I've been an Anna Strong fan ever since I started reading these books earlier this year, so when Retribution, the fifth book in this series released, I dropped what I was reading to read it instead.
In Retribution, Anna Strong is still dealing with her two sided nature, her vampire and human sides and trying to accept her new life as a vampire, which I think she starting to come around to, evident in her new-found relationship with another vampire who is also a super hot underwear model, Lance. Warren Williams, San Diego's ex police chief and her ex-mentor now the leader of the local supernaturals, is pressing Anna to help find the person responsible for draining newly turned vampires of their blood. Anna is resistant at first because she still feels a boat load of resentment towards Williams for having a part in her family move to a winery in France, even though it's the safest place for them to be, away from the dangers surrounding Anna's supernatural world.
As a bounty hunter, Anna has to be cunning and part sleuth in finding criminals on the run. These skills as a bounty hunter come in handy while she tries to track down Belinda Burke, a very powerful black witch who has put a death spell on one of her close shape shifting friends, Culebra. Culebra owns Beso de la Muerte (Kiss of Death), a bar in the deserts of Mexico that caters to the supernatural and when he shows up at his own bar near death with Belinda Burke's name the last words he speaks, the clock starts ticking for Anna to find Belinda.
Anna has always been a cocky, hard-edged gal with a strong stubborn streak, who has always been quick to speak her mind and never takes any bull from anyone but she's always had a soft heart inside the tough exterior she shows world.
Anna speaking to a bail jumper:
"Save your breath, sweetie," I whisper in her ear. "The last glimpse I had of Hank, he was hopping in the back of a pickup. He's long gone."
I reach down and haul her to her feet. I use one hand as if she weighs twenty-five pounds instead of two-fifty. "Looks like it's just you and me."
Hilda is looking at me bleary-eyed with confusion and alcohol. "How did you —? What did you—? Where did you—?"
I pat her head and push her toward my own car. "Don't try to figure it out, Hilda. You'll hurt yourself."
I've enjoyed reading about the situations she always seems to get herself into but this time there was a spot in the story line that really bothered me and I didn't like Anna's reaction, which I can't say anything about without giving out spoilers. I felt her behavior wasn't inline with her character. It was the only low spot in the book for me.
I love the characteristics of the witches in this book and their ability to conjure magic with just a wave of a hand. The witches here can be very powerful beings and they have a whole world of possibilities and dimensions. One of the witches in Retribution has a short story in the anthology Many Bloody Returns, the story gives a insightful look into the world of witches that live in Anna's world. It's not necessary to read it before Retribution but it would give you a better understanding of the witches here and it's a good quick read.
I really enjoy Jeanne Stein's writing style, her words easily flow off the page bringing you into her world of paranormals. The paranormal world she has created around Anna Strong is unique one with many surprises, that has intrigued and entertained me throughout reading the Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles. Ms. Stein always adds an occurrence with an element of harsh realism in her books, they always leave me with deep thoughts on these matters. I like it when an author is not afraid to add an element that could shock and make me think long after I have finished reading a book.
Overall, I enjoyed the mystery and the fast pace set in Retribution. The main plot line gets tied up real nice with subtle hints into Anna's role in the supernatural world as the chosen, the one. I liked this book with the exception I noted and I'll be looking forward to the next book, which I hope will shed some light on Anna's role as the one. I think fans of the Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles will happy with this latest installment, aptly named Retribution. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes stories based in an urban, supernatural world with an air of mystery.Synopsis from book cover:
With her partner out of town, her family abroad, and her mentor estranged, newly-turned vampire Anna Strong is keeping a low profile.
But now young vampires are turning up dead, completely drained of their life force. And though Anna wants to say no when Williams, her former teacher and now leader of a supernatural enforcement squad, asks for her help, she can't. But soon, she'll wish she did.
- The Becoming
- Blood Drive
- The Watcher
- Many Bloody Returns Anthology - contains a story from the Anna Strong world.