I knew exactly what I wanted when I went in search of my last book to read. I wanted something dark and atmospheric, preferably with a paranormal or supernatural element, that would leave me breathless and swept off my feet. I’ve read a lot of good books this year but it has been months since I was absolutely devastated by a book. When I picked up Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood, it certainly seemed to meet the requirements with its gorgeous cover and a title that just rolls off the tongue.
Cas Lowood is a ghost hunter who inherited his skills from his late father. He kills the dead using his father’s athame, relieving the world of vengeful, restless, and violent ghosts. When Cas and his mother travel to Thunder Bay, Ontario, neither of them expect that this will be anything other than a normal assignment. But “Anna Dressed in Blood” is no normal ghost. She is more violent and furious than any ghost Cas has ever encountered and far more powerful than he could ever have imagined.
As Cas unravels the horrific story surrounding Anna’s death, he finds himself confronted with the circumstances surrounding another murder: that of his father. With the help of his mother, a powerful witch, and his friends Thomas and Carmel, Cas must complete his task and come to terms with his growing feelings for Anna.
Anna Dressed in Blood is absolutely terrifying in parts and has all the elements of a truly disturbing ghost story. There are scenes that are absolutely shocking and Kendare Blake certainly resisted the temptation to sugar-coat any part of this book. Her description of Anna is spectacular with the electrified, inky tendrils of her hair, her brute strength and her white dress dripping in blood.
The book is written in the first person from Cas’s point of view and it is easy to relate to this likeable, witty and intensely self-aware character. It is a long time since I have liked a protagonist this much.