3.5 out of 5 StarsCassio Theseus Lowood, or Cas for short, is a ghost hunter. With his trusty ghost-dispatching knife, he travels the country (and possibly the world), getting rid of harmful ghosts. His latest target is Anna Dressed in Blood, a girl murdered in the 1950’s who kills anyone who enters her old house. However, Cas finds himself further involved in with Anna than he planned and his habitual ghost-hunting life may be changed forever.This is a difficult review, because I wanted to like this book more than I did. I enjoyed it a lot, but it never crossed over from a good book to a great book. That may be in part because I read the perfect ghost/haunted house/love story, “Behind the Red Door” by Caitlin Kittredge, in the Kiss Me Deadly anthology. Anna Dressed in Blood, however enjoyable, felt like a mash-up of many other ghost hunter/mystery stories and nothing original. I mentioned in one of my status updates that the book reminds me of an amalgam of Supernatural, Scooby-Doo, and The O.C. I’m 100% certain I could throw in Buffy the Vampire Slayer if I saw more than half a season. The pop culture mash-up worked for the most part, making the book enjoyable and funny, but not necessarily scary. The characters (however derivative) are great and fleshed-out (minus the villains, who are mustache-twirly) and the ghosts Cas encounters are unique. Cas is a cocky asshole who is too sure of himself, but he does sound like a teenager in with know-it-all attitude air and snarky sense of humor. His friends Thomas and Carmel, although drawn from Character Types 101, are interesting and complex and completely adorable. I liked that although Carmel was the popular queen bee, she was a nice person with feelings and insecurities of her own. And Anna is awesome. She’s violent and scary, but struggles with her ghostly powers, guilt, and her past. Until the book decides to take that away and make her a rather bland manic pixie dream ghost girl. Anna was much more interesting when having to deal with her “dark side” and reformed Anna is pretty boring. The rest of the characters are suitably colorful.However, the book’s strength is also its weakness. This isn’t anything anyone who is a fan of teen horror hasn’t seen before. The set-up was great and original, but the outcome was disappointing. I’ve read/watched my fair share of paranormal/ghostly-themed books and shows and each character and plot development was something I had seen before (and better done) elsewhere. Not to mention I saw the big plot twist coming from miles away. Many small things are brought up, but never explained. The book feels rushed, while adding another 75 page plot device that I thought would occur in the next book. There was only one part that gave me a chill down my spine, but that was short lived once we actually saw the stereotypical villain. The big bad is a voodoo priest! Soooooo surprised! I feel that’s such a copout anymore. And quite honestly, The Princess and the Frog did it first and did it better (while not being so offensive by showing that there is a “light” side to voodoo – the much more commonly practiced voodoo). The whole ‘evil voodoo’ thing is based off of racial fear-mongering. And I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable that the lily-white Cas and the gang were against the racially ambiguous (but dread-wearing, so I assume African-American) big bad evil guy.I guess I was disappointed because I wanted more from this book. It had the potential, but in the end it neither delivered the scares or the unique storytelling I was hoping for. Overall, it was an enjoyable book with a perfectly ambiguous ending for a second book that I’ll probably read. It’s like reading an episode of Supernatural, except if Sam and Dean morphed together into a teenager and the Scooby Gang from Buffy showed up with the dynamic of the main characters from the first season of The O.C. Fun, enjoyable, action-packed, gory, but derivative and uninspired. If you like fun ghost stories with interesting characters, as long as you don’t expect anything new, you will enjoy Anna Dressed in Blood.