Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley, Jun 2009, $26.95
Amongst the vampire and shifter communities vampire executioner Anita Blake is notorious for her dead count; no one in the profession comes remotely close. However, recently she has had a catharsis of sorts as those she assumed are evil monsters may be the victims of a zealous bias by human society who has fears of the paranormal. Part of her mental revision is who she socializes with, which has led to the Federal Marshal Service no longer trusting her in spite of her record.
However, Anita has no doubts that the serial killing vampire Vittorio who recently left St. Louis deserves death. He has begun taunting her sending her a victim’s head via the post office. She takes up his gauntlet heading to Las Vegas where the package came from to confront him. In town are Federal Marshal Edward and serial killer Olaf; both want Anita. In Sin City, the sheriff wants Anita to leave while others like Crispin the were-tiger and Marmee Noir the creator of the vampire lines have uses for Anita; all hell is converging on Anita.; other supernatural entities have a use for her as well.
SKIN TRADE is the best Blake urban fantasy in several years as the story line is a throwback to the earlier supernatural detective thrillers. Sex is limited instead of dominating and what there is enhances the storyline instead of owning the plot. Fascinatingly except for Edward there is no direct appearance of any other recurring support character as Anita using her brain more than her brawn and struggles with being the foci of the Vegas paranormal community.