Twelfth entry and fourth hardcover in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series.
Vampires now have rights and restrictions. But it’s amazing how so many humans survive in an alternate-world St. Louis, what with all the vamp packs, wereleopards, werewolves, the lone werefox, and animated zombies bleeding folks dry or ripping up bodies. Supernatural serial killers have become Blake’s stock-in-trade (Seduced by Moonlight, 2003, etc.) while she tries to straighten out her romantic sex life (when she’s not celibate). Sexy Anita has three otherworldly boyfriends, since Richard Zeeman, the Wolf-King to whom she was engaged, dumped her because she’s homier with monsters than he. She and Micah Callahan are Queen and King of the wereleopards, though she’s more consort than wife until the climactic sex scene. Strippers are being murdered by rogue vamps while Anita suffers endlessly from her complicated love life, chastely sleeping with handsome 20-year-old Nathaniel, her pomme de sang, while fighting off her ardeur, or beastly libido. Under the ardeur when her beloved Master Vampire, Jean-Claude, feeds, she tastes the blood, and when Richard brings down a deer, its meat slides down her throat. The ardeur also leads to plenty of hot sex, all steam and mind-pumping passion, but often leading to metaphysical whammies. Heading the killer pack is older Vittorio, who is strong enough to hide his acts from the Church of Eternal Rest and even from the Master of the City, ex-lover Jean-Claude.
At this length, Hamilton goes really big time. But between spells of grisly melodrama and enjoyable monsterology, the main device here is that irritable Anita gets along with nobody and bitches at great length with everyone she meets, at times for whole chapters of filler—and it’s not even midlife crisis.