From the Cover: When a vampire serial killer sends Anita Blake a grisly souvenir from Las Vegas, she has to warn Sin City's local authorities what they're dealing with. Only it's worse than she thought. Ten officers and one executioner have been slain - paranormal style. Anita heads to Vegas, where's she's joined by three other federal marshals, including the ruthless Edward. It's a good thing he always has her back, because when she gets close to the bodies, Anita senses 'tiger' too strongly to ignore it. The weretigers are very powerful in Las Vegas, which means the odds of her rubbing someone important the wrong way just got a lot higher.
Anita Blake, zombie animator extraordinaire, has received a special gift from a wicked special admirer, Vittorio, the vampire that escaped his execution in St. Louis. He's a serial killer driven mad by his desires, and now he's focused on Anita. He's sent her the head of the executioner of Las Vegas.
When Anita receives his 'invitation' to come and play in Las Vegas, she knows she must go and she'll need to leave before Jean Claude wakes, he'll never let her face Vittorio by herself. He can't go into Max and Bibiana's territory without permission and that will take too long. But Edward can and does, bringing Bernando and Olaf with him. They've all become legal vampire executioners now, and Olaf really enjoys his job.
Anita is put to the test. She has to control the ardeur, learning to feed it emotions instead of sex. Marmee Noir wants to control her body and soul, and if she can't, she going to try to force Anita into pregnancy and let her soul seep into her child. Marmee Noir must die. Belle Morte has her own plans for Anita, Belle wants Anita to become hers with all her special abilities. Vittorio who Anita finds out is the father of all vampires and in control the evil Djinn has his own agenda. The Day Father (Vittorio) is trying to kill Marmee Noir and take Anita instead. Marmee Noir stripped him of his powers, but he's regaining them.
Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton is Anita Blake starting to get back to her roots. No raising of zombies which I always liked about Anita, her ability to call to the dead, but maybe in the next book. I felt this book was better than the last several books. I know everyone was talking about the 'rape' scene, but I didn't see it. Yes, sex was supposed to have occurred with a sixteen year old weretiger, but it wasn't brought forward in the book in detail of any kind nor was it the most important part of that scene. Anita was being controlled by Vittorio who is a sick freak in his own right. It helps her to realize the different between forced acts and free will. I think it brings a forgiveness to Anita's personality that has been missing from the books. She afraid of become a monster, but her body is conductive for the monsters to possess. There was only three sex scenes in this novel and only two with details (one with Wicked Truth and one with weretigers Crispin and Domino), a lot less that the books after Blue Moon. If you liked LKH's early work, I think you'll like this novel. Edward is the main hero in the book, but there are so many secondary characters in the book, saving Anita in one form or another, that he shares this responsibilities. He's torn between being Ed and being Ted, and one day, he's going to have to deal with his growing conscious especially since his marriage to Donna. I also thought the book was a little long and some of the dialogue, especially the inner monologue, could have been shortened; trimming down the pages. If you haven't read Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, this is not the place to start. Laurell K. Hamilton's complete book list can be found below. Warning: After Blue Moon the books are very explicit. Sexual escapades are contained in all of the novels.
Short Stories involving Anita Blake's world.
* Magic Like Heat Across My Skin (2001)
* Bite -- The Girl Who Was Infatuated With Death (2005)
* Strange Candy (2006)
* Micah and Strange Candy (2007)
* Never After (2009)
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series
* 1 : Guilty Pleasures (1993)
* 2 : Laughing Corpse, the (1994)
* 3 : Circus of the Damned (1995)
* 4 : Lunatic Cafe (1996)
* 5 : Bloody Bones (1996)
* 6 : Killing Dance, the (1997)
* 7 : Burnt Offerings (1998)
* 8 : Blue Moon (1998)
* 9 : Obsidian Butterfly (2000)
* 10 : Narcissus in Chains (2001)
* 11 : Cerulean Sins (2003)
* 12 : Incubus Dreams (2004)
* 13 : Micah (2006)
* 14 : Danse Macabre (2006)
* 15 : Harlequin, the (2007)
* 16 : Blood Noir (2008)
* 17 : Skin Trade (2009)
* 19 : Flirt (February 2010)
Merry Gentry Series
* 1 : A Kiss of Shadows (2000)
* 2 : A Caress of Twilight (2002)
* 3 : Seduced by Moonlight (2004)
* 4 : A Stroke of Midnight (2005)
* 5 : Mistral's Kiss (2006)
* 6 : A Lick of Frost (2007)
* 7 : Swallowing Darkness (2008)
* 8 : Misdemeanors (December 2009)
Laurell K. Hamilton talks about Skin Trade, Book 17