Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood

Paperback | July 3, 2012

byKendare Blake

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Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered 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. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, 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, now stained red and dripping with 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.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

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Anna Dressed in Blood

Paperback | July 3, 2012
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From the Publisher

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered 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. They follow legends and local lore,...

KENDARE BLAKE holds an MA in Creative Writing from Middlesex University in northern London. She lives and writes in Lynnwood, Washington.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.32 × 5.46 × 0.85 inPublished:July 3, 2012Publisher:Tom Doherty AssociatesLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0765328674

ISBN - 13:9780765328670


Rated 4 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review Number of pages: 316 Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1 Rating (out of five stars): 4.5 I’m heartbroken after finishing Anna Dressed in Blood. Reading this book took me on an emotional rollercoaster. I laughed, I cried, my heart pounded, and I just could not put it down. Anna Dressed in Blood is a horror book, so as a person who gets scared really easily, I was nervous to read it. Fortunately, I decided to give it a shot after having it on my wish list for 2 years. Anna Dressed in Blood didn’t really get scary until roughly 250 pages in, at which point I had to temporarily stop reading in order to not wake up 3 times in the middle of the night. Anna Dressed in Blood may not have been that scary, but it still made me sweat in anticipation for terrifying scenes. I loved Cas’ sense of humour. I think it was extremely helpful as it took the edge off of some situations that would have had my heart pounding out of my chest. I also liked how well done the characters were. They have flaws and you can easily love or hate them. Anna’s story also had me in tears, which is quite a feat. I live in Ontario (I’m not close to Thunder Bay though), but the story was so well done that I could suspend disbelief. I actually said “yeah, that could happen” after finishing the book. I like being able to suspend disbelief when reading, because it allows me to immerse myself in the world and just enjoy the book. My issues with Ana Dressed in Blood are mostly small things. For example, I am genuinely curious (because this doesn’t happen at my school); is it actually possible to have different lunch hours at your school? Also, Cas has hunted ghosts for years and knows that when his cat freaks out there is a ghost, yet when his cat freaks out he thinks nothing of it. Is that not strange? Overall, I loved Anna dressed in Blood, earning it 4.5 stars out of 5.
Date published: 2016-07-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but underwhelming I liked this book, but to be honest, I was a bit disappointed. I expected this to be creepier. Considering the amount of gore in this book, maybe that last statement makes me the creepy one. But maybe I prefer eerie hauntings to gore a la blockbuster hit. Anyway, here’s what I liked: 1) The characters. Cas is a no-nonsense and emotionally troubled boy (also emotionally distant). I’m surprised he’s still sane, considering his past. Like most cool, bad-boy characters, he has his smartass jerk moments, but he is a caring person overall. Especially when it comes to his mom, which is cute. His friend Thomas is a supernatural-obsessed dork, but he is a good sidekick, even if he is kind of blundering and temperamental. In my opinion, that makes him better, because most sidekicks are one-dimensional, blindly loyal, and perfect. I really like Carmel because she defies the popular girl stereotype, from being brave to hanging out with the weird ones. Anna is a mature and sweet girl, struggling with her abhorrent ghostly form. I wish we could have gotten to know her a bit better. 2) The ghost lore. This book was very dark in that aspect, filled with voodoo, black magic, and mythology, plus a scary-ass villain. What I didn’t like so much: Cas and Anna’s love story was too quick. I feel like they barely got to know each other before they fell in love. I want some slow-building romance here! Major loss of points for the book in this aspect. I ship Thomas and Carmel more than I ship Anna and Cas.
Date published: 2016-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from With a very distinct voice, Kendare is to be applauded for her storytelling skills making [Anna Dressed in Blood] a great read, especially during Halloween! - Nova @ Out of Time With a very distinct voice, Kendare is to be applauded for her storytelling skills making [Anna Dressed in Blood] a great read, especially during Halloween! - Nova @ Out of Time I read this for the spirit of Halloween, but I really enjoyed it and I'm pretty sure I'd like it no matter what time! The first chapter started off with a bang, that drew me in very quickly. I realize how much I love Blake's descriptive skills. I felt like I was part of this story. Because it's got so much to do with supernatural, descriptive writing is a must. How are readers supposed to know what the ghosts look like? And Blake nailed it! That was great! I also really enjoyed Cas' voice. It's narrated by him. To be completely honest, I don't read many books from a male perspective. It's not because I deliberately seek out reads that are female POVs, it's just how things go when I get review copies or when I buy. So, this was definitely pretty refreshing. Also, this one line, Cas goes: "You f___- you ate my cat!" and I was laughing for like five minutes because it's totally something I would say. My God. Her comes the bad news. What's above pretty much sums up all the good about this book. The sad part was that I was really split halfway with this book. Because while Cas was so dynic, everyone else seemed quite static. I didn't really like the other characters because as Cas said, after he was done with his job, he'd be moving on, leaving no space for development in the other characters. This leads me into the instalove. Anna and Cas are a couple? What? I read the first bit during the conclusion and I didn't get it at all. It seemed so random. Like the two haven't even been on a date or anything! Like what? He literally declared his love to her and she's like "okay." This was one of the things that were rushed. Heck, the entire ending seemed so rushed. So much of the book was focused on Anna, and that was fine, but then there was a shift in the plot. Suddenly it became about something that I can't even remember because it was that random. All I know is that I heavily disliked the ending. It didn't feel well thought out at all. Because I'm split down the middle, you can predict the rating.
Date published: 2015-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love!! Cas is not your average teenage boy. He doesn?t spend his free time playing sports, or chasing after girls. Nope, he?s a ghost killer. Ever since his dad got murdered by a ghost, he sniffs out leads from his contact named Daisy who tells him where the dead are not living peacefully. He gets one important call about Anna Korlav who haunts her house and kills anyone who steps in. Now I?m a person that believes in the afterlife, and to be reading a book about one of my fears was a little scary I have to admit. I enjoyed it quite a bit though. Kendare Blare writes as honestly as any author and her descriptive and gory scenes made my hair rise and put goosebumps on my arms. I also like how it?s set in Thunder Bay, Ontario. There aren?t many novels set in Canada and reading a book that is made me feel very proud! I like Cas. He?s honest, and warm hearted and he wants to do the right thing. I also liked Carmel. She?s not your typical Queen Bee which is quite refreshing.
Date published: 2014-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just about perfect! 4.5/5 I never expected for this one to be that good. 'Anna Dressed in Blood' was bloody good. I need more, as soon as possible. It was so exotic and eerie. I normally don't enjoy ghost stories, but this one took place in a unpopular setting- Canada, and the whole story behind Anna was magnificent. The author did a great job creeping between the lines and captivating the readers. I was definitely surprised, but in a good way. Cas was a strong character, I normally don't read books coming from a male's perspective because there aren't many out there, and my wish got granted. I was hooked in from beginning to end and still need more.
Date published: 2014-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spooky with plenty of dark humour The Good Stuff Hooked me in from the first paragraph and it never let me go Dark, macabre, spooky, eerie - yeah I know repetitive - but its been a while since I read what used to be my favorite type of book Brilliant use of humour - the dark and twisted kind Set in Thunder Bay (if you have ever been there, you know its a fab setting for a ghost story) Gideon reminds me a little of Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Intriguing and unique story idea Nothing stereotypical (You will get what I mean when you read) Adults are not douche bags - in other words this will appeal to teens and adults Intriguing and well developed realistic secondary characters New favorite - could not wait to get to work to tell staff and customers all about it (yup now has the JR staff pick sticker) FYI - Ms Blake - may fangirl you at BEA The Not So Good Stuff I was supposed to be cleaning my house damn you dark creepy book Have a hard time dealing with romantic attachments between ghosts and the living (Hey I am a practical girl) but story is written so well I almost let go of this The cat - you know what I mean Kendare - made me feckin cry (Sorry spoiler alert - too late) Favorite Quotes/Passages `My mom is there, chopping herbs for what may be dinner or might be one of her wide variety of magic spells`` ``I keep thinking of of nomadic native tribes, and how they could pack up an entire civilization in an hour to follow some buffalo. When did human beings start acquiring so much crap?`` `Walmart is a convenient place for the breathing, but I have never seen a ghost comparing prices on motor oil or trying to jimmy his way into the Xbox 360 game case.` 5 Dewey`s I picked this up a long time ago and am finally getting to reading it - damn another one that I could have been telling my customers about long ago (yup and picked up the sequel tonight)
Date published: 2013-05-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from did not meet my expectations.... from all the hype from other reviewers. the only time i was scared was in the beginning the book. the rest reminded me of an episode of buffy (which blake makes reference to in the book) or some other supernatural thriller show. the love story was the weakest link. i enjoyed how cas and his new friend came together to discover the solution to a homicidal ghost. i kinda of guessed who anna's killer was and was some what right. not as scary as i thought it would be. i was hoping for a freak my ass out and i cannot go to bed without thinking of this book. i do agree with other reviewers there are some plot twists. hmm where is blake taking us, but is a little cliche for my likiing the colour of the print is cool- red....anna dress in bloooood. don't think ill be moving to the second least right away.
Date published: 2013-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING I LOVED IT. enough said.
Date published: 2013-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Goosebumps inducing joyride! Cas Lowood has inherited the family business when his father suddenly passed away. Some may think it’s a weird profession but to Cas killing the dead comes naturally. With his father’s athame, a deadly knife, he does a good job of slaying angry ghosts. Cas gets a tip which asks him to go to Thunderbay Ontario to take on a new case, so with his mom and their cat in tow they make the move to Canada. The ghost in this town is known as Anna Dressed in Blood. Local lore tells that she wears the white dress she was murdered in which has become stained red from her dripping blood. She haunts a local house and has been known to kill anyone who enters her dwelling. Cas expects that this will be a quick case: research, track, hunt then kill her. But when Cas befriends some of the local teenagers and finds himself on the doorstep of Anna’s house all he can do is stand by watching as Anna tears apart one of the teenage boys who pushed him into the house. Anna has a rage like Cas has never seen, but for some reason she doesn’t hurt Cas. He soon realizes that this is not an ordinary ghost like he has dealt with before. So begins the hunt to rid the world of one more angry ghost. I read this book in October because it was very fitting to our Halloween theme, and I’m definitely enjoying the trend of horror books in YA right now. I don’t think this was one of the scariest books that I’ve ever read, but there were definitely times when I was holding my breath and wondering what was going to happen next. I guess that’s a good thing because I don’t want to be too scared so this was just the right amount of scary to borrow a term from Goldilocks. I really liked the story because it was like nothing else that I’ve read, and I found myself eager for the ending to find out what was going to happen. I found that the story was so well written that I was never bored and never wanted to put the book down. I also really grew fond of the characters: It’s crazy that you can really become attached to this ghost who kills everyone that comes into the house where she lives. That’s when I know that an author has done a good job when I care for someone who I should be afraid of and/or hate. Her back story was heartbreaking and it made me want her to succeed even more. I also like reading from a guys point of view and I think Kendare Blake did an amazing job writing for Cas. I found myself liking him and cheering him on. I loved his personality and the fact that he was just so confident and cool. A lot of people are complaining about the “love” in the book because they felt it came out of nowhere and that it was insta-love. I don’t necessarily agree with this, but I didn’t really understand that part of the story at the same time. There is another book in the series called “Girl of Nightmares” Which I definitely want to read. I don’t know where the book is going to go in the future so I will be reading that soon. I think this story will appeal to lots of different people so if you want a little bit of goose bumps one night then pick this story up for some fun. Check out my blog for more reviews
Date published: 2012-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great story, sub par audio What's better for Halloween than a good old fashioned ghost story? Because that's what we have on our hands with Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood. It's a creepy and suspenseful read, that draws you in and keeps you guessing. The story centres around Cass Lowood (not Anna as the title might suggest). He's not your average teenage boy - he's a ghost hunter. A career he inherited from his father. I loved the way Kendare wrote Cass. He voice was the perfect mixture of teenage boy and someone who is wise beyond their years. He's intelligent, but also sassy and brave, making him an incredibly interesting character to read about. At the beginning of the novel, Cass is heading out on his next assignment. One that will take him all the way to Thunder Bay, Ontario. As a lifetime resident of Eastern Ontario (no where near Thunder Bay) I can count on one hand the number of people I know who have ventured all the way up to Thunder Bay. So needless to say the unusual setting immediately caught my attention. Though it didn't end up being that different from other settings, it was just remote enough to add an extra creepiness factor. Speaking of the creepiness factor - Anna Dressed in Blood was a lot more intense and a lot more gory than I had expected. In my experience with YA supernatural the violence is often understated or done "off screen" but Kendare Blake doesn't shy away from the more difficult scenes. Her writing is very detailed and you can really picture the horrific events as they were unfolding. The one thing that didn't sit quite right with me was the romance. It just felt really off and I had a hard time buying that it was actually happening. I think if you removed the romance the story still stands on it's own and depending on my mood, I may even say that it would be better without it. But I guess if I can accept Bram and Nora (a human-zombie couple from Dearly Departed) than I can accept Cass and Anna (a human-ghost couple). But I still think it's strange and a little creepy. Notes of the Audio Anna Dressed in Blood is told completely from Cass's perspective. Which means for the most part August Ross is reading as though he was Cass, and for that he does a fine job. He captures the attitude and intelligent nature perfectly and I was able to feel like I was really getting to know Cass. However, August Ross' female voices were cartoonish and kept pulling me right out of the story. They didn't feel realistic and they were completely over the top. Because of that I would recommend this book in print over audio. Recommendation: An excellent ghost story with a fabulous set of characters. Perfect to curl up with on a windy autumn evening. This and other reviews at Hooked on Books (
Date published: 2012-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A good ol' fashioned ghost story! Cas Lowood is a ghost hunter. Ever since his father died on the job, he has taken on the role of “killing” ghosts that won’t, or can’t, move on. After getting rid of a ghostly hitchhiker, Cas and his mother pack up and move to Thunder Bay, a city in northern Ontario, to chase a lead that Cas received. The lead was to hunt down Anna Korlov, a young girl who was killed on her way to a dance and now spends her afterlife decimating, without a trace, anyone who steps into her former home. The whole time leading up to reading Anna Dressed in Blood I had thought the main character was a female. I’m not even exactly sure why I had that impression, but I was definitely surprised that “Cas” is a guy. The dynamic that Blake has established between Cas and his witchy mother is great. The narrative shows their unconventional lifestyle in a unique way and I loved that. It’s not often that there are many YA books that have a mother/son dynamic as loving and understanding as this. I suppose with the manner that Cas’ father had died, they would have to have an open mind about this sort of paranormal thing. Foregoing the familial factor, I also enjoyed that the main character was a male, written by a female. Of the YA books that I've read, it was often starring female leads and many male characters were written by male authors. Blake is also exceptional at painting a fantastically horrific picture of what is going on. It’s easy to fall into clichés with ghost stories and her imaginative descriptions are not only frightening but, at times, absolutely grotesque. While some characters definitely have the potential to be further developed, the ones she did explore are quite well established. As the reader, you get a sense of who Cas is and what his motivations are. While there is a touch of romance, it’s not necessarily the main focus of the book. It is the ghost stories that drive this tale, and Anna Dressed in Blood is a good ol' fashioned scary story - and I absolutely love that. This, and other reviews can be found on my blog
Date published: 2012-09-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not As Good As I hoped. Anna Dressed in Blood was amazing but It wasn't as good as I hoped. The plot and characters were amazing. Like I loved the plot and I loved how it was creppy and thrilling and also a litttle romantic. But I was hoping that there would be some more romance in it. The characters were well discribed and just wow. I loved the settings too. They perfectly fit into the story. Overall it was really good but if it would have had a little more romance, then it would have totally won me over. :)
Date published: 2012-09-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great ghost story! This book has everything you want in the paranormal genre. This book was slightly different as it has a male protagonist instead of a female one (that makes up the majority of YA paranormal books) so that was a nice change. Plus, Cas is everything you want in a protagonist. He’s got the personality, he’s got the wit and the humor. He’s like the high school version of the Winchester brothers from Supernatural (except there’s only one of him, and two sidekicks). The plot of this book is quite dark and has its moments of creepiness but it lightens up whenever Cas puts in a thought or two (his humor really is quite good). The description of Anna’s house and Anna herself are well done, other beings are also included and they’re just as creepy. The paranormal aspect of the novel was also well done. Anna is a ghost with personality, and as you get to know her through Cas, you start to like her as well. I really liked how she was written, despite her being a ghost, she was ‘fleshed out’ and didn’t have a cardboard personality. The other characters in the book are also fun to read, and all are likable. (Of the secondary characters, I liked Cas’ mom.) I loved the ending of the book and it did catch me by surprise. Which is why I can’t wait to get my hands on the second one. This book was a great read, and nice to see a male protagonist lead, with a well written ghost story to accompany it. Most definitely recommended for YA readers.
Date published: 2012-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good ghost story, but I just wish it was a little scarier! Anna Dressed in Blood is the literary version of the television show, Supernatural! It has won a few literary awards including: 2011 Cybils Award Nominee for Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult), YALSA 2012 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers, and YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Theseus Cassio Lowood ("Cas") is a 17 year-old ghost-hunter, and he comes from a long line of ghost-hunters. His father was recently killed by a ghost, and Cas feels that it is his place to carry on this unusual vocation. He receives tips from all over the world about malevolent ghosts, and he travels with his mom from place to place hunting them and sending them back to Hell with his athame, which is a special dagger that is made with the blood of his ancestors. His mom is a white witch, and she purifies his athame after each kill. Cas gets a tip about a ghost named Anna Korlov, otherwise known as Anna Dressed in Blood, and he and his mom travel to Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada. The urban legend is that Anna has been killing people for decades, tearing apart anyone who enters her house which stands vacant. In order that he can get "in the know" in Thunder Bay, Cas targets the most popular girl in school, Carmel Jones, and makes friends with her. Too bad for Cas that her boyfriend, Mike Andover, is the jealous type. Carmel invites Cas to a party with her friends, and he uses the opportunity to his advantage to find out more about the local hauntings. It turns out better than he expects when the group decides to take a trip out to Anna's house. Mike and his sidekick, Chase Putnam, usher Cas up the front steps of the abandoned Victorian house. Mike whacks Cas over the head with a board, and he takes the unconscious Cas into the house and leaves him there. When Cas awakens, he becomes aware of a presence with him and is confused because he doesn't understand how he came to be in the house! He sees who can only be Anna, in a white dress dripping with blood, and watches her as she pulls Mike through the window into the house and tears him limb from limb. While this chaos is going on, someone grabs Cas under his arms and drags him out of the house. His saviour is Thomas Sabin, the quiet boy from school who can read minds. Thomas didn't come to Anna's house with Carmel's friends, so he must have sensed that something bad was going to happen. Cas should feel driven to kill Anna, but he doesn't feel threatened by her. Oddly enough, he feels that she does not pose any risk to him. He wants to learn how Anna was killed and why she is on a killing spree, and he will do whatever it takes to find those answers. Kendare Blake is a new-to-me author, and I really enjoyed this book! I am a fan of ghostly stories and urban legends, and I was immediately drawn to the book. I had hoped that this book would be the kind of book that would make me afraid to turn the lights out at night, so I was a little disappointed that it wasn't scarier. Nevertheless, it was still a good story. This is my first narration by August Ross, and I have mixed feelings about him. I feel that his voice is actually perfectly suited for adolescent Cas, and he does a nice job conveying Cas' smart-alecky attitude. However, his characterizations (especially the females) leave a lot to be desired. His voice for Thomas sounded off to me. Blake paints Thomas as a quiet and reserved boy who is a little nerdy, geeky, and extremely smart. I was expecting a higher-pitched meeker voice, not a low, breathy, oafish voice. Ross's enunciation is crisp and clear, but I believe that his attention to it interferes with the flow of the story. The result is a narration that is slow, stilted, and choppy. I have never said this before, and I am cringing as I type it, but the narration actually left me feeling a bit discontented. I think this is one of those rare occasions where I would have preferred reading the book instead of listening to it. MY RATING: 4 stars!! It was really good! You should put it on your "To Be Read" list.
Date published: 2012-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from absolutely awseom well i am going to start off by saying that it reminds me alot like the tv show supernatural only thing is there are not to brouthers anyways i love it from start to end it was spooky the hole way threw 100 thumbs up
Date published: 2012-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bloody awesome! Ghost stories aren't usually my thing but I heard so many good things about ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, I had to decide for myself. Now, after reading it, I know why Kendare Blake has so many people talking about her book. She knows how to write a good story and knows how to keep her readers interested. For a book about ghosts, it's not necessarily horror but it does have enough magic and action to keep you engaged in the story all the way to the end. The first scene reminded me of the TV show, Supernatural. It's where we met Cas, the narrator, as he was driving a Camaro, on the hunt to pick up a ghostly hitchhiker. After his father died at the hand of a ghost, Cas became obsessed with avenging his father's death by trying to kill as many ghosts as possible. I found Cas a little arrogant and smug, since he thought he was one of the only one that could hunt and kill ghosts. He did have the advantage of possessing an athame, a special knife that enable him to kill ghosts, but that alone shouldn't make him the only or best ghost killer. But overall, I think his smugness was part of his quirky charm and I really enjoyed reading a YA novel with a male's point of view. We read so many YA paranormal novels with female point of views so I found it refreshing to have a different outlook. Especially since having a male narrator means not getting pestered with annoying girly and teenage... touchy-feely stuff. Also, I loved Cas's no-nonsense character. He might have been a little distant when it came to making friend but to him, killings ghosts was more important. I found he explained himself quite well when he said, "I guess I never give too much thought to the living." After the hitchhiker, Cas moved on to a bigger challenge, and we finally learn about Anna dressed in blood. Who is literally dressed in blood. If I had to describe Anna in one word, I would say Awesome! (A second word, however, would be bipolar). She's unlike any ghost I've ever read about and she scared me to death, at first. Unlike Cas, she wasn't necessarily vengeful but had murderous tendencies because she was more or less grieving the loss of her life. I won't reveal more about her because I don't want to ruin Anna's story but I do want to mention that the imagery used to describe Anna was absolutely wonderful. Some of my favorite parts in the book were seeing the relationship between Thomas and Carmel develop (Cas's friends and sidekicks). Thomas is more or less an awkward geek and Carmel is the prom queen socialite. The unlikeliness of this relationship happening in real life made it that much more enjoyable to read about. Thomas is also the comic relief in the story, while Carmel is more the voice of reason. One thing's for sure--Kendare Blake keeps you guessing until the very end of the book. She's a great story-teller and she has me wanting to read more about Anna and Cas's lives. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read YA paranormal novels, and I'm not just saying that because Kendare Blake chose a Canadian city as the setting for her book. According to the author, only two books are planned for the series. The sequel, Girl of Nightmares, will be released August 7, 2012. It's one of the summer releases that I definitively won't miss!
Date published: 2012-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Bloody good time! I thoroughly traumatized myself with ghost films as a kid and for the longest time I couldn’t watch them without huddling under a blanket and keeping a night light on. It wasn’t until I saw my first episode of Supernatural back in 2005 that I really got over my fear of ghosts because I realized that “Hey there’s really good looking guys that hunt ghosts and there’s totally rational ways to fight them”. It was their sense of finality at the end of the episodes that made me realize, well the ghost is gone and there’s nothing to fear (most of the time). This sense of safety is what I immediately felt upon beginning to read Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas Lowood embodies the Supernatural hunter vibe with cool confidence and deadly skills as he takes on “the family business”. The cover features a gorgeous and haunting Anna in her signature white dress dripping with blood amid her Victorian home swirled in fog. I love the black and whiteness of the cover with accents of blood red! The version I read also featured a rusted blood red color for the font that compliments the mood of the story. The story begins with Cas taking the reader through the logistics of ghost hunting, from the research to the props and finally the execution. I was immediately hooked by the rich details and the histories of the ghosts he hunts. Cas has taken over ghost hunting ever since the death of his father at the hands of a very powerful and mysterious supernatural entity. As Cas and his witch mother move from one town to another in search of ghosts to put down, while Cas plans his revenge on the creature that killed his father. We end up in the Canadian city of Thunder Bay, Ontario as Cas follow’s Anna’s bloody trail to her doorstep. Cas’ character is strong, confident (maybe a bit overconfident at times) and he has a hilarious sarcastic sense of humour. He’s got a very lone ranger method to ghost hunting and has a few acquaintances that he gets information from around the world. So when he moves to a new place he makes it his business to stay remote, and avoids making friends, but he definitely knows how to turn the charm on to get what he wants. Anna’s ghost has a history that’s been shrouded in local legend and with all places that are haunted there are always drunk teenagers that stumble in to test their courage. Only this time, it’s not just a story and Anna is one of the most powerful ghosts that Cas has ever seen. The dichotomy of Anna’s character is what’s so interesting about her. One on hand she’s a blood fuelled, terrifying violent spirit that has an ever increasing body count to her name, but on the other hand with Cas the hurt she’s been through is visible as well as a lonely human side. When we finally find out her story, it was heartbreaking, and something completely out of left field. Anna also manages to get Cas out of being a tunnel vision hunter, she makes him question what he’s doing if it’s as righteous as he feels it is, she pretty much shakes up Cas’ whole life and it really makes him grow up a bit. The secondary characters were an amazing cast who Cas originally only befriended because he needed them for their respective knowledge and skills, but they end up turning into something more. In turn each character such as Thomas who’s quite shy and a loner gets more courageous and Carmel, who I originally disliked because I figured she was the super peppy popular girl whose only skill is to scream, actually turned out to be pretty bad ass, and a great friend. What Cas thought was just another job turned into something far more dangerous than just figuring out Anna’s story. There were so many twists and turns in this story that definitely kept me hooked all the way to the dramatic ending! Blake’s writing is so descriptive and it works well for when we’re taken back in time to recount the ghost’s moments before death. She also writes some really graphic- eye popping violence scenes and introduces some new aspects to ghosts that I’ve never really thought of before. I also love Blake’s little nods to Canadians by setting the story in a Canadian city, and things like Saskatoon Berry Jam (which is delicious by the way!).
Date published: 2012-05-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Glamourous Ghostly Tale First things first, I absolutely love the cover of Anna Dressed In Blood. It's hauntingly beautiful and it reflects the story perfectly! The title also fits with the books, it's stating something but it's not obvious until a few chapters into the book. The whole idea seems like a typical paranormal romance novel, but there are a few perks in the book that makes it unique. For one thing, the talk of ghosts is interesting. No one really writes books about them, but here is a ghost novel. The second thing is, the author doesn't glamour the supernatural. She keeps the supernatural in their real states, horrifying and gruesome. If being a vampire is considered "hot" and "sexy", then people who think like that are going to wet themselves when reading Anna Dressed In Blood. The writing matches the tone of the story. This book is serious and ghastly, so the writing isn't pretty or whimsical unless describing Anna. Then the writing can be considered mystical. Anna Dressed In Blood isn't a typical ghost story. There is a sad murder to explain the ghost, but Anna's murder is so disturbing you feel so bad for her. Whatever you've known about her beforehand seems right compared to how her life turned out. Justice, you can say. The twist in the book that makes this stand out is Anna is not who you think she is. There are reasons for her actions, but she regrets them all. It also helps that the book doesn't revolve around Anna haunting the town. There aren't hushed whispers going around like "Bloody Mary". The real mystery revolves around Anna's murder and Cas's (protagonist) father's murderer. The one thing I didn't like throughout the book was that it seemed too fast. The book didn't progress into the two separate problems smoothly. It was almost a jerky transition. I felt that there should have been more hints throughout the beginning to middle of the book to the twist at the end. I felt the ending though was good because the closure to what readers wanted was answered.
