I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
In her ninth adventure, vampire hunter Anita Blake owes a favor to a friend-a man almost as dangerous as the ancient evil she's about to face.
Edward, the empty-eyed sociopath who haunts the outskirts of Anita Blake’s life, is arguably the most interesting character in the Anita Blake series. A man of mystery, obviously dangerous, Anita values his occasional assistance and has a wary respect for him. When Edward calls in a favour that Anita owes him, she knows she has no choice but to go give him a hand.
The actual mystery portion of the book is predictable and rather uninteresting. The reason that I enjoyed this book so much was getting to know Edward and observing the dynamics of the “team” that he has assembled to solve the mystery. Four usually-lone-wolf killers must find a way to co-exist in Edward/Ted’s Santa Fe adobe home for the duration of the operation and it becomes obvious as the book progresses that Anita could be in danger from her fellow team members as well as the usual supernatural crowd.
I find myself debating whether Hamilton did Edward any favours with this installment. Does the knowledge that he has acquired a girlfriend and step-children and that he seems to care for them (at least in his own limited way) weaken him in his role as stone-cold killer and psychopath? Or does it add an unusual dimension to an otherwise stereotypical sociopathic role? One way or the other, Hamilton gives us the even creepier Olaf as contrast and the implied promise at the book’s end that he’ll be back at some point in the future.
Anita must also deal with her own ethical slippage in this adventure, wondering just how much like Edward she has become and if the progression will continue. Can hard cases like Edward be redeemed by love? Is there hope for Anita too?
Perhaps the most enjoyable Anita Blake book (especially since I’m part way into the next one and I’m wondering if I’ll even finish it).