There were some really graphic and gross detailed scenes in this book. I felt like gagging in a few places. Of course, all of Laurel K. Hamilton’s books in this series have been very descriptive when it comes to blood and gore but this one just seemed a little more barf-a-rific. There was one scene where two vampires were having sex with someone and they began to rot and fall apart. It was written in such detail that I was squirming, trying not to gag and hoping the scene would end but I read through it just in case something important happened during the scene that was vital to the plot. I could really do without such detail but it takes a mighty skilled writer to write such graphic scenes.
Anita Blake and her apprentice, Larry, are hired by a rich firm and flown by helicopter to Branson, Missouri to raise the dead. She is an animator who raises the dead for a living. The firm had started construction on a hill but while digging, dug up skeletal remains and bodies. There are no tombstones and the construction equipment made a mess of the bones. A family named Bouvier is claiming it is their ancestral burial ground which means the land is actually theirs but in order to prove it, Anita has to raise the dead and speak with them to ask who they are. If the remains turn out to be Bouvier ancestors, the company will have to either repurchase the land or return it to the Bouvier family. The Bouvier family does not want to sell the land for some reason. Mr. Stirling, one of the owners of the firm, asks Anita to lie for them if any of the zombies turn out to be Bouviers. She refuses but said she will still raise the dead.
While inspecting the burial site, Anita receives a page from the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team or Ripit which is a special division of the police who specialize in murder crimes involving supernatural beings like vampires or werewolves. Anita is not a police woman but she is part of the team because she is one of the only experts in the field. Three dead teenagers were found near Branson and the police need her expertise to find out what happened. Anita goes to the grisly scene and discovers the boys were killed by vampires.
Anita wants to talk to the Bouvier family so she drives to their restaurant and bar, Bloody Bones and discovers the two remaining adults in the Bouvier family are fae. Dorcas and Magnus Bouvier own the bar and seem to be hiding something. The ‘something’ turns out to be a biggy.
Another murder happens near Branson so Anita goes to the house to investigate. A vampire has killed a seventeen year old girl but the girl will rise as a vampire in three nights. The parents insist the girl was unwilling but the evidence is clear that the girl wanted to become a vampire. Things get scary when the police and Anita along with Larry go in search of the vampire who did this and are attacked by a group of vampires that have powers like Anita has never seen before. The vampires end up kidnapping the younger brother of the dead girl along with her body.
Anita knows she needs help with the case to find the boy. She needs to talk to the area master vampire but has no idea how to contact them so she calls Jean-Claude. He flies his private jet out immediately to Branson to help her. Jean-Claude is the master of the city of St. Louis. He used to be the master of Branson also but let another take over so he could concentrate solely on St. Louis. He is in love with Anita but she claims she wants nothing to do with him because he is a vampire and she thinks all vampires are monsters. She is dating a werewolf named Richard and Jean-Claude at the same time because Jean-Claude wants a chance to win her over and he agreed not to kill Richard if she gives him a chance also. Jean-Claude has always been good to Anita and always helps her when she needs it and she seems to need his help a lot but she is always rude and disrespectful to him. She makes sure he knows that she thinks he is a disgusting monster all of the time. Finally, he asks her, “Why do I put up with you? You insult me at every turn. There are many who would give their souls for what I offer you.”
I’ve made it clear in my past reviews that I do not like Anita Blake. She is arrogant and prejudice and super rude to almost everyone she meets. She believes she is a good guy but she has no problem killing people. At one point, she orders the zombies to kill someone which is an automatic death sentence for an animator. The person was trying to kill her but the law doesn’t differentiate. Another bad guy is a witness to it and just so he doesn’t tell on her she wants to kill him to shut him up. Throughout this book and the previous books, she kills people even though she could subdue them in other ways. Sometimes, she kills them for revenge. Larry is appalled and tells her so. She also routinely kills chickens and goats as sacrifices to raise the dead. To me, she is just as monstrous as the monsters if not more.
Despite the fact that I think Anita needs bitch-slapped, I like the books because of the ongoing storyline and plot. I think the author is purposely writing Anita as a hardcore bitch and slowly making her realize that not everything is black and white and just because someone is a vampire, doesn’t make them a monster…at least, I hope that is what the author is doing. Laurel K. Hamilton cannot seriously be so clueless as to think anyone likes Anita Blake as she currently is. Can she? Naw!
I have started on the next book, The Killing Dance.