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by Laurell K. Hamilton
1998, Ace, $7, 392 pp. ISBN 0-441-00524-1
Reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
Rating: "A". The strongest Anita Blake since The Laughing Corpse.
I realize I'm a ways behind here -- I've found that if I read these
without a few months break between books, I get vampire-overdose.
Anyway, the previous 3 or 4, while good, didn't blow me away.
So I'm pleased to report that Anita Blake is back to full voltage, with
more complex plot and characters and a (somewhat) lower bodycount. The Grand Guignol's still here, as is Hamilton's ability to
make a fundamentally silly premise into a great story. Bet you can't
read just one ....
In this outing, the Vampire Council's come to town from Europe,
on suspicion that Jean-Claude has gotten uppity after killing
councilor Earthmover (aka "Mr. Oliver" in the last book) -- not
realizing that J-C's human servant (and girlfriend) Anita is the one
who pulled the trigger. Moving at the usual breakneck pace, Anita
becomes both acting-alpha werewolf and leoparde-lionee' for the St.
Louis Wereleopards. Thankfully, Rafael narrowly (by the skin...? er,
no.) keeps his throne as King Wererat. For a while it looked like
Anita would win the Triple Crown. I know this sounds silly -- and it
is. But the mixture of silly with serious (giggles with gore) is one
of Hamilton's signature -- and best -- story-devices.
Add to all this the well-researched police- (and, this time, firefighter-)
procedural, and the snappy tough-girl dialog. In the following snippet, Dolph, her boss on the
Regional Preternatural Investigation Team, is admonishing Our
"Try not to kill anyone this month, Anita. Even in clear self-
I suppose by writing up Anita Blake #7 I'm preaching to the choir --
if you're new to the series, this isn't the place to start (go all the
way back to #1, Guilty Pleasures; all are in print). But what the hell; I
write these things mostly for my own amusement. Good thing, too --
it would be tough to make a living (or even much spare change) writing book
reviews. Anyway, I'll soon be caught up to Hamilton's newest, and
be reduced to impatiently waiting for the next new Anita, just like
all the rest of you guys and gals ....
"I haven't killed anyone in over six weeks -- hell, nearly seven. I'm
Other reviews of this book are available at http://www.epiphyte.net/SF/burnt-offerings.html and http://www.silcom.com/~manatee/utc.html