire, he’s amazingly easygoing.

Aw man, I get so irritated with Anita not remembering to feed the ardeur to ensure she doesn’t go off the wall. What is her problem??

Oh boy, oh boy. That ending…so sad and yet, later, so satisfying. Egads, I think I’m turning into a sociopath!!?

The Story

Marshal Winston Newman has his doubts about a possible murderer. Even though the law states they can kill him without a trial. Newman thinks he’s the wrong man and asks Anita Blake to help him find the real killer.

They want him guilty. Newman and Anita think he’s innocent.

The Characters

US Marshal Anita Blake is a necromancer, Queen of the Dawn, Mistress of Beasts, and a non-shifting shapeshifter(s), whose go-to emotion is always anger. Micah Callahan (leopard shifter) is one of her fiancés and the head of the Furry Coalition, an organization that helps survivors and their families cope. Nathaniel Graison (a leopard shifter) is a stripper and another fiancé. Damian is Anita’s vampire servant and part of her triumvirate with Nathaniel.

Jean-Claude (an over-600-year-old vampire) is the Master of the City of St Louis and defacto Master of the United States?? He’s Anita’s primary fiancé. Nicky Murdoch (lionshifter) is Anita’s Bride, a sociopath who “wants” to always make Anita happy. In this tale, Anita’s backup includes Ethan (a pleasant-seeming tiger shifter who’s now going out on jobs for the Furry Coalition); Angel (tigershifter and Devil’s twin sister with degrees in social work and psychology) is one of the best at helping shapeshifters keep their form; Pierette had been one of the Harlequin, a tigershifter, and her alter ego is Petra; and, Milligan “Millie” (wolf) and Custer “Custard” (hyena) are ex-SEALs. Richard Zeeman is the Ulfric of the local werewolf pack in St Louis. Nilda (an ancient werebear who needs therapy) is Ethan’s girlfriend.

Marshal Winston Newman is a fellow marshal in the preternatural division.

Edward is an assassin who likes hunting dangerous “game”. His alter ego, Ted Forrester, is a good ol’ boy and a US marshal who enjoys helping out Anita. Peter is his stepson who knows all about Edward. Donna is his unknowing wife. Olaf is a torture serial killer whose alter ego is US Marshal Otto Jeffries. Marshal Bernardo Spotted-Horse is part of the Four Horsemen (Ted (Death), Anita (War), and Otto (Plague)), but Hunger doesn’t appear in Sucker Punch.

Hanuman PD
Sheriff “Duke” Leduc is in charge with his deputies who include Frances “Frankie” Anthony who isn’t out. Yet. The not-too-bright Troy Wagner who likes to get rough, if he can get away with it. Rico Vargas is not Newman’s favorite. Kaitlin is a crime scene tech.

Leduc’s daughter, Lila, is dying of cancer. Judge Dill Metcalf doesn’t like rocking the boat. Jim is the pilot. Hayley had been one of the cheating Vargas’ ex- girlfriends but is now engaged to Newman. Patricia Brimley and Trish are nurses at the hospital. Dr Corbin Jameson jumps to conclusions.

The state cops
Captain Dave Livingston.

The Marchands are…
…something of a blended family. Bobby Marchand is an Ailuranthrope (cat-based lycanthropy, as a leopard). Ray Marchand is the only father Bobby remembers. Angela Warren had been Ray’s wife. Jocelyn “Joshie” Warren Marchand is Angela’s daughter. Joshie’s friends are Marcy Myers and Brianna Gibson who are both married with babies. Daryl is Brianna’s husband; their twin babies are Heidi and Clara.

The snooty Muriel (Ray’s little sister), a.k.a. “Murry”, and Todd Babington are greedy relatives. Oy, they are so blatant!

Mr (the gardener) and Mrs Chevet are domestic help. Hazel Grimes is the cook. Mike Carmichael is the live-in handyman. Hazel Phillips, a waitress (who lies a lot) at the Sugar Creek, is dating Carmichael. Mandy is another waitress there. Pamela is the manager. Livingstone is sweet on her.

Judith is Anita’s prejudiced stepmother. Andrea is Judith’s daughter from her first marriage. Josh is Anita’s half-brother. Bert Vaughn is the manager of Animated, Inc, a company of necromancers who staged a coup on Bert. The retired Manny Rodriguez had been Anita’s mentor. Amanda Brooks is a lawyer recommended by Micah. Haven had been a werelion who wanted too much. Moitiés bêtes translates as beast halves, animals-to-call, i.e., slaves to older vampires. Giselle is a stripper who headlines at a strip club in town. Barry is the nasty bartender. Phoenix is another stripper whose motives I am not getting.

The Cover and Title

The cover is the blue-black close-up of a quarter of a leopard’s gorgeous blue-green eye and ear. There’s a testimonial in red at the very top with the author’s name, in white, tangled in the cat’s hairs. The title is also in white below the cat’s eye, also entangled. The series information, in red, is below that with a testimonial in white below that. And let’s not forget the blood dripping from the author’s name…

I suspect the title refers more to the local sheriff’s department, for they get one heckuva Sucker Punch.

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