This is the first book in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. "Guilty Pleasures" is the name of a vampire strip club operated by Jean-Claude, a vampire the protagonist, Anita Blake becomes involved with.
Anita Blake is a 24 year old single woman living in St. Louis, Missouri. In Anita's world vampires, shape shifters, werewolves, ghouls, and even zombies are not only a reality, but known to the public. Anita is an "animator," which means she has the power to raise the dead. Why would someone do this? Many reasons, but Anita is usually hired to settle disputes, solve murders, give families closure. When not at her "day job" (which takes place mainly at night), Anita works as a "vampire executioner," killing vampires by order of the courts and advising the police on any crime with a supernatural twist.
In "Guilty Pleasures", Anita is blackmailed by the master vampire of St. Louis into investigating a series of vampire murders. During the course of this investigation, Anita begins a strange relationship with Jean-Claude (worst name EVER, I could not take him seriously), another master vampire, in order to save her life, but gaining two "marks", which push her close to being Jean-Claude's "human servant." This part of the book was sort of rushed to me and I was not entirely sure why these "marks" had to happen, it seemed as if I'd learn more about it in later books. It was also unclear as to why Jean-Claude would make what was obviously SUCH a big sacrifice for Anita. It seems to sort of just be something that happens and we move on. Luckily the story was engaging enough that this was not that difficult.
This book took a little bit of getting used to for me. Anita is a bit harsh and initially less relatable then other literary female protagonists I have read about. Once I got used to her personality though I felt that I could understand her decisions and while they might not be something I could do, I was able to equate them to her character and she became more real to me. And honestly that was the one thing that stood out for me about this book, how realistic it was. Now, let me better explain. What I mean is that despite a pretty far fetched story and some frankly ludicrous situations, Anita keeps the reader grounded in reality. This realism might be in stark contrast to the situations happening, what whatever it is, it works. I found this book very enjoyable.
Bottom Line: A good story with A LOT of supernatural goings-on. If you can get into a world where zombies and shape shifter and vampires are common place, then you'd probably enjoy this story.