Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story…
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Judging this book by its cover (because I will freely admit I do that with regularity) and from the description both on Goodreads and from friends, I was really looking forward to this read. I had heard that it was scary and I expected it to be bloody. while I can’t say it really scared me (though I did get a little bit of the creeps a time or two), it was certainly bloody. In a good way. Are there things about this book I didn’t love? Sure. Were there things I didn’t fully understand and/or like? Absolutely. But by the end of the book, I was completely sold.
Blake writes this story from a male’s perspective, which for some reason really caught me off guard. I loved the voice of Cas, even if I can’t completely understand how he “fell in love” with Anna so quickly. That he called her “my Anna” began to get a little irritating. However, I think I can safely say those were my two only complaints about this book. The rest of the story is interesting, rich, and full of well-written characters who drive the plot forward at a pleasing pace.
A ghost with a terrible secret, a boy looking to avenge his father’s death all on his own, a would-be sidekick with a desperate need to protect his new friend, and a support system dedicated to ridding the world of harmful ghosts make for a compelling cast. Throw in a little (okay, a lot) of blood and gore, some suspense, a little mystery, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a story.