Affliction (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series #22)

Affliction (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series #22)

by Laurell K. Hamilton


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425255704
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/02/2013
Series: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series , #22
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA.


St. Louis, Missouri

Date of Birth:

February 19, 1963

Place of Birth:

Heber Springs, Arkansas


B.A., Marion College

Read an Excerpt

My gun was digging into my back, so I shifted forward in my office chair. That was better; now it was just the comforting pressure of the inner-skirt holster, tucked away underneath my short royal blue suit jacket. I’d stopped wearing my shoulder holster except when I was on an active warrant as a U.S. Marshal. When I was working at Animators Inc. and seeing clients, the behind-the-back holster was less likely to flash and make them nervous. You’d think if someone was asking me to raise the dead for them that they’d have better nerves, but guns seemed to scare them a lot more than talking about zombies. It was different once the zombie was raised and they were looking at the walking dead; then suddenly the guns didn’t bother them nearly as much, but until that Halloweenesque moment I tried to keep the weapons out of sight. There was a knock on my office door and Mary, our daytime receptionist, opened it without my saying Come in, which she’d never done in the six years we’d been working together, so I wasn’t grumpy about the interruption. I just looked up from double-checking my client meetings to make sure there wouldn’t be any overlap issues and knew something was up, and knowing Mary it would be important. She was like that.

She’d finally let her hair go gray, but it was still in the same obviously artificial hairdo that it had always been. She’d let herself get a little plump as she neared sixty and had finally embraced glasses full time. The combination of it all had aged her about ten years, but she seemed happy with it, saying, “I’m a grandma; I’m okay with looking like one.” The look on her face was sad and set in sympathetic lines. It was the face she used to deal with grieving families who wanted their loved ones raised from the dead. Having that face aimed at me sped my pulse and tightened my stomach.

I made myself take a deep breath and let it out slow as Mary closed the door behind her and started walking toward my desk. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I didn’t want to tell you over the phone with all the clients listening,” she said.

“Tell me what?” I asked, and fought the urge not to raise my voice. She was about one more uninformative answer away from getting yelled at.

“There’s a woman on line two; she says she’s your future mother-in-law. I told her you weren’t engaged to my knowledge, and she said that she didn’t know what to call herself since you were just living with her son.”

I was actually living with several men, but most of them didn’t have families to use words like son. “Name, Mary, what’s her name?” My voice was rising a little.

“Morgan, Beatrice Morgan.”

I frowned at her. “I’m not living with anyone named Morgan. I’ve never even dated anyone with that last name.”

“I didn’t recognize it from your boyfriends, but she said that the father is hurt, maybe dying, and she thought he’d want to know about his dad before it was too late. The emotion is real, Anita. I’m sorry, maybe she’s crazy, but sometimes people don’t think clearly when their husband is hurt. I didn’t want to just write her off as crazy; I mean, I don’t know the last names of everyone you’re dating.”

I started to tell her to ignore the call, but looking into Mary’s face I couldn’t do it. I’d trusted her to screen callers for years. She had a good feel for distraught versus crazy. “She give a first name for her son?”


I shook my head. “I’ve never dated a Mike Morgan. I don’t know why she called here, but she’s got the wrong Anita Blake.”

Mary nodded, but her expression looked unhappy. “I’ll tell her that you don’t know a Mike Morgan.”

“Do that. She’s either got the wrong Anita Blake, or she’s crazy.”

“She doesn’t sound crazy, just upset.”

“You know that crazy doesn’t mean the emotion isn’t real, Mary. Sometimes the delusion is so real they believe it all.”

Mary nodded again and went out to tell Beatrice Morgan she had the wrong number. I went back to checking the last of my client meetings. I wanted to make sure that no matter how long it took to raise each zombie, I wouldn’t be too late for the next cemetery. Clients tended to get spooked if you left them hanging out in graveyards too long by themselves. At least most of the meetings were historical societies and lawyers checking wills, with the families of the deceased either long dead or not allowed near the zombie until after the will was settled in case just seeing the loved ones influenced the zombie to change its mind about the last will and testament. I wasn’t sure it was possible to sway a zombie that way, but I approved of the new court ruling that families couldn’t see the deceased until after all court matters were cleared up, just in case. Have one billionaire inheritance overturned because of undue influence on a zombie and everybody got all weird about it.

* * *

MARY CAME THROUGH the door without knocking. “Micah. Mike was his nickname as a kid. Morgan is her name from her second marriage. It was Callahan. Micah Callahan’s mother is on line two, and his dad is in the hospital.”

“Shit!” I said, picking up the phone and hitting the button to put the call through. “Mrs. Callahan, I mean, Mrs. Morgan, this is Anita Blake.”

“Oh, thank God, I’m so sorry. I just forgot about the names. I’ve been Beatrice Morgan for eighteen years, since Micah was twelve, and he was Mike to us. He didn’t like Micah when he was a little boy. He thought Mike was more grown up.” She was crying softly, I could hear it in her voice, but her words were clear, well enunciated. It made me wonder what she did for a living, but I didn’t ask. It could wait; it was just one of the thoughts you have when you’re trying not to get caught up in the emotions of a situation. Think, don’t feel, just think.

“You told our receptionist that Micah’s dad was hurt.”

“Yes, Rush, that’s my ex, his father, was attacked by something. His deputy said it was a zombie, but the bite isn’t human, and it’s like he’s infected with something from it.”

“Zombies rarely attack people.”

“I know that!” She yelled it. I heard her taking deep breaths, drawing in her calm. I heard the effort over the phone, could almost feel her gathering herself back. “I’m sorry. When Mike left us he was so horrible, but Rush said he’d found out that Mike did it to protect all of us and that some of the people had their families hurt by these people.”

“What people?” I asked.

“Rush wouldn’t tell me details, said it was a police matter. He was always doing that when we were married, drove me nuts, but he said that he’d found out enough to know that other wereanimals in that group had their families killed, and Mike had to convince them he hated us, or they would have hurt us. Do you know if that’s true? Does Mike want to see his father? Does he want to see any of us?” She was crying again, and just stopped trying to talk. She hadn’t been married to the man for nearly twenty years, and she was still this upset. Crap.

I was remembering that Micah’s dad was a sheriff of some flavor, and now his mom was telling me that somehow the dad had found out more about Micah and his animal group than I thought anyone with a badge, besides me, knew. I’d had to kill people to rescue Micah and his group, and I hadn’t had a warrant of execution, so it was murder. I was a little leery that Sheriff Callahan apparently knew more about it all than I’d thought. I knew that Micah hadn’t talked to his family in years, so how had his dad found out, and how much did he know?

It was my turn to take a deep breath and make myself stop being so damn paranoid and deal with the crying woman on the other end of the phone. “Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. Morgan, how did you know to call here? Who gave you this number?” Maybe if I made her think about something more ordinary she’d calm down.

She sniffled and then said, in a voice that was hiccupy, as she tried to swallow past the emotion, “We saw Mike in the news as the head of the Coalition.”

“The Coalition for Better Understanding between humans and shapeshifters,” I said.

“Yes”—and the word was calmer—“yes, and you were mentioned in several stories as living with him.”

I wondered if the stories had talked about Nathaniel, the guy who lived with us, or the fact that I was also “dating” Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire of St. Louis? I almost never watched the news, so I didn’t always know what was being said in the media about any of us.

“Why didn’t you call the Coalition number and ask for Micah directly?”

“He said really awful things to me last time we spoke, Ms. Blake. I think I’d fall completely apart if he said that again to me with Rush hurt like this. Can you please tell him, and then if Mike wants to see us, to see Rush, before . . . in time . . . I mean . . . Oh, God, I’m usually better than this, but it’s so terrible what’s happening to Rush, so hard to watch.”

“Happening? What do you mean?”

“He’s rotting . . . he’s rotting alive and aware and the doctors can’t stop it. They have drugs that can slow it, but nothing slows it down much.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand. You mean that something preternatural attacked Mr. Callahan and now he’s got some disease?”

“Yes,” she said, almost a breath rather than a word.

“But they’ve seen it before, this disease?”

“Yes, they say it’s the first case outside the East Coast, but they’ve learned enough to slow it down. There’s no cure, though. I overheard a nurse call it the zombie disease, but she got in trouble for saying it. The older nurse said, ‘Don’t give it a name that the media will love.’ I heard doctors whispering that it’s just a matter of time before it hits the news.”

“Why do they call it the zombie disease?” I asked, partly to just give myself time to think.

“You rot from the outside in, so you’re aware the whole time. Apparently it’s incredibly quick, and they’ve only managed to prolong the life of one other person.” Her breath came out in a shudder.

“Mrs. Morgan, there are questions I want to ask, but I’m afraid they’ll upset you more.”

“Ask, just ask,” she said.

I took in a deep breath, let it out slow, and finally said, “You said prolong. For how long?”

“Five days.”

Shit, I thought. Out loud I said, “Give me an address, phone numbers, and I’ll tell Micah.” I started to promise we’d be there, but I couldn’t promise for him. He’d been estranged from his family for about ten years. Just because I’d have gotten on a plane for my semi-estranged family didn’t mean he’d do the same. I took down all the information as if I were sure of his answer.

“Thank you, thank you so much. I knew it was the right thing to do to call another woman. We manage the men so much more than they think, don’t we?”

“Actually Micah manages me more than the other way around.”

“Oh, is it because you’re police like Rush? Is it more about the badge than being a man?”

“I think so,” I said.

“You’ll bring Micah?”

I didn’t want to lie to her, but I wasn’t sure the absolute truth was anything she could handle; she needed something to hang on to, to look forward to while she sat and watched her ex-husband rot while still alive. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, just thinking it was terrible. I couldn’t leave her to watch it with no hope, so I lied.

“Of course,” I said.

“See, I’m right, you just say you’ll bring him. You manage him more than you think.”

“Maybe so, Mrs. Morgan, maybe so.”

She sounded calmer as she said, “Beatrice, Bea, to my friends. Bring my son home, Anita, please.”

What could I say? “I will . . . Bea.”

I hung up, hoping I hadn’t lied to her.


Excerpted from "Affliction"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Laurell K. Hamilton.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels:

“Long before Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series and Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels, [there was] sexy, strong-willed vampire hunter Anita Blake.”—USA Today
“Laurell K. Hamilton is the reigning queen of the urban fantasy world.”—Midwest Book Review

“Hamilton remains one of the most inventive and exciting writers in the paranormal field.”—Charlaine Harris

Customer Reviews

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Affliction 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 352 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been an avid fan of this series for over a decade (that is a scary thought all on its own...but anyway....). I have read and re-read each novel in the series and it is apparent that somewhere along the line Anita lost her way, or should I say Hamilton did. I had tried to stay positive, but after Cerulean Sins, everything just started to go south. By the time I got to Danse Macbre, I was starting to wonder why I should keep reading. I know why. I love this world and the many characters in it. So I trudged along like everyone else. I kept reading. Things got better...things got worse. Things got better....things got worse. Now we come to Kiss the Dead. It was better....but a little (dare I say it?) boring, but at, least it was sex for every single chapter. Now we have Affliction. All I can say is......thank god! We had a case. We have some sex. We had snappy Anita. We had freakin Jean Claude back !! And I think we are finally going to get back the major relationships in Anita's life. (She has so many lovers at this point that I can't keep them straight and honestly.....I really dont care enough about them, to try. ) All I can say is....I only hope things will keep going this way.
Mandi227 More than 1 year ago
Excellent! For those of you who loved the Anita books with a plot that included Anita as a U.S.Marshall and the revisiting of Edward will love this book! The book is nice and long and jam packed with action and adventure.  There is a nice, well-formed plot that just energized the book.  It is a return to the old formula and I am sooooo happy about this fact! Well, it's time to meet Micah's family.  Unfortunately, the circumstances are horrible.  Micah's father lays dying, infected by a new type of flesh eating zombie.  Now he is rotting from the inside and no one knows how to help him.   The specialists (Anita and Edward) have never seen this before and if they do not have the answers, who will?  Who is behind this? What are these new creatures? Will the newly integrated Harlequin guards be a help or a hindrance? I hope that the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series continue in the same vein as this book!   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hamilton was great from the gate, but she wasn't much for stamina. This latest Anita Blake installment is good, but… We had a fast-paced case, we had a bad guy, we had zombies, we had a mystery, we had Jean Claude and all his yummy-ness, we had Edward in all his psychopathic glory (and some new fun toys), and we did not have Richard or Asher. Unfortunately, the resolution of the case was anti-climactic, the bad guy was easily identified and quickly dispatched (albeit confusingly), the mystery disappeared about half way through the story, we didn’t have enough Jean Claude, and despite not having Richard or Asher, we still had shadows of their dramas. Micah’s family was humorously dysfunctional, his aunt and uncle were delightfully offensive and narrow-minded, his mother and the rest of her sisters were hilariously blunt, but most of the familial information seemed forced and hurried, and all of the characters were superficial and lacked any real depth. We also had an unfamiliar police force with which to contend. I usually enjoy Anita’s sharp-tongued banter with law enforcement officers who have unjustified grudges and prejudices, but after 21+ books, the situation has become trite. And if I have to read one more description of someone’s eye color, hair color, or a detailed description of what every single person is wearing, I am going to gouge out my mind’s eye.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was like reading her old books,before they turned into porn . There was sex but it wasn't about the sex. Im so glad this one returned to her old style and im looking forward to her next book already! I
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So disappointing. I'm so tired of reading about how big her breasts are, how Anita doesn't understand that she is the most beautiful woman, that no one understands her families' alternative lifestyle...the same narrative repeated again and again. Its not offensive, its just boring. I had to force myself to finish this book. Save your time and money. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm about 150 pages in and its just been about accepting 3some/bisexual relationships. I don't have problems with this but its all its been about so far. I want Anita Blake vampire hunter or zombie raiser. I always buy the next one hoping for that to happen, but I think I will give up on this series like I did the dark hunter series. Disappointing...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
she's back!!! yes she's back again.... with another cookie cutter book. I stopped buying these books of hers a while back but would barrow them from a friend that wouldnt give up on the series but he never wanted the books back. Told me to just toss it or burn it but dont let any one else suffer from reading it. This book had promise that she had finally decided to WRITE the series again but fell well short. Dont waste your money just re-read the first few books and pretend the rest of the series was a bad dream. This horse is dead. please stop beating it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've kept up with this entire series, but the stories/characters and the true bitterness/anger that has always been Anita; has done nothing but turn me away from my beloved Jean-Claude. The heroine's negative personality and downright bitter treatment to everyone around her has done nothing but turn me away from the writing of L.K. Hamiliton. And its a shame, because Hamiliton is very talented. ....Her bitterness/anger/hatred would seep into me and then into my very real world. That contagious negativity really does transfer into others and so I quit reading them like I used to. If I hadn't read the customer reviews that gave a glimpse of something light and positive, I wouldn't have bought this book. I'm very glad I did. This is the very FIRST book that displays a positive/secure and very affectionate Anita Blake. A character that has taken 20years to evolve...Too long I know, but finally there is light. I think that Hamilton's personality has always been aligned with Anita's. It appears that Hamilton has wiped out her own personal demons and the bright light is now being shown into Anita Blake's life. Maybe discovering yourself takes a while, because some things are hard to let go. Glad to see that positive metamorphosis. And thank you for Jean-Claude!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first found this series I feel in love, I mean I was consumed with the need to read all of them. For a couple years now I have found that most of the books send to much time with everyone telling Anita how great she is, while all other females in the books are seen as stupid and petty. To much time is also spent on Anita Moralizing . I miss the action and new discoveries of the old books. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started my paranormal reading witk Anita's first books. They had plot, sex. romance, the things that made a book a good read. Then they went down hill. The last three books seamed to be nothing but porn. Thanks for coming back. I enjoyed this book. Please keep writting your books, like you did in the beginning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good. I just wish she'd write more Meredith Gentry books.
dsaraceni More than 1 year ago
I was so excited for this release. I have really enjoyed this series. I can't honestly say that I haven't enjoyed every book.....but most of them I have. I was very happy to see most of the key characters here and the story was fantastic. I made myself slow down when reading it because I just didn't want it to end. I was happy with the way the book ended since it left things open to so many possibilities for the future. I loved Affliction and can't wait for the next Anita Blake book!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not since i was first introduced to the series have i been so happy! Fantastic paced story, LKH will have her long time readers screaming and cheering with glee. I could not have asked for a better book to this series. Thank you so much for giving us a wonderful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So happy this book was like LKH's first books. You can really sink your teeth into it. I seen how many pages it was and did a happy dance. Then started reading and was thrilled. Great book. Great characters. And yummy sex scenes!
Jennat333 More than 1 year ago
This used to be one of my favorite series- good characters, interesting plot, and the writing had developed to a point that it wasn't painful to read. Unfortunately, somewhere around book 15 the author decided that a storyline was no longer necessary if she threw in a LOT of sex and a lot of character exposition about feelings. I'm not sure what caused this change because almost all the books have had an interesting storyline DESCRIBED, but the last 7 books that's all you get- descriptions of the storyline. The action is minimal and everything is exposition. This was my last attempt to try and read this series. I am sad to finally have to let it go but until the author makes major changes in her writing, unfortunately this series is dead.
Readit_57 More than 1 year ago
This book was good. It was definitely better than the last two. Ms Hamilton cannot seem to find a balance between constant sex or too little sex. I did enjoy the story line and as usual, will buy her next offering. I am still a loyal fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was the best so far. The author is getting really good about forshadowing in her books and finally nailing down a plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I used to LOVE this character and the author...Now I can barely get through the book. If I wanted soft porn, I would buy soft porn. Where are the days when Anita was kicking butt and taking names? When the story lines were around the actual subject of the book???? Oh Ms. Hamilton, I regret to inform you that I will no longer be following your character, Anita anymore. You've taken a true American female badass and turned her into a madam. As for anyone wanting to actually read this book, it should not take long if you skip the 3-4 chapters per each sexual scene and get down to the actual story line. Cuts the book in half...... Oh I long for the early Anita days. Sadly, time to move on.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to test this theory and its true! I just noticed that my 3 one star reviews that are my true feelings on the book are gone. That is not fair to the public who wants true peoples reviews. I no longer trust anything on here.
Silvercrystal9 More than 1 year ago
At first I was extremely excited about this book because it seemed like she was actually *gasp* going to have a plot with action, witticism, and some of the old Anita...she fell short. I am so bored of the whiny Anita that is beautiful but she doesn't believe it,  everyone thinks she's a slut, she has to prove herself to fellow officers, boo hoo hoo. After a certain point you would think that Hamilton would look up and realize that she has slowly turned a strong female character that was a role model into a simpering stacked sex doll that whines about everything.   She just needs to stop or reevaluate Anita as a character before she writes again. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't generally do these, but I felt compelled to write a review for this book. Like many of Anita's fans, I have been getting more and more disillusioned by Hamilton's seeming to have simply thrown out the formula that hooked us all, and simply exploring her own sexual fantasies chapter after chapter, book after book. I had almost given up. Then I read Kiss the Dead, and well, it was like she tried to go back to telling the Anita story the way that we all enjoyed, but kind of couldn't break free of the bad habits she had fallen into... but it gave me hope. Then I read Affliction, and , WOW, she is back! This was a true to form, old school, Anita Blake book! The case stayed the focus, the relationships enhanced the story, she used her Necromancy, and the sex was intense but brief. BRAVO, Hamilton, Bravo. Welcome back! Please... PLEASE, keep it up, and stick to writing these stories in this style.. It is why we have come to love the characters and buy your books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book  is awful and a mess. The author tried for a plot but it escaped her. The book should of never been published until the grammar issues were fixed, she even put the wrong name at some parts. Anita is hateful towatds almost everyone except those willing to end  up in her bed. These books are no longer paranormal, horror, or urban fantasy just badly written porn. False advertising. This book is just a cess pool of the author' s fantasies using her books to live them. Time for these books to end. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All i can say is wow. The anniversary book for the series kicked ass. She came hard with this book, and we got a little of everything. And the book is huge. I loved it. I highly recommend for the real Anita fans, not the haters. Any loyal fan sticks by their favorite author and sometimes books are not as great as another, but this is one of the greats.. Can't wait for the next one. Thanks Mama
offtofindthebasket More than 1 year ago
I have never been a fan of the supernatural, but I was desperate to read something and this was all there was. I was surprised how much I liked it. It was such good fun. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hamilton, you did great...ignore all of the prudish porn comments, we do! If they can't handle the sex maybe they should start reading Amish titles! Ha! Ha! You go girl...keep 'em coming in all ways!