by Jeanne C. SteinPublished by: Ace, Audio by Audible Frontiers Publish Date: August 28, 2012 Narrated by: Dina Pearlman Series: Anna Strong Chronicles #8 Source: Audiobook from Audible My Rating Blurb from Goodreads:
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…
The Anna Strong Chronicles continue strong with Haunted, the newest release in the urban fantasy series. While most of the main characters make appearances in Haunted, the majority of the book is based around Anna, Max, and Culebra. When Culebra’s past catches up with him, Anna and Max determine to help their friend. Anna is shocked by Culebra’s past and struggles to come to terms with the truth as well as moving past the hurts between her and Max. While Anna is involved in deadly dealings in Mexico, she also contemplates her relationship with her human boyfriend and the possibility of another.
I love how much Anna has grown throughout this series. With each book, she thinks through her choices better and she has become much less self-destructive. She still has a tendency to rush to judgement, and her communication skills are sadly lacking, but overall she has shown amazing growth. When series continue for so many books, the characters have to develop and grow, or the series falls flat. I find that I enjoy the Anna Strong series more and more and I will be sad to see it end in another book or 2.
Haunted is filled with action. There are some calm, contented times in the beginning for Anna as she visits with her family and then with Frye and his son. These calm times do not last long, once Anna hears Culebra’s past, the pacing picks up and keeps up through the very end of the book. Culebra’s past has ties to the Mexican drug cartels, and the fall out that shows up in this book is gritty, harsh, and dangerous. Anna utilizes her inner vampire quite a bit, and Culebra is highly involved in the action too. Despite tension between them, Anna, Max, and Culebra work well together. Because of the close quarters and time together, Anna and Max are able to sort through some of their hurts and issues and get some closure.
I really liked Haunted, I think that it is an excellent installment in the series, but it is not the happiest by far. There is a lot of darkness and sadness to this book with the twisted cartel drug lords, betrayals, and deaths. Even the ending, while appropriate and fitting for the story, it was a tear-jerker for me. I was not quite prepared for the ending, it is a bittersweet conclusion. While I am very pleased with where the story is going, some of the threads and relationships end with sadness. However, when the heroine is a kick-butt, vigilante-esque vampire who attracts trouble, not every conclusion can be a happy one.
As I said, I am pleased with where the story is going and I am very excited to see what comes about in book 9. The series is drawing to a close that promises to be dramatic, thrilling, and even fulfilling. I have been a fan of this series from the beginning and I recommend it to readers who like urban fantasy and vampire reads.
*Note on the Audio version* Dina Pearlman is the narrator, and as always, she does a fantastic job. She has to use several different accents for various characters in this book, and she pulls it off. She conveys the tone of the setting and narrates the pacing well. If you enjoy listening to your books, the audio is very well done through this entire series.