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Dead Ice

Cover of Dead Ice

Dead Ice

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series, Book 24
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Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She's a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude's fiancée.
It's wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she's still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.
Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn't bother her. But the women being victimized aren't just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.
It's the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita's own soul may not survive unscathed . . .
From the Hardcover edition.
Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She's a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude's fiancée.
It's wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she's still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.
Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn't bother her. But the women being victimized aren't just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.
It's the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita's own soul may not survive unscathed . . .
From the Hardcover edition.
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    Chapter 1


    "So, you're engaged," Special Agent Brenda Manning said. She wore a black pantsuit with a heavy belt that could wrap around her waist and hold the gun at her side. She was FBI and didn't have to worry about concealed carry, so the fact that her gun flashed when her suit jacket flared out, which was every time she moved, wasn't an issue. The gun looked very stark against her white button-down shirt.

    "Yep," I said. My own gun was at the small of my back, underneath a suit jacket made to hide the gun from the clients at my other job. I'd also started getting belt loops added to my skirts so I could wear a belt that could stand up to the weight of a gun and holster. I'd come straight from Animators Inc., where the motto was, "Where the Living Raise the Dead for a Killing." Bert, our business manager, didn't believe in hiding the fact that raising the dead was a rare talent, and you paid for talent. But lately my job as a U.S. Marshal for the Preternatural Branch had been taking more and more of my time. Like today.

    The other very special agent, Mark Brent, tall, thin, and looking barely old enough to be out of college, was bent over the portable computer they'd brought with them, which was sitting on the room's only desk. He was dressed in a suit almost identical to Manning's except his was brown to match his holster, but his gun was still a black bump, stark against his white shirt. We were in the office of our head honcho, Lieutenant Rudolph Storr. Dolph was currently somewhere else, which left me alone with the FBI and Sergeant Zerbrowski. I wasn't sure which was more dangerous to my peace of mind, but I knew Zerbrowski would mouth off more. He was my partner, my friend, he was entitled. I'd just met Special Agent Manning, and I didn't owe her my life story.

    "The article I read made the proposal sound amazing, like something out of a fairy tale," Manning said. She smoothed her shoulder-length hair back behind one ear and it stayed put, because it was straight as a board. My own curls would never have behaved that well.

    I fought the urge to sigh. If you're a cop and a woman, never date a celebrity; it ruins your reputation for being a hardass. I was a U.S. Marshal, but ever since we'd gone public with our engagement I'd become Jean-Claude's fiancée, not Marshal Blake, to most of the women I met, and a lot of the men. I'd really had hopes that the FBI would be above such things in the middle of crime-fighting, but apparently not.

    The real problem for me was that the story we told publicly was both true and a lie. Jean-Claude had done the big gesture, but only after he'd proposed in the middle of shower sex. It had been spontaneous and wonderful and messy, and very real. I'd said yes, which had surprised him, and me. I'd figured I just wasn't the marrying kind of girl. He'd told me then that we'd need to do something to live up to his reputation for the media and the other vampires. They expected their king/president to have a certain flair, and