Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
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. Anita heads to Vegas, where’s she’s joined by three other federal marshals, including the ruthless Edward.
It never ceases to amaze me at the number of bad reviews Hamilton gets on her books, but people keep on reading them. I am a HUGE fan of Hamilton's work, and I would probably read the telephone book if she wrote it.
That being said, for me, the last few books have not as good as some of the earlier books - and not because of all the sex. I thought there were too many characters for each to get any screen time in the books. SKIN TRADE is more like these earlier books and I am happy to say, Hamilton is back on top of her game.
Our little necromancer, vampire executioner, wereanimal queen and human servant - Anita Blake - receives a severed human head in the mail and instantly knows it is from the big bad of Las Vegas, Vittorio, a vampire who almost killed her several months ago.
After talking with the Las Vegas police, Anita packs up and leaves St. Louis without waiting for her main sweetie, Jean Claude, the Master Vampire of St. Louis, to wake up for the evening. Anita knew Jean Claude would try to talk her out of leaving town to pursue this dangerous vampire. Joining up with Edward (aka Death) and prior associates Bernardo and Olaf, they work with the local police and psychics to track this vampire before he kills more people.
Although I missed the interaction between Anita and Jean Claude, Nathanial and Micah, have a smaller number of characters to deal with made this book a much faster read. And as for the growing sexual situations in recent books, this aspect was greatly toned down. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the sex in Hamilton's books, but it was quickly becoming the main focus of the book.
SKIN TRADE reminded me more of some of my favorite Anita Blake books: Obsidian Butterfly, Narcissus in Chains, and Cerulean Sins. For Hamilton lovers and people who enjoy a good vampire book, this is a definite "must read."