Date published: 2012-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ghostly. (Originally posted at I want to start of this review by gushing about the cover. It's GORGEOUS. I love the greyscale background with the punches of blood red on her dress and in the wind. The atmosphere it creates is fantastic, and I can't help but stare at it! And I love that the font on the pages is crimson as well. It really adds to the story, and looks fantastic! Now, on to the story. I heard about Anna Dressed in Blood when it first came out, and thought it sounded really interesting. It was getting a lot of high praise, particularly from Chandra at Indigo Teen Blog, and I knew I had to read it. I'm part of a teen book club at my local Chapters store, and during one of our meetings we had a trivia contest. The prize was an YA book of our choosing, and the quiz was on White Cat by Holly Black. I won, (it was a landslide I might add. No one messes with my Cassel Sharpe knowledge) and chose to get Anna. The book kept calling me, and when I finally read it, I knew why. It was one of those stories that just grabs you. Filled with action, and so much heart, I just loved it. The ghost hunting element was very unique. I hadn't read anything like it! The only reason it got 4.5 stars was that I felt Cas wasn't completely developed at first. I felt I had to fill in the blanks for some parts, but I don't think it lessened the story. I might even felt that way simply because I was so wrapped up in the story I couldn't put it down. By the end though, I adored Cas. Seriously, loved him. He has gone through so much trauma in his life, but he still keeps fighting. It was great watching Cas evolve from this distant fighter, to a strong-willed leader. His passion and drive was heart-warming, and his relationship with Anna was a delight to read about. And Anna! Oh, Anna. She was my favorite. She was unlike any character I've read before: a murderous, unforgiving ghost, dressed in a bloody dress, and killing anyone who comes in her house. And I loved her. She made me love her. Because while she was all those things, she was also so much more. She had the soft, broken side to her, and it was such a treat to see it come out. Her fierce attitude was great as well, and the witty, adorable banter between her and Cas was fantastic. The two people touched by death, brought light into this dark tale. What an intriguing and interesting story, Anna Dressed in Blood was! Kendare Blake is on my auto-buy list from now on and Anna and Cas have won a place in my heart. Read this book. You'll love it! Be sure to check out Anna's sequel, Girl of Nightmares this summer! It's going to be fantastic! - Ciara who is lost at midnight
Date published: 2012-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Holy Anna! I have to admit that I was taken with this book from about page one. This book was awesome and deserved my 5. Not only did it scare the crap out of me and get my heart racing in some places but it made me laugh in so many others. Anna Dress in Blood is a new different tale. Sure there has been the tale of Girls falling for the angels and maybe even a ghost but there hasn’t been anything like Anna that I’ve read…she is one scary ghost (according to Cas the most powerful one in the Northern Hemisphere). It was thrilling and had my heart racing hear the end, and of course it was gruesome, which I didn’t mind because hey the book is all about death. Then there were the parts that made me laugh out loud…and I mean pretty hard to the point that people were looking at me and questioning my sanity. The written was so well done especially from the male perspective that I felt like I could see everything down to her dripping dress, Cas’s head in the fridge talking about Aura’s changing, and Cas looking up in the window reflection and realizing that he won’t be seeing much of anything for a while because he’s about to get cracked in the head with a two-by-four. On top of this all…it took place in Thunder Bay, Ontario….awesome! Now of course I want more. I want the next Anna book. I want answers to what Cas really is, where his powers come from, how come Anna was so cool with him being in her house? I want to know it all. Good: Cas: Although we don’t get too much description I can only imagine how hot he is…not to mention he is a born and made ghost killing machine who probably has moves like a Ninja. Anna: She would probably scare the crap out of my in her “evil” form if I ever really saw her. Its in Thunder Bay, Ontario! Thomas: Seems like a cool guy Tybalt: Awesome cat. Awesome cat. Bad: Might be a little too scary/gruesome in some parts? Maybe. Overall (Writing style, story line, and general): Overall the writing on this novel was very well done. Then there is the subtle humour that Blake manages to slip in leads me to believe that she knows how to crack up her friends on a daily basis. What shocked me the most was that the novel is written in the male perspective, which is not something you see everyday and not something you see pulled off well. But Blake was so flawless with her writing that I only managed to really think about it once (when he manages to say he doesn’t have to time to think about girls and things like that. Ya right…he’s a guy) and the rest was all just a great adventures. View more of my review and others at my blog;
Date published: 2012-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not as scary as I expected, but a great read! I’m going to say this first: I love a good ghost story. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like YA books nowadays deal with anything but ghosts, so I was happy to find such a book even existed. Aside from the fact that it’s a ghost story, Anna Dressed In Blood immediately drew me in because of the cover — how crazy and cool is that cover art? It’s mysterious and creepy and fantastically designed. I probably would’ve bought the book for the cover alone if the story hadn’t also drawn me in. Anna Dressed in Blood is the story of Cas, am 17-year-old ghost-hunter who kills the dead. Not all the dead, but only the dead who are a threat to humans. When he moves to Thunder Bay, Ontario he has one mission: to find Anna — a ghost that had been causing major problems — and kill her. Naturally, there are twists and turns, but this is a pretty good story and will keep you turning the pages. Now, while I was first turning the pages, getting into the crazy intro that Blake tossed my way, the first thing that completely threw me with this novel was the fact that it was told by a guy’s perspective. When I realized this, oh, about 10 pages in, I realized that I read a lot of woman-based fiction; a lot of stories told from a female perspective, or about females. I am obviously quite sheltered in my literature and really should get out of my shell. But I digress. That being said, while I loved Cas and his snarkiness, I really enjoyed Anna’s character. She was haunting, but sweet, and I found myself constantly pulling for her. I also loved Cas’s mother and how she helped him with his “kills” — from what I’ve been reading in YA literature, the parents aren’t normally one of the forerunners of the novel; sure you see them now and again, but they never play a big part. The other characters are awesome as well, though I thought there was one thing missing with them: that emotion that comes with seeing a ghost, or seeing anything truly gruesome. Is it just me? Am I the only one who would be thrown into a sleepless night after seeing a ghost? I felt like these kids were just shaking it off like it was something that was bound to happen sooner or later and it’s really no big deal. One of the other things that took some getting used to was the print of the book: rather than having the story printed in regular, run of the mill black ink, it was printed in a dark red, as if to emphasize the “blood” part of the title. And the romance! Who would’ve thought that a YA novel written from a male perspective would have such great romance. I’m not talking about anything hot and heavy, but rather, more of an innocent kind of romance. Nothing heavy-handed or overly done, but something that made me smile and blush in parts. I adored the romance in this book! And how could I forget Tybalt, the Siamese cat? I am not really a cat person (just ask the two I have at my house — they’re my husband’s cats and pretty much ignore me when he’s not around), but I absolutely fell in love with Tybalt. I felt he added some good humour to the book. The only thing I was really questioning throughout the book — besides the teenagers’ reaction to the world of the unknown — were the ghosts and how tangible they actually were. I felt that it wasn’t really talked about, yet the ghosts seemed to come across as regular human beings, heard by everyone, able to be touched and touch things. From what I remember, from ghost stories I heard growing up, a ghost was only seen by certain people and couldn’t be touched. I wonder why the ghosts in this book were so different. In the end, I really enjoyed this novel, even if it didn’t completely live up to the high horse I had put it on. Don’t get me wrong, I adored Cas, and loved Anna to death, but I felt like something was missing. Maybe it was because I didn’t get completely scared while reading it — though, it does take a lot to scare me in a book. Even if that was the case, I still really look forward to the second instalment of this series — I’m sure it will be wonderful.
Date published: 2012-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not Your Ordinary Ghost Story! I really should have listened to the praise much more because I absolutely enjoyed reading Anna Dressed in Blood! There's something about the mystery of Anna's death and the dark reason she haunts her old house that completely mesmerizes you. I was just as curious and compelled as Cas to uncover the secrets which Thunder Bay, Ontario was hiding regarding Anna. There was more to Anna's vicious nature than the townsfolk's ghost stories were telling... and I tore through the pages trying to find the answers. Cas was a great protagonist who showed so much growth throughout the novel. He's very cool and confident in his abilities on the surface, but on the inside, he has his doubts that he can avenge the death of his father when the time becomes right. His tireless efforts to kill the restless dead have been preparing him to take that step. He's not afraid to take risks to get the job done but he's also aware of his limitations. And despite his nature to push people away, others can't help but be drawn to Cas' strong sense of character and offer their help, knowing he's secretly grateful even if he wouldn't actually admit it. I just really liked Cas as a narrator with his sarcasm too! I loved how the romance in the novel just sort of creeps up on you. It's not very obvious in the beginning, but then, it's suddenly in your face and everything falls perfectly into place. But that's all I'm going to say on that note. And like any good horror story, Kendare Blake has written some scary and gory scenes that leave quite the impression with the visuals brought to mind! It left me wondering if it was really such a great idea to be reading the book in the middle of the night... If more ghost stories were as captivating and well-written as Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood, without a doubt, I would read them more often. Anna Dressed in Blood is just as dark and creepy as its cover, but in a completely awesome way. It's not so easy to find horror stories as imaginative and enticing as Kendare Blake's debut novel, yet Anna Dressed in Blood goes above and beyond being your ordinary ghost story. I'm absolutely looking forward to seeing what will happen next to Cas in the sequel, Girl of Nightmares! You can also read this review at:
Date published: 2012-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The perfect book for a chilling night! First, let me just say that I'm a baby chick when it comes to this kind of stuff. I'm not into anything terrifying or gory or even remotely scary, because I get nightmares way more often than I dream. But even with all of that, Anna Dressed in Blood was awesome! It was everything I was expecting and more! There were ghosts and blood and mystery and a surprisingly sweet romance that made me smile. Not only that, but this book was funny. Like, right after a scene that gave you shivers, one of the characters would say something and you'd burst out laughing even though you knew it wasn't really the right time. (And nope, they weren't just morbid jokes!) I can't even explain how much I loved Cas! Anna Dressed in Blood was another one of the few examples that could pull off a male narrative written by a female author. Cas was just awesome, and his other awesome friends (like Carmel and Thomas and even his mom!) made it doubly awesome! Clever and suspenseful, Anna Dressed in Blood is a book I think tons of people would enjoy, whether they're into horror books or not! It wasn't overly gory, but it didn't lack in those shiver-inducing aspects either. I would definitely recommend it, and I can't wait for the sequel to come out! BUY or BORROW?: This is a horror book fan must-have! Even if you don't like horror though, this one would be awesome because of the great plot and beautifully haunting cover! :)
Date published: 2012-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Boy Meets Ghost If you are looking for something different than the typical girl meets vampire (or werewolf, immortal, faery etc.) story and aren't afraid of a little blood and gore, check out "Anna Dressed in Blood" by Kendare Blake. This story concerns Cas Lowood, a seventeen-year-old a ghost hunter who inherited his ability to kill the dead from his father. Cas and his mother are constantly on the move, until he starts school in Thunder Bay, Ontario to follow up on a lead about a murderous ghost nicknamed "Anna Dressed in Blood". Anna is like no other ghost he has encountered, and even with the assistance of some new-found friends, killing her proves more difficult than he imagined. The fact that the story is told from a male perspective is refreshing, as is the fact that the romance didn't follow the typical love triange so often found in paranormal romances. The book contains a perfect balance of horror, romance, action and humor. I give this book four out of five bloody dresses.
Date published: 2011-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Highly enjoyable... (In the event the Chapters/Indigo website deletes my rating, I mention here that I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars/leaves.) I enjoyed this one. The story was gripping (and really scary), the characters were well developed, and the plot moved along very well. I particularly appreciated the fact that all plot points were clearly and neatly tied up: some elements mentioned in the beginning of the book which seemed inocuous at first glance became much more important by the end of the novel. The end of the novel also dealt with all important aspects of the storyline while leaving room for future stories in this universe. IMHO, one of the strengths of this particular novel was the quality of the plot. If I contrast this book with a novel where I found this aspect of the story to be lacking, i.e. Kimberly Derting's 'The Body Finder' (also a YA novel), the latter novel had the 'bad guy' and his motivations which were by and large: (i) rather underdeveloped and somewhat nebulous, (ii) not entirely believable. IMHO, while true psychopaths exist who simply kill because it is in their nature, it is not enough to simply touch on this briefly. Indeed, one can delve into the nature of the character's psychopathy and their personality makeup. Another aspect of the plot which is sometimes not well dealt with in novels is the actual 'flow' of the plot itself: the most believable way to create an intricate plot is to know what you are going to do (and where you are going to take the story) before writing it, then taking the reader down this path. In this way every story element becomes a step on this journey. In Derting's novel for instance, this is not well achieved because certain plot elements seem to 'come out of nowhere' and do not have the feel of having been 'thought out' by the author. Blake's story, OTOH, definitely succeeds in this regard. (Yes, I'll step off my soapbox now. ;-) The only weakness I could point to was a slight tendency to be too 'cute' in terms of the narrator's inner monologue: sometimes the pop culture references and 'quippy' expressions were slightly forced (again IMHO). By and large though even this was quite well done. So overall, this was a highly enjoyable novel. Other recommended titles: -Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer -The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins -Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles -The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart -Warrior Princess, by Frewin Jones -The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carlson
Date published: 2011-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pure Greatness As a reviewer from Thunder Bay, where the story mostly takes place, I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Cas and Anna's story. Cas Lowood character is strong mentally and physically. I love the history Blake presents in her novel based on Anna's background. The supernatural aspect added was even better. Through the descriptions of the city, I pictured the whole thing since I knew where everything was since I live in the region. Anna Dressed in Blood won't let you down!! From the action of ghosts from the first chapter, the whole book pulls you into Kendare Blake's world of Cas and Anna's journey. Even Carmel and Thomas the supporting characters played a major role :) Carmel is the Queen Bee at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate & Vocational Institute Cas is a strong character who is like "ghost-busters" but awesomer (if that's a word). He travels to places where ghosts, who have being killing people. I loved the suspense of what happened to Cas' father before he moved around. Anna really develops when we finally meet the scary ghost Anna. Anna really surprised me. I actually adored her character, even if she kills lots of people for the past years. Anna has a story of her own. She has so much about her, like how she died, *Spoiler* Why she doesn't kill Cas when he enters her house. I found their whole relationship really strong. The ending was fantastically done. I was on my toes waiting to find out what will happen next!! The new cover for the next one came out today so check it out!! As a history major this book really fascinated me because of the research Kendare Blake did by coming to Thunder Bay. Her writing was brilliant and beautiful. The descriptions of the house and Anna was awesome !! If you haven't check out this book I recommend you read it!!! 2012 needs to come quicker:)
Date published: 2011-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gory and Spooky! More of my reviews at Kendare Blake wrote one of the creepiest books I have read so far. If you like spooky, gory and a nice blooming romance, then Anna Dressed in Blood is your book! Cas, our badass hero, kills the dead (I know, sounds weird, but is actually pretty cool). The story is told from his perspective and I have to say that I really loved that aspect of the book. His voice is so real! I can easily picture a teenage boy talking and thinking the way Cas does. I think Kendare Blake did an amazing job creating a character like Cas. He is confident, badass, brave, smart but he is still a teenage who needs some friends and the support of his mom to do the difficult jobs. He is so young, that even with all this confident and smartness, he doesn't realize when he falls for someone, at least not until everybody else already noticed. I really liked the characters. Not only Cas but Anna too. She is one of those very creepy (probably the creepiest!) characters but very lovable. I'm excited to see more about her in the next book!. Cas, his mom and the creepy cat (a lot of things are creepy in this book!) are Americans but the book takes place in Ontario! Yey!! Cas takes jobs here and there and that's the way they have been living for the past three years until Cas confront himself to Anna. His most spooky and dangerous job ever! Blake's gory descriptions makes from Anna Dressed in Blood a disturbing and enjoyable read (enjoyable depending if you like blood and flying human body parts. Moahahaha). I really enjoyed this book. I think this would be a perfect read for Samhain/Halloween! and I strongly recommend you to read it at night with only a flash light! because...well, Anna is Anna, and she is someone to be afraid of!
