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From Barnes & NobleLaurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake
In the early '90s, Laurell Hamilton delighted horror fans and lovers of all things preternatural when she first introduced Anita Blake, vampire hunter extraordinaire. Now this tough-as-nails but highly feminine necromancer is back for her ninth showing in Hamilton's hardcover debut, Obsidian Butterfly, as twisted a tale as any of its predecessors.
Few writers can bring a fictional world to life the way Hamilton does, creating an alternate earth where magic, monsters, and myriad forms of the living dead are as common as cornflakes. And in the wisecracking, thick-skinned, yet sometimes softhearted Anita, Hamilton has created one of the most unique and unforgettable characters ever to walk the pages of fiction.
This time out, Anita revisits an old acquaintance, Edward (a.k.a. Death) the monster hunter, a coldhearted and seemingly soulless killer whose ruthlessness makes Anita look like a pussycat. Edward calls in a favor Anita owes from some time back by asking her to travel to Santa Fe to help him investigate a monster unlike any he's encountered before. Anita readily accepts because although Edward scares her enough that she doesn't want to turn her back on him, she's also intrigued by the man to the point that she can't wait to get a closer look at his life. And his hedging and lack of details regarding the murders pique her interest as well.
Though Anita thinks she is prepared and there is no way Edward can shock her, he proves her dead wrong right at the start. On the heels of this revelation, Anita is shaken even more when she finally learns the details of the murders Edward is involved with. The crime scenes are sites of unbelievable carnage, with bodies that have been violently torn apart limb by limb, their entrails ripped away. But even more horrifying than the dead are those who have been left alive, each of them skinned from head to toe, their tongues ripped away so all they can do is scream.
Edward has brought in a couple of other questionable assistants, two men who challenge Anita in ways she is ill prepared to handle. Throw some misogynistic cops, a bevy of strange and powerful creatures, and plenty of sexual tension into the mix, and Anita finds herself facing some of her biggest challenges ever. Before all is said and done, she will be forced to face some painful truths about herself and confront one of the most evil and powerful monsters in existence.
Obsidian Butterfly is a scintillating journey to a world where the inhabitants are all fascinating, death isn't always final (and far from the worst thing that can happen to you), and unimaginable horrors are terrifyingly real. Hamilton seems to weave a few spells of her own by crafting a powerful story even as the harsh realities make you want to look away. For gourmands of Hamilton's prior works, Obsidian Butterfly provides yet another tantalizing course in this highly fulfilling meal. Those sampling Hamilton for the first time will likely find it the perfect appetizer, an irresistible introduction to a promised feast of delights.