Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: bleh. I prefer the UK-cover.
Some zombies are raised. Others must be put down. Just ask Anita Blake.
Before now, she would have considered them merely off-putting, never dangerous. Before now, she had never heard of any of them causing human beings to perish in agony. But that's all changed.
Micah's estranged father lies dying, rotting away inside from some strange ailment that has his doctors whispering about “zombie disease.”
Anita makes her living off of zombies but these aren't the kind she knows so well. These creatures hunt in daylight, and are as fast and strong as vampires. If they bite you, you become just like them. And round and round it goes.
Where will it stop?
Even Anita Blake doesn't know.
Anita is busy with her job at the animators firm, when she gets a phone call from a very distressed woman, who claims to be her lovers’ mother. Micah’s father is deadly wounded by a zombie, and is in the hospital. Rush wants to say goodbye to his son, as he knows he is dying. When Micah was changed into a wereleopard he had to keep his family safe from Chimera by pretending that he did not love them at all, and he had to say some horrible things to them to break up with them. But somehow Rush has found it that it was for their own protection, and now he wants to make up.
Of course Micah wants to see his dad, and his family one last time, and Anita and Nathaniel make the arrangements to leave. But as Jean-Claude just became the head of the new American Vampire Council, she will have to take in account vampire and shape shifter politics, and they will have to bring enough bodyguards with them as well. It is not easy, incorporating the leftover Harlequin into their bodyguards, but Anita will have to be able to trust them to guard her, and her lovers.
First, they meet one of Micah’s cousins, who waits for them at the airport, to bring them to the hospital, as is one of the Denver’s Master of the City vampires. So divided over two vehicles they drive to the hospital, where Micah is met by his aunt and uncle, who are religious zealots and despise him. They even try to have the police kill him, when his aunt yells that he is changing because of his eyes. Lucky for Micah, the police was already notified that his eyes can’t change back to human. His dad has been the local sheriff for many years, and the police of all flavors are holding a vigil at the hospital. This is customary when one of their own is hurt on the job. Some of them remember Micah, and are nice, but some have heard all the gossip about Anita and already hate her for being whom she is.
Luckily, the other family members are a lot nicer, and his closest family is very happy to see Micah again. Only his brother needs some persuading first, but the love between them is still there.
Anita just needs to know what has happened to Rush. A flesh eating zombie is very rare, and she has never come across one that infects his victims. She just has to know everything that happens. The doctor and some of the policemen really want her input, but some other policemen do not want to give the case away to the feds. Still, they are outvoted and Anita is welcome to see the other bodies, and read the reports. As a preternatural marshal, she can step in where she wants, but that will only make the locals un-cooperative.
While Micah stays in the hospital with his family, Anita goes out with some of their bodyguards to find some missing persons. The search dogs just kind of lost the trail, but Nathaniel in leopard form will be able to find them. The first victim is found dead, partly eaten by zombies, which is also not usual for a zombie attack. But if they hurry, they should be able to find the second victim in time. And they do, but they sure have to fight hard for him. Ares, one of the bodyguards is bitten badly, and Anita wants him on the first copter back to the hospital. The medic refuses at first, thinking that as a shape shifter, Ares will heal fast enough, but Ares is not healing. Wounds inflicted by another preternatural heal humanly slow, if at all. But when they are finally allowed in the tiny helicopter, something goes wrong. The vampire Anita sensed earlier, is trying to make Ares shift and attack them all. There is no way for the helicopter to land safely right now, Anita will have to kill him if he shifts on board. But on the ground, Ares escapes and runs to attack a women, while her children are watching, and Anita has no other choice but to kill him, while she herself is badly hurt as well. And to make things worse, a tv station helicopter has seen and taped it all, and she ends up on national television.
This is not altogether a bad thing, because when she wakes up in the hospital, Edward is there. Chiding her for not inviting him to this zombie apocalypse. And Jean-Claude has also come to Denver to be with her.
The bad news is, another marshal has been put in charge of the case, and she has not the experience of Anita or Edward/Ted, and she thought the zombies and vampires dead. So they were shipped to the morgue, in the hospital …
When the morgue staff does not answer their phone, they know it is bad news, and hurry back to the hospital to evacuate it all. But they are too late, there are already zombie attacks reported on different floors. They will have to do their best to contain them in the basement and kill them on the spot. Finally Edward can use his European grenades, those are highly illegal in the US but very effective.
Anita will have to find this master vampire and kill him, before he creates more killer zombies and new vampires for his undead army and kills everyone in town.
I absolutely loved this book; I started reading it on Sunday afternoon, and did not stop before it was finished, in the middle of the night. Laurell K. Hamilton has created an amazing story again, it was good. The fight against these zombies and vampires, which was quite scary at times as I hate zombies, was so very well written. As always I love the parts with Edward, and his interaction with Anita and Nicky.
Anita’s harem of men seems to be complete, there are no new lovers introduced. She is even getting engaged for real this time! I so loved that scene, and I am curious to find out how they are going to fix it all.
Nicky, Anita’s lion-Bride, plays a big part in this book, and I really like him. Sure, he is a psychopath and admits it, but Anita is his conscience. And in turn, he tells Anita the truth about what she needs to know, things she has been ignoring. I also loved how Micah presents both Anita and Nathaniel as his lovers, they have been living together for three years now, and they work like that.
The private pieces of Anita’s life were good to read about, I enjoy that a lot, but the plot, the story, the action, that was amazing. Even with this, the 22nd book in the series, it is still fresh and evolving and I can’t wait for the next book.
And for you who want to know, sure there are some hot love scenes in this book, one with Nicky and Nathaniel that went too far for my tastes (don’t try it at home folks!), but a lot less than I am used to in the previous books.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian