Jun 4, 2009

Skin Trade - Vampire Book Review

Skin Trade (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 17)

by Laurell K Hamilton
Berkley, June, 2 2009.

[Reviewed by Patricia]

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, also known as the Executioner, finds a surprise package on her desk one early morning. Inside, carefully packed in ice, is a human head. Very little spooks the tough as nails, pretty as a picture, Anita, but this ugly parcel give her pause. It brings back terrifying memories of a vicious, serial killer/vampire named Vittorio. An enclosed note tells her this is his handiwork. He wants her to know! Wants her to come after him! The package came from Las Vegas, NV.

Only a short time ago she had fought and destroyed several of his undead entourage, but not until they had slaughtered more than ten people in St. Louis.

She immediately alerts the Vegas police who are not surprised to hear from her. Anita's name was found smeared in blood on a wall near a brutal crime scene that claimed the lives of members of the Las Vegas' preternatural police.

As a US Marshall Anita easily pulls the assignment to investigate the killings. Along with her are other marshals she has worked with: cold as ice Edward; the ruthless, psychopath Olof; and the extraordinarily handsome Bernardo, the least aggressive member of the team. Like Anita they often take on the supernaturals who have gone rogue. It seems obvious at first who the villain must be, but as often happen the truth is much more complex. The powerful were-tigers are involved, as well as a mysterious other. The ancient and powerful vampire beauties Belle Morte and Marmee Noir have their own plans for Anita. Away from Jean-Claude, her vampire lover and Master of St Louis, both believe Anita to be vulnerable to their machinations.

For readers who have been longing for the engaging stories of the early Anita Blake books (beginning with the aptly titled Guilty Pleasures ), sensual stories of mystery and adventure but without two thirds of the book devoted to graphic sex, their wish has been granted. Right from the start this supernatural thriller grabs your attention and doesn't let go. I haven't enjoyed an Anita story this much in years!!

Check Fantastic Fiction for a complete list of the Anita Blake books.

Anita Blake is coming to television. Read this press release.


Susie said...

Yay! I'm so glad LKH is getting back to the "old" Anita Blake style. The last several books left me rather uncomfortable. I was wondering if I would even buy this one! Thanks!

Patricia said...

Hi Susie

Yes, Anita is back!

Reading this book was such a pleasant surprise.

An Again said...

I said I'd never pay for another AB book and someone tried to convince me to change my mind by loaning me this one. Maybe I'll borrow it after all.

Patricia said...

An Again

Listen to your friend and give this one a try!

Daelith said...

I gave up on this series after Incubus Dreams. Like An Again...I said I would never buy another one.

Patricia said...


The difference between Incubus Dreams and Skin Trade is night and day.

I don't blame you for being gun shy. LKH lost me after Incubus, but maybe she started reading the thoughts of former fans and decided to win them back.

Fantasy Dreamer said...

Good review! I haven't read any of the Anita Blake books, to be honest it is because of the negative comments I've seen about the books starting to be more about sex than plot. Maybe, I'll give them a try. Are these books stand alone or do they need to be read in series order?

Also excited that we are getting a new paranormal TV series, even though it won't be till next year. I'm always game for these type of TV shows.

SciFiGuy said...

Hi Patricia I agree that it is the best of the most recent books, however I found Anita out of character. This was a weird one for me.

Patricia said...

Hi Donna

I was hooked on the Anita Blake Books beginning with Guilty Pleasures but stopped with Narcissus in Chains. Sexual exploits dominated the rest of the series until Skin Trade.

In a series it's usually useful to read the books in order. For Anita read the books 1-4 first, if you can. That should give you enough of a setup to skip to Skin Trade.

Hope you enjoy them!

Patricia said...

Hello Doug

Perhaps my joy at reading an Anita Blake supernatural mystery instead of the Kama Sutra caused me to miss changes in Anita.

Why do you feel Anita was out of character?

Fantasy Dreamer said...

Thanks Patricia! That was exactly the type of advice I was looking for. :)

CherryBlossom said...

I was very happy to find that I purchased an actual book when I bought Skin Trade. If it were the first book I read by this author, I would read another one. Unlike the last few that left me wondering what happened to LKH, I was happy to see there was NO sex until after 3/4 of the book. My problem is that LKH seems to rush at the end of her novels. For someone who describes everything in detail, I was disappointed with her lack of detail towards the end. I don't want to say too much and end up with a plot spoiler but I just always feel like someone has removed a bunch of pages from the end of her books or someone edited it to death. In the end though, I am THRILLED that she wrote a book with a plot instead of just random sex scenes for 450+ pages!!! Hopefully she is headed back towards her previous writing style!