Anita Blake is about to face the challenge of her life. Into her world-a world already overflowing with power-have come creatures so feared that powerful, centuries-old vampires refuse to mention their names. It is forbidden to speak of The Harlequin unless you've been contacted. And to be contacted by The Harlequin is to be under sentence of death.
Long-time rivals for Anita's affections, Jean-Claude, Master Vampire of the City, and Richard, alpha-werewolf, will need to become allies. Shapeshifters Nathaniel and Micah will have to step up their support. And then there's Edward. In this situation, Anita knows that she needs to call the one man who has always been there for her...
I thought that this was the last Anita book I had bought in that bulk sale but there is one more after this for me to review. This was a book that I mostly liked.
Malcolm is worried that two of his vampires have been set up for murder and fears Anita's retribution, telling her that his church has been invaded by a powerful vampire. Anita has her own worries when a white mask is delivered to her by The Harlequin, telling her that Jean Claude's family are being observed by these enforcers who can order their deaths. Seeing how afraid Jean Claude is makes Anita nervous and she calls on Edward.
Ok the good things! I liked the idea of The Harlequin and the coloured masks-white for observation, red for pain and black for death. They are influencing the behaviour of people Anita trusts, inflicting pain on her without delivering the red mask. In other words, causing chaos for her. Edward is back! Yay! I love it when Edward is in town because the books he features in are usually better plots. This time he brings Peter with him which opens up a few new possibilites for where the story will lead.
Richard is being a dick (shock, horror!), insisting that if Anita leaves Jean Claude, the ardeur will fade and he can have his HEA. He is picking fights with everyone and is furious to find that Rafael wants a wererat to have a place in Anita's harem to show that they are important allies, not just bodyguards. Richard is determined to make Anita his and the method he chooses to force her is quite shocking. I really do hate the guy. The only one who can hold a candle to his asshatness is Dolph who I used to like. Why is it his business what Anita does anyway?
Richard's behaviour could have consequences when the team all need to unite mentally and physically to fight The Harlequin. Anyone could betray them at any time and Richard's doubts and hates could be crucial to the enemy. This time, Anita and her friends cannot let him derail their unity and I liked this development.
I liked a lot of the tension in this book, as they tried to stand up to The Harlequin and deal with each disaster and betrayal. I liked the storyline with Peter which I would like to see more of as I enjoy seeing that family man side to Edward. It's always fun to see who is trying to kill Anita next!
If all the books had this kind of engaging plot then I could ignore the things that I find annoying about the series and read on after the next book.