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    Review of CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED by Laurell K. Hamilton


    Berkley Books, 1995/April 2004

    Anita Blake has a full time job animating zombies (to serve as witnesses, finalize their estates, or comfort families), but she can't escape her part-time job as paranormal advisor to the police and vampire hunter. When she gets a police call about a murder, she suspects vampires--but the scene of the crime reveals something much worse--multiple vampires attacked. It can only mean one thing--a rogue master vampire and his servants is loose in St. Louis. And a vampire pack requires frequent feedings. Anita knows that the killing will be only the first in a series--unless she can stop it.

    The thing is, a rogue master vampire should be impossible. Jean-Claude is master of the city and no master vampire should be able to enter his domain without his being aware of it. But the invader isn't some weak and fresh corpse--he's the oldest, most powerful, and deadliest vampire Anita has ever faced. And he's intent on ending the current rules that treat vampires as citizens--even though it means he'll have to overthrow Jean-Claude first.

    Anita faces a dilemma. Jean-Claude is gradually turning Anita into his human servant--something she doesn't want despite the sexual feelings she has for Jean-Claude. But does she fear him enough to turn him over to his enemies? Complicating her feelings toward Jean-Claude, Anita meets Richard--a too-good-looking science teacher with a secret and an obvious desire to date Anita. Then there's her fellow vampire killer, Edward who just might have to kill Anita to get at Jean-Claude. The poor girl isn't having much luck with her love life.

    CIRCUS OF THE DAMNED is an early novel in the Anita Blake series. In CIRCUS, the lines between good and evil are faded, but they still exist. Vampires are evil and must be killed. Some can become temporary allies, but they can never be trusted. And Anita dare not put herself in any vampire's power--even if the alternative is her death. Although CIRCUS is sensual, it lacks the outright sexual orientation of more recent Anita Blake stories.

    Author Laurell K. Hamilton (see more reviews of novels by Hamilton) always writes compelling action and CIRCUS shows the young Anita as she battles through waves of vampires, vampire-hating fundamentalists, and snake people. It's exciting and compelling stuff with just enough sexuality to entice the reader and make us wish for more.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 5/08/04

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