Date published: 2011-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent, different, and thrilling read! Theseus Cassio Lowood, better known as Cas, lives a life unlike anyone we know. His vocation-he kills the dead. Since the gruesome death of his father when he was fourteen years old, he's kept up the family business: traveling from place to place killing off their angry spirits. Armed with his father's hunting weapon of choice, the athame, he travels with his mother and cat to Thunderbay,Ontario after a tip from a trusted source. The tip: the haunting spirit of a girl murdered in 1958 by the name of Anna Korlov, also known as the infamous "Anna dressed in blood", has been killing anyone and everyone who steps foot into her house, tearing them to unidentifiable shreds of meat and guts. Cas expects Anna's case to be a quick and clean kill but finds that there's something stronger at work in the small town. After unexpectedly being dragged into Anna's home against his will by the "Trojan army", he finds himself face to face with Anna herself. Cas witnesses the head of the jock clique being torn in half and expects Anna to do the same to him but is surprised when she lets him go unharmed. Why would Anna spare his life and not the others? The confusion and mystery behind the event begins to eat Cas from the inside out and he makes it his purpose to find out why Anna spared him, how she died and what is making her kill. Kendare Blake brings young adult readers a novel that stands out amongst the other releases of the year. A horrifying and down-right creepy story about a boy who hunts and kills angry spirits. Firstly, I'd like to point out the cover. The cover of Anna Dressed in Blood is haunting and beautiful, a true reflection of what the pages inside hold, and will no doubt draw you in. Kendare introduces us to a different and interesting male protagonist. Cas is far from your regular teenage boy. He follows in his father's footsteps and travels about killing spirits with his father's blade, the athame. There's definetly a Supernatural(TV-show) feel to Cas' character. I'd say he's got Sam's wit and boyish looks and Dean's brutal sense of humour and fighting intuition. What more could we ask for from a male protagonist? Cas' mother, who happens to be a kitchen-witch, is also quite interesting. Despite her constant motherly nagging about Cas' safety, she's also a powerful character in the story. She's the brains and backbone. Tybalt, who was by far my favorite character, is Cas' mother's cat. Tybalt is far from your ordinary house cat. His ability: he can sniff out spirits. Aside from Cas, his mother and Tybalt, Anna Dressed in Blood also features an interesting group of sub-characters including; Carmel, Thomas, Will, Morfran and the Obeahman. The Obeahman, who was extremely creepy and haunting, unfortunately gave me a terrible nightmare the night I finished reading Anna. A haunting character who can give a reader a nightmare is a well written and realistic character, kudos to Kendare. I really wasn't expecting the development in Anna, especially the small romance and ending, it really took me by surprise. Overall, Anna Dressed in Blood was an exceptionally well written, heartbreaking, exciting, and horrifying tale that I recommend to all young adult readers. I'm really looking forward to what Kendare Blake will bring us in the second installment.
Date published: 2011-05-10

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CHAPTER ONE The grease-slicked hair is a dead giveaway—no pun intended.So is the loose and faded leather coat, though not as much that as the sideburns. And the way he keeps nodding and flicking his Zippo open and closed in rhythm with his head. He belongs in a chorus line of dancing Jets and Sharks.Then again, I have an eye for these things. I know what to look for, because I’ve seen just about every variety of spook and specter you can imagine.The hitchhiker haunts a stretch of winding North Carolina road, bordered by unpainted split-rail fences and a whole lot of nothing. Unsuspecting drivers probably pick him up out of boredom, thinking he’s just some college kid who reads too much Kerouac.“My gal, she’s waiting for me,” he says now in an excited voice, like he’s going to see her the minute we crest the next hill. He taps the lighter hard on the dash, twice, and I glance over to make sure he hasn’t left a ding in the panel. This isn’t my car. And I’ve suffered through eight weeks of lawn work for Mr. Dean, the retired army colonel who lives down the block, just so I could borrow it. For a seventy-year-old man he’s got the straightest back I’ve ever seen. If I had more time, I could’ve spent a summer listening to interesting stories about Vietnam. Instead I cleared shrubs and tilled an eight-by-ten plot for new rosebushes while he watched me with a surly eye, making sure his baby would be safe with this seventeen-year-old kid in an old Rolling Stones t-shirt and his mother’s gardening gloves.To tell the truth, knowing what I was going to use the car for, I felt a little guilty. It’s a dusk blue 1969 Camaro Rally Sport, mint condition. Drives smooth as silk and growls around curves. I can’t believe he let me take it, yard work or no. But thank god he did, because without it I would have been sunk. It was something the hitchhiker would go for—something worth the trouble of crawling out of the ground.“She must be pretty nice,” I say without much interest.“Yeah, man, yeah,” he says and, for the hundredth time since I picked him up five miles ago, I wonder how anyone could possibly not know that he’s dead. He sounds like a James Dean movie. And then there’s the smell. Not quite rotten but definitely mossy, hanging around him like a fog. How has anyone mistaken him for the living? How has anyone kept him in the car for the ten miles it takes to get to the Lowren’s Bridge, where he inevitably grabs the wheel and takes both car and driver into the river? Most likely they were creeped out by his clothes and his voice, and by the smell of bones—that smell they seem to know even though they’ve probably never smelled it. But by then it’s always too late. They’d made the decision to pick up a hitchhiker, and they weren’t about to let themselves be scared into going back on it. They rationalized their fears away. People shouldn’t do that.In the passenger seat, the hitchhiker is still talking in this faraway voice about his girl back home, somebody named Lisa, and how she’s got the shiniest blond hair and the prettiest red smile, and how they’re going to run off and get married as soon as he gets back hitching from Florida. He was working part of a summer down there for his uncle at a car dealership: the best opportunity to save up for their wedding, even if it did mean they wouldn’t see each other for months.“It must’ve been hard, being away from home so long,” I say, and there’s actually a little bit of pity in my voice. “But I’m sure she’ll be glad to see you.”“Yeah, man. That’s what I’m talking about. I’ve got everything we need, right in my jacket pocket. We’ll get married and move out to the coast. I’ve got a pal out there, Robby. We can stay with him until I get a job working on cars.”