Early Review: Haunted by Jeanne C. Stein

, by Kt Clapsadl

Haunted by Jeanne C. Stein 
Anna Strong Chronicles #8

Anna Strong—kick-ass bounty hunter and vampire—has made some enemies in her time. But it’s not just her old foes she should be worried about…

Anna’s shape-shifting friend Culebra finally opens up to her about his life before he owned Beso de la Muerte, a bar catering to supernatural clientele. As if summoned by the conversation, Culebra’s past stumbles into his bar in the form of an old buddy cashing in a favor.

Soon Anna, Culebra and her ex, DEA agent Max, find themselves deep in Mexico, dealing with drug cartel infighting, old vendettas and missing girls. Mexico just may prove to be Anna’s best match yet…

Since Anna was unwillingly turned into a vampire, there are very few people who know her true nature. Her shape-shifter friend, Culebra is one one of the few trusted ones, so when his dark past is revealed, that shock hits her even harder. Yet when one of his past cohorts comes to call wanting to cash in a life debt Anna instantly steps up, along with Max, the DEA agent and her ex, to support Culebra on his quest. Traveling deep into Mexico, Anna could have never imagined the horrors she would experience, ones that spurn her vampiric need for justice to a righteous fury. Like they say about a woman scorned, adding a vampire to the mix, and her opponents don't stand a chance.

I was utterly shocked at learning Culebra's past misdeeds. Considering how open he is now to everyone in need, by running the bar and the safe house nature it supplies, I just cannot believe he was ever so terrible. Just like Anna, it blew the wind out of my sails a good bit. Of course that shock didn't last very long for either of us as Anna realized that Culebra may very well be in trouble from that dark past. I think it shows a true testament to their strength in their friendship that stubborn Anna was able to get over such a shocker to her morals so fast. It also shows her fierce loyalty to those she calls her own, and I feel that despite his lesser moral past, Culebra is more than worthy of her support now.

Anna's love life is an utter tangled mess in Haunted. She's currently dating a human who accepts all of her, and doesn't shy away from her nature. Even though she is fond of him and he does make her happy, part of her isn't satisfied. Then there is the brief return of Frey and his son, which opens up all sorts of questions for Anna. In fact it shows her the life that she wants, a real family, but thought she could never have since she was turned into a vampire. Speaking of that turning, Anna is also mixed up in a mission with Max, the human who dumped her after finding out her true nature. Despite his terrible demeanor towards him and his nonacceptance, She'll always has a soft spot for him and there is a wistfulness there as she wishes he had been able to understand. So, needless to say, when it came to love, Anna was rather confused in Haunted. I have to admit that I have my preferences out of who I would pick from the three men, and I'm so happy that it looks like by the end, Anna will be heading in that direction. (I was purposely vague on that last statement to keep from spoiling the ending.)

I have to admit that most of the time I don't read the acknowledgements in books, but skip right to the "good stuff." However, this time around I'm very glad that I didn't follow that normal pattern, as Jeanne talked about writing this story because of the real issues below our borders and she wanted to give some sort of resolution, even if it was only a fictitious one. I've just always enjoyed stories that employ a deeper story or connection to the writer, as the emotion always seems to come across all the more strongly for it. All in all, I really enjoyed this latest installment in the Anna Strong series. It really amazes me just how much all of the characters have grown over the series, and I know I will be terribly sad to say goodbye to them in the next installment as it will be the last. Fans of the series won't be disappointed in Haunted as it is an action packed ride featuring an issue that is near and dear to the author's heart, making for an incredible read.

(Received a copy from the publisher)



Other Reviews:

Previous Books:
  1. The Becoming
  2. Blood Drive
  3. The Watcher
  4. Legacy
  5. Retribution
  6. Chosen
  7. Crossroads

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