Review: Haunted by Jeanne C. Stein

Posted September 14, 2012 by Gikany-Una in 3.5 stars, Rating B, Urban Fantasy Tags: , , ,

Author: Jeanne C. Stein 
Release Date: Aug. 28, 2012
Publisher: Ace
Anna Strong Chronicles #8
ISBN: #978-1937007768
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (289 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

About the book:

      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…

What G & U are talking about:

      Haunted is the eighth novel in the Anna Strong Chronicles and the second book in the series Gikany and Una have read.  We jumped in with Crossroads, the previous release in this series.  Starting the series with the previous novel was not a problem; however, in Haunted, not knowing the back-story does detract from the novel.  Overall Gikany and Una enjoyed this installment, but if we had started the series from the beginning, our emotional connections to the characters would have been more powerful and the novel would have had more depth for us.
      Anna is home again, trying to balance her two lives – a human bounty hunter and the vampire chosen.  However, nothing is ever simple.  Between some shocking news from two different close friends and from her family, the holidays are tough for Anna.  She finds herself at another crossroads in her life.  As the story takes its turns, she is able to figure out what she wants and what she needs.  Again, if Gikany and Una had been part of this series from the beginning, the gut wrenching moments and self-realizations in Haunted would have had a greater emotional impact on us.  As it was, it was fascinating and heartbreaking to watch Anna go through this maturation process.
      One aspect about Haunted is the conflict in Mexico – most notably the drug cartels and their influence.  The politics and posturing that take place are fascinating.  It is disheartening to see the ripples of evil that form because of the power of the cartels.  What the people who try to live under this overwhelming miasma of evil experience is horrifying and yet poignant.  The realization that one character made sums up much:

“… I do have family here,” she says slowly.  “Family that did not raise a hand to protect me when Ramon came for me.  No one held them at gunpoint or threatened them.  They must have known there were no jobs waiting for us.  Other girls have been taken.  None returned.  Yet they let me go.”  She stops abruptly, takes a breath.” “You and Anna and Max have done more for me in three days than they had done all the years of my life.  I would be proud to go with you.”

      It is almost too awful to contemplate – the crippling and paralyzing fear is tangible in this novel.  The resolution, although not a solution to the war, is a great victory in the battle.  It was a gripping page-turner.
      Although the more personal aspects of the novel were not as poignant or emotionally wrecking as they could have been to us, Haunted is a nail-biting read.  However, if you want to be more personally involved and have a better emotional connection to the resolutions that take place, please start the Anna Strong Chronicles from the beginning.  Otherwise, you could jump in on Crossroads.  Either way, Gikany and Una do look forward to reading what happens next to Anna.

Their Rating:

Liked it – recommend (B+)

Purchase Info:
Haunted (Book 8)

Reviews in the Series:
Crossroads (Book 7)

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