Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Title: Dead Ice
Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 24
Pairing: M/F, F/F, Poly
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website:
Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.
It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.
Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.
It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed...
I don't think anyone that reads this series can deny that about fifteen books ago it took a very strange turn. What had once been a very interesting paranormal horror detective series suddenly became strictly romance with an emphasis on graphic sex. The total one-eighty threw me. I felt the series had suddenly lost all focus and the books quickly became less about solving the mystery and more about figuring out who to have sex with next and in what strange way. I appreciate the fact that Hamilton doesn't discriminate. Anita will have sex with men, women, and gender fluid characters, however it felt like Hamilton was shoving this new sexual revelation down my throat. I seriously considered putting this series down, but something kept me coming back with each new book published.
Dead Ice finally has Anita doing detective work and zombie raising again. Instead of only hopping from bed to bed, she's also hopping from crime scene to crime scene. It's a refreshing change. Hamilton has finally started to find the balance between including a ton of sex and making sure there's still plot to go along with it. She's also ensured the horror aspect of her series is in full effect.
Someone has been kidnapping zombies and using them for porn videos, which sounds about as nasty as it's described in the book. The only problem is that someone is also trapping their souls in their decaying bodies. Anita has to save the zombies and stop the bad guy, all while dealing with a new spike of power in her own necromancy. The layers of plot were well written with twists and turns that were difficult to see coming. The sex was still present and graphic, but it was balanced by the equally graphic descriptions of the crime scenes. Overall, this book finally felt like it was in proportion again.
This is the first book in a long while in this series that I feel I could actually recommend. This book returns to having actual plot, including crime scenes and difficult zombies. I would also classify it as a paranormal horror story, rather than a cheesy vampire romance. I have to applaud Hamilton for finally taking control of the story back from the excessive amounts of mindless sex and finding a balance between Anita's sudden sexual awakening and the mystery solving bones this series was originally built on.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.