Shades of the old Anita Blake character reemerge in this latest Vampire Hunter novel which pits the Executioner against a savage group of vampires made more dangerous by virtue of not being blood oathed to a master. After a teenaged girl is kidnapped by vampires, U.S. Marshal Blake is called to track her down and hopefully, free her before the vampires kill or turn her. Although Blake finds the girl, before the confrontation is over, two police officers are dead and a group of surprisingly ordinary appearing vampires are held accountable. In a bid to alter public perception, a powerful master vampire is turning moms, grandparents and teenagers but instead of blood oathing his progeny, is attempting an experiment in freedom that is about to blow apart with serious consequences. Blake will have to tap into her necromancer and vampire enhanced abilities if there is to be any chance of avoiding a bloodbath involving civilians, law enforcement and closer to home, those she loves most.
It is nice to see a bit more of Anita in the role as Executioner and although there is plenty of sex, it feels less gratuitous then previous installments. Rather then dithering about whether she’s a slut, Anita is now obsessing about her relationship with eighteen-year-old weretiger, Sin and whether there is room in her heart for everyone. Anita’s relationships with her many men, a woman she rescued and law enforcement officials deepens a little but the overall story isn’t moved forward a great deal. Asher’s behavior finally goes over the line and paves the way for a new direction in upcoming books. This title gives hope that the series will move away from endless rounds of sex and more towards being a real paranormal thriller.