Skin Trade (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #17)Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d never thought I’d say this, but it’s nice to see Anita return to her investigative roots in Skin Trade. For awhile now, it seems that aside from sex, the past few books have been extended therapy sessions.

This book shares a lot of similarities with Obsidian Butterfly in that after receiving a relatively fresh human head in the mail from Vittorio, Anita has to leave St Louis and travel to Las Vegas where she meets up with Edward, Bernardo and one of my reasons for not giving this story a higher mark; the serial killer, Olaf.

The story is a relatively simple one in that the head belonged to Vegas’ local vampire hunter who was killed along with a SWAT team. Whilst the MO differs from Vittorio’s usual style of killing exotic dancers and the fact that it took place during the day, the question is not who, but how.

The added complication, if the case wasn’t already enough is that as part of the investigation, Anita and company have to visit the local Master of the City; Max and his wife Bibiana, the queen (or ‘Chang’) of the local were-tiger population but in doing so, Anita finds herself being rolled by the queen.

The fact that Anita’s inner beasts contain all the tiger colours, given to her by the Mother of all Darkness who own beast is a cat, it’s not long until the maths add up and mommy dearest makes an appearance.

However, it’s not all straightforward when it’s revealed that Vittorio is not who he says he is.

There is a little sex in this book, but they are little scenes without much emotional garbage thrown in. And because it doesn’t take place in St. Louis, most of the regular cast aren’t in this book or make very fleeting cameo appearances or just get mentioned. Yep. That means no whining from Richard!

I enjoyed this book and I liked the multiple meanings to the title of Skin Trade. Only the appearance of Olaf ruined it for me as did the question of whether Anita will shift or not which remains unanswered.

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