BLUF: Don’t read if you’re looking for a thriller. Do read if you’re looking for a new series to delve into. It's OK as a standalone, but best for those wanting a new series. (Although, I hear it gets pretty sexual later in the series..)
Brief Synopsis: Guilty Pleasures revolves around animator (raiser of the dead) Anita Blake. Anita does not deal with vampires. In fact, she has killed a couple in the past and, currently, would rather have nothing to do with them. Unfortunately for her, the vampires are looking to hire her to solve a crime the police aren’t interested in. (See, Vampires aren’t fully accepted at this time. Not quite second class citizens, but not first class citizens either.) While Anita refuses, the vampires counter with an offer she cannot resist. (Spoiler alert, part of that offer is “do or die”.) Anita is not the woman to half-ass her work assignments, but is this a crime she can solve?
I enjoyed this book, which is weird because, thinking back on the book, there wasn’t very much action in the book. I listened to the unabridged audio version and the speaker is, by far, the best audiobook speaker I have listened to. She changes the tone for each character and maintains a consistent tempo/volume. (She does tend to make all female parts sounds somewhat the same, with the exception of the main two or three females in the book. It didn’t bother me, but I feel compelled to be honest.)
The background takes about a third of the book to set. This is mostly unideal but, knowing that this is the start of a series, it’s to be expected. I didn’t pay much attention to how the characters were built, but felt they were given personalities and written consistently. I enjoyed the character interactions and adored the main character. She is the strong female character I look forward to having in the books I read. I may have connected a bit too much as she can be sarcastic and easily amused.
Two thirds of the way in this book, they kept bringing up new characters. My memory is not that great so I ended up Wikipedia-ing these characters to help remember who they are and why I should already know them. I should have known better, but I truly didn’t expect any of these characters to be the killer… I thought I might as well quit reading at that point – after all, I knew who the culprit was, what else was there to the book?
Here’s the truth. Knowing who committed these crimes does not take away the climax. The book isn’t truly about finding the killer, but as an introduction to the series. It took me until the end to realize this because I was so fixed on figuring out whodunit! This was genius on the author’s part. It keeps the reader thoroughly entertained while establishing the back stories to the series.