“Sure,” I say. The hitchhiker has this sadly optimistic look on his face, lit up by the moon and the glowing dashlights. He never saw Robby, of course. He never saw his girl Lisa, either. Because two miles up the road in the summer of 1970, he got into a car, probably a lot like this one. And he told whoever was driving that he had a way to start an entire life in his coat pocket.The locals say that they beat him up pretty good by the bridge and then dragged him back into the trees, where they stabbed him a couple of times and then cut his throat. They pushed his body down an embankment and into one of the tributary streams. That’s where a farmer found it, nearly six months later, wound around with vines, the jaw hanging open in surprise, like he still couldn’t believe that he was stuck there.And now he doesn’t know that he’s stuck here. None of them ever seem to know. Right now the hitchhiker is whistling and bobbing along to nonexistent music. He probably still hears whatever they were playing the night they killed him.He’s perfectly pleasant. A nice guy to ride with. But when we get to that bridge, he’ll be as angry and ugly as anyone you’ve ever seen. It’s reported that his ghost, dubbed unoriginally as the County 12 Hiker, has killed at least a dozen people and injured another eight. But I can’t really blame him. He never made it home to see his girl, and now he doesn’t want anyone else to get home either.We pass mile marker twenty-three—the bridge is less than two minutes away. I’ve driven this road almost every night since we moved here in the hopes that I would catch his thumb in my headlights, but I had no luck. Not until I got behind the wheel of this Rally Sport. Before this it was just half a summer of the same damn road, the same damn blade tucked under my leg. I hate it when it’s like that, like some kind of horribly extended fishing trip. But I don’t give up on them. They always come around in the end.I let my foot ease up on the gas.“Something wrong, friend?” he asks me.I shake my head. “Only that this isn’t my car, and I don’t have the cash to fix it if you decide to try to take me off the bridge.”The hitchhiker laughs, just a little too loudly to be normal. “I think you’ve been drinking or something tonight, pal. Maybe you ought to just let me off here.”I realize too late that I shouldn’t have said that. I can’t let him out. It’d be my luck that he’d step out and disappear. I’m going to have to kill him while the car is moving or I’ll have to do this all over again, and I doubt that Mr. Dean is willing to let the car go for too many more nights. Besides, I’m moving to Thunder Bay in three days.There’s also the thought that I’m doing this to this poor bastard all over again. But that thought is fleeting. He’s already dead.I try to keep the speedometer over fifty—too fast for him to really consider jumping out, but with ghosts you can never be sure. I’ll have to work fast.It’s when I reach down to take my blade out from under the leg of my jeans that I see the silhouette of the bridge in the moonlight. Right on cue, the hitchhiker grabs the wheel and yanks it to the left. I try to jerk it back right and slam my foot on the brake. I hear the sound of angry rubber on asphalt and out of the corner of my eye I can see that the hitchhiker’s face is gone. No more easy Joe, no slicked hair and eager smile. He’s just a mask of rotten skin and bare, black holes, with teeth like dull stones. It looks like he’s grinning, but it might just be the effect of his lips peeling off.Even as the car is fishtailing and trying to stop, I don’t have any flashes of my life before my eyes. What would that even be like? A highlight reel of murdered ghosts. Instead I see a series of quick, ordered images of my dead body: one with the steering wheel through my chest, another with my head gone as the rest of me hangs out the missing window.A tree comes up out of nowhere, aimed right for my driver’s side door. I don’t have time to swear, just to jerk the wheel and hit the gas, and the tree is behind me. What I don’t want to do is make it to the bridge. The car is all over the shoulder and the bridge doesn’t have one. It’s narrow, and wooden, and outdated.“It’s not so bad, being dead,” the hitchhiker says to me, clawing at my arm, trying to get me off the wheel.“What about the smell?” I hiss. Through all of this I haven’t lost my grip on my knife handle. Don’t ask me how; my wrist feels like the bones are going to separate in about ten seconds, and I’ve been pulled off my seat so that I’m hovering over the stick shift. I throw the car into neutral with my hip (should have done that earlier) and pull my blade out fast.What happens next is kind of a surprise: the skin comes back onto the hitchhiker’s face, and the green comes back into his eyes. He’s just a kid, staring at my knife. I get the car back under control and hit the brakes.The jolt from the stop makes him blink. He looks at me.“I worked all summer for this money,” he says softly. “My girl will kill me if I lose it.”My heart is pounding from the effort of controlling the lurching car. I don’t want to say anything. I just want to get it over with. But instead I hear my voice.“Your girl will forgive you. I promise.” The knife, my father’s athame, is light in my hand.“I don’t want to do this again,” the hitchhiker whispers.“This is the last time,” I say, and then I strike, drawing the blade across his throat, opening a yawning black line. The hitchhiker’s fingers come up to his neck. They try to press the skin back together, but something as dark and thick as oil floods out of the wound and covers him, bleeding not only down over his vintage-era jacket but also up over his face and eyes, into his hair. The hitchhiker doesn’t scream as he shrivels, but maybe he can’t: his throat was cut and the black fluid has worked its way into his mouth. In less than a minute he’s gone, leaving not a trace behind.I pass my hand over the seat. It’s dry. Then I get out of the car and do a walk-around as best I can in the dark, looking for scratches. The tire tread is still smoking and melted. I can hear Mr. Dean’s teeth grinding. I’m leaving town in three days, and now I’ll be spending at least one of them putting on a new set of Goodyears. Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn’t take the car back until the new tires are on. Copyright © 2011 by Kendare Blake

Editorial Reviews

"Abundantly original, marvelously inventive and enormous fun, this can stand alongside the best horror fiction out there. We demand sequels." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review"Anna Dressed in Blood is a dark and intricate tale, with a hero who kills the dead but is half in love with death himself. By the end of the book, you will be too. Spellbinding and romantic." -Cassandra Clare, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mortal Instruments series"Cinematic and compelling. Blake's smooth combination of gore and romance should have little problem attracting the Twilight crowd." -Booklist"It's the old boy-meets-girl story, if the boy is a wry, self-destructive ghost-hunter bent on avenging his father and the girl is a homicidal ghost trapped in a house full of everyone she's ever murdered. Needless to say, Cas and Anna are my new favorite twosome. When I got to the last page, I flipped back to the first." -Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author of Red Glove