Review: Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton

Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Title: Dead Ice (An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novel, #24)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Headlines (4th June 2015)
Blurb:

MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE AND I HAVE THE HIGHEST KILL COUNT OF ANY VAMPIRE EXECUTIONER IN THE COUNTRY.

I’m a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since master vampire Jean-Claude and I went public with out engagement, all I am to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.

It’s wreaking havoc with my reputation as a hard ass – to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, I’m still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. I’ve seen my share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother me. But the women being victimised aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signalling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And my own soul may not survive unscathed . . .

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

DEAD ICE is the twenty-fourth instalment of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels. Anita is dealing with the chauvinistic attitudes of those around her, since her engagement to Jean-Claude. This book also has Anita trying to track down someone who is raising zombies for porn, as well as the return of characters we haven’t seen on the page in a while.

DEAD ICE was an enjoyable read, though if you are looking for this book to be more plot than relationship focused then you’re out of luck. Most of this book is about Anita and her fellas trying to find a balance because things have changed. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the focus on the relationships – though, I have to confess that I reached about three-quarters of the way through and I was beginning to worry what was going on with the mystery plot.

The relationship dynamics in the book are as interesting as always, it was nice to see Anita so comfortable with Jean-Claude thinking back to how they were at the beginning of the series. Hamilton provided some interesting new (and old) twists on the relationship dynamics, and I’m really hoping one will pan out the way I’d like as I think it has been a while coming – alas, I will probably have to wait at least another year to see.

There is a lot going on in terms of relationship dynamics in this book, and I really enjoyed watching all the different threads unfold. I particularly enjoyed the scene at the beginning of the book (which was printed at the end of AFFLICTION [review]) where Anita is with Sergeant Zerbrowski as I think Hamilton writes the friendship/work colleague relationship the two have brilliantly. There were a few other scenes that I think Hamilton wrote skilfully, but as I don’t want to give away spoilers I cannot go into detail – or give hints. Sorry. But I also cannot leave them unremarked upon, and this is the best I can do.

The mystery of the book was very intriguing, and I wish it could have existed more on the page. I understand that because of the subject matter – aware zombie porn – that it would be quite difficult to do for a variety of reasons, not least that Anita is dealing with the case through the FBI. But I’d have liked a bit more background on what was going on. A few more hints as to who the bad guy/gal was, maybe. Having said that though, I did enjoy the big reveal. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting.

The ending of DEAD ICE was nicely done; Hamilton draws the line through the mystery of this book, but leaves the ending open enough that I am dying to get my hands on the next book which she hasn’t even started yet. Such is the joy of keeping up to date with a series that is still being written. But at least Hamilton adds to her series annually, and I cannot thank her enough for that!

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