What a gorgeous novel. Anna Dressed in Blood is creepy and wry, with the casually beautiful prose we might have seen in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, had Neil Gaiman ever written an episode of that show.We experience the story through the eyes of Cas Lowood, a sarcastic (in a good way) heartthrob of a teenage ghost hunter who took over the family business after his father was killed by an evil spirit. Cas lives alone with his mother (a witch), and they move from town to town tracking murderous ghosts. His ultimate goal is avenge the death of his father by becoming strong enough to take down the ghost that killed him.To this end, Cas and his mother move to a small town in Canada, where Cas will dispatch the strongest ghost he's ever heard of, a brutally murdered girl called Anna Dressed in Blood, who haunts the old boarding house where she lived as a child. Along the way, Cas befriends Thomas, a scrawny nerd with psychic abilities, and Carmel, the high school's Queen Bee. On the night of the big party the students throw to celebrate the beginning of the school year, Cas is beaten and dumped in Anna's house by Carmel's jealous ex-boyfriend MIke--but instead of ripping Cas limb from limb (as is Anna's way), the ghost lets him live, dragging Mike in through the window and tearing his body in half. It. Is. Dis. Gusting.And so begins the love story between Cas, single-minded ghost hunter, and Anna, psychotically murderous ghost.The characters grow and change throughout the story, the way they might in any coming-of-age novel, and the ending feels heartbreakingly inevitable, but what I love most about this book is the respect the author seems to have for her readers. She knows we are suspending our disbelief pretty far to be on board with the premise of the novel, and she doesn't stretch our credulity by asking us to follow characters who behave in ways that are childish or illogical. I wish more genre writers (especially writers of young adult literature) would do the same.