Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
This is one of those titles that I’m kicking myself about for waiting so long to read. Yes, it’s that scary, especially for a YA book! In it, Cas Lowood follows in his father’s footsteps by being a ghost assassin, finding and killing ghosts who make it a habit of going after the living. He and his Wiccan mother travel around the country, following tips and local lore to find and exterminate the deadly spirits. Cas has inherited his dad’s magical knife that has always helped the the man kill off ghosts, until he was murdered by the last one he hunted. This book opens with Cas killing the ghost of a teenaged hitchhiker, before heading home to get ready for the move to Thunder Bay. There he hopes to track and finally kill the local ghost called Anna Dressed in Blood. But, as it often happens in horror stories, things don’t go exactly as he had planned, starting with the local jocks who cold cock him and lock him in the rotting Victorian house where Anna Korlov’s ghost is said to live.
This book hooked me at the first chapter and keep me reading until I finished it in one day. (And as you guys know, I’m kinda a slow reader so this is saying something!) Cas has a very sarcastic and independent personality, but readers will find themselves invested in his search as we learn more about Anna and how she died. There are also some interesting minor characters in popular and snarky girl Carmel Jones and geeky Thomas, whose grandpa seems like he might know a little more about the occult than he lets on. I highly recommend this to readers who enjoy horror, ghost stories and are looking for a fast-moving story.
We also have the sequel, pictured below but telling you about it would give away some of the surprised in the first book. You’ll have to trust me that it’s almost as good.