Anita Blake returns in this short novel, and Hamilton returns to her old form in a tightly plotted, fast-paced romp. Anita, in her role as animator, has been called to Philadelphia to raise a zombie so that he can testify in a federal case. Accompanied by Micah, she encounters unexpected emotional obstacles in her relationship with him. Additionally, she also has to overcome a change in her animation powers.

Longtime Hamilton readers will be glad to see that there's less emphasis on explicit sex scenes (there's only one in the novella) and more emphasis on Anita's character and how she deals with unexpected developments in her abilities and relationships.

This book is by no means the perfect Anita Blake novel -- the main plot is hastily wrapped up -- but it's head and shoulders above recent offerings. (Mar., 288 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs