Blood Noir
Blue Moon
Burnt Offerings
Divine Misdemeanors

 
Flirt
by Laurell K. Hamilton
(Berkley, $23.95, R) ISBN 978-0-425-23567-6
****
Despite the not-so-great reviews Flirt got in a lot of other places, I —a bit of a disgruntled Hamilton fan —found it entirely entertaining. Anita's finally back doing the things that Anita does best: controlling the dead, thinking on her feet, and damning the consequences.

After turning away a couple of grumpy customers, Anita goes to lunch with three of her boyfriends to work off her bad mood. The next day when she goes to the same place, she runs into two very strong werelions - who are carrying pictures of the meal she'd shared with her sweeties. They also have photos of Micah, Nathaniel, and Jason from that very morning. Anita is told by the lions that she must come with them or snipers will kill her boyfriends - and, once her vampire lovers surface for the night, they will be taken out as well.

Stuck in a way she hasn't been before —Anita likes to take out her frustrations violently, but the threat against her lovers prevents that— she's got to use her wiles in ways readers haven't seen since the first handful of vampire hunter novels.

The face behind the money for the hired assassins turns out to be one of her disgruntled would-be clients. The man had insisted that Anita raise his dead wife to the point where she would simply become the walking dead. At that point, he wanted Anita to have Jean-Claude make a vampire out of the woman. Anita had told him it was not only something she wouldn't do; she simply couldn't. For one thing, a zombie is only a living dead for so long. For another, they aren't alive so they cannot be made into vampires. Apparently the man wasn't taking no for an answer.

Of course, given Anita's (or Laurell's) penchant for sex, she uses the ardeur against the two male lions, drawing her own as-of-yet-unmated lion to the forefront. For once, Anita uses the power to her advantage, even though she struggles with the lack of choice it leaves the other person (even if he has kidnapped her and threatened the lives of her loved ones). She also draws on her biggest power, the power over the dead. Now, though, cut off from her usual support web and unsure of her own metaphysical and moral footing, Anita strikes off on her own for the first time in a long time – but will she be able to save the men she loves all by herself?

It was wonderful to see Anita back on her own, even if it did freak her out a bit before she got herself back together. Her necromancy is something that is largely forgotten anymore, even though that's how Anita got to be who she is and where she is in her life. Another very nice thing about this book was the lack of sex scenes - I like a good one just as much as the next girl, but fourteen in the space of thirty-six hours or whatever seems a little much.

Anita's starting to get a better grip on herself as an individual again, not just as a part of a whole. Or several wholes. Hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come in a series that is fraying around the edges, if not outright unraveling.

--Sarrah Knight


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