Necromancer and vampire executioner Anita Blake is contacted by the police when they suspect that a pack of vampires has been murdering local strippers. Since Anita is the consort of Jean-Claude, the master vampire of the city, some wonder if there's a conflict of interest in her working on the case. But Anita suspects that the killers are rogues who do not belong to Jean-Claude. Proving it, though, could be difficult.

Complicating her life to no end are the ever-increasing demands that the insatiable sexual "Arduer" places on her. Feeding the Arduer to keep her sanity is becoming much more complicated. What started out as a triumvirate with Jean-Claude and Richard the werewolf is expanding to include wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel, plus Anita's vampire servant Damian.

As always, Hamilton is a mesmerizing storyteller. Regrettably, however, the increasingly convoluted sexual issues raised by the "Arduer" have totally overpowered the story in this book. Still, Anita and her consorts make for interesting reading. (Oct., 672 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith