"very reminiscent of the early Anita books"

Anita Blake, U.S. Marshall, succubus, and vampire hunter known as The Executioner, has had her fair share of grisly discoveries over the years. However, when she gets a human head mailed to her, she knows this is going to be an exceptionally bad day.

After Anita failed to kill Vittorio, a vampire serial killer who previously terrorized St. Louis, it seems she now has an express invitation to come hunting him in Las Vegas. Joining Anita on the hunt in Sin City are her long- time friend, U.S. Marshall, and fellow monster hunter, Edward -- aka Death, Bernardo, the sexy Native American Marshall who can't understand why Anita doesn't want to sleep with him, and Olaf, the socio-path serial killer-come-U. S. Marshall who just so happens to have a "thing" for women matching Anita's profile. A long-time fan favorite of the series, many readers will rejoice in having Edward play a major role in the plot of the story.

Upon arriving in Vegas, Anita has to deal with the usual aspects of proving herself to a primarily male workforce who 1) either thinks she's weaker in general because she's a female, or 2) questions her morality and trustworthiness because she's linked to so many preternatural men. And as if that isn't enough on her plate, Anita has to deal with a Tiger Clan Queen who is determined to get Anita to mate with her son, her own metaphysical breakdown, an extremely powerful and psychotic vampire killer, and, last, but certainly not least, The Mother of All Darkness, who is still in pursuit of Anita via dreams and other metaphysical avenues.

The story apparently takes place a few months after the end of Blood Noir, with Anita now living below the Circus of the Damned with Jean-Claude -- Master of the City and Anita's main squeeze (well, one of her main squeezes, anyway). Early fans of the series who have become quite disenchanted with Anita and the ardeur, will certainly enjoy this book more than the previous ones released over the last couple of years. And while the plot focuses mainly on the murder investigation, Anita still has to contend with feeding and controlling her new- found metaphysical powers. This is limited to only one main sex scene, but Anita does discover she can also "feed" other ways besides using her succubus abilities.

I've always loved the murder investigation aspect of these books (grisly and graphic as they may be), and was ecstatic to find Ms. Hamilton focused mostly on that this time around, but I have to say that I really did miss Anita's interaction with her men. Jean Claude is limited to a few minor dialogue scenes and we don't get to see or hear from any of the others, including some of my favorites -- Jason, Asher, Micah, & Nathaniel. I like the fact that Anita continues to mature and deal with her new metaphysical powers and her life in general, but listening to her internal debates and dialogue regarding all of the aforementioned does get a bit tedious for me. On the upside, at least Anita appears to be processing it a bit faster and not dragging it out.

Overall, I really enjoyed Skin Trade and I think not only current fans, but also ex-fans of the series will enjoy Skin Trade since it is very reminiscent of the early Anita books. It was action packed, fast paced and hey, it had Edward in it. What's not to like?

Reviewed by Mippy Carlson
Posted June 29, 2009


A proven series with a hot new look. The #1 bestselling author returns with her most anticipated novel yet.

When a vampire serial killer sends Anita Blake a grisly souvenir from Las Vegas, she has to warn Sin City’s local authorities what they’re dealing with. Only it’s worse than she thought. Ten officers and one executioner have been slain—paranormal style. Anita heads to Vegas, where’s she’s joined by three other federal marshals, including the ruthless Edward. It’s a good thing he always has her back, because when she gets close to the bodies, Anita senses “tiger” too strongly to ignore it. The weretigers are very powerful in Las Vegas, which means the odds of her rubbing someone important the wrong way just got a lot higher.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

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Skin Trade
(Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Book 17)
by Laurell K. Hamilton

Berkley Pub Group
June 1, 2009
Available: June 2, 2009
ISBN #0425227723
EAN #9780425227725
496 pages
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Other Books by
Laurell K. Hamilton

Hit List
Divine Misdemeanors
Never After
Swallowing Darkness
The Living Dead
Blood Noir
A Lick of Frost
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter
The Harlequin
Circus of the Damned
Mistral's Kiss
Danse Macabre
Incubus Dreams
A Stroke of Midnight
Circus of the Damned
Seduced By Moonlight
The Laughing Corpse
Cerulean Sins
Narcissus in Chains
Guilty Pleasures
A Caress of Twilight
A Kiss of Shadows
Narcissus In Chains
Out Of This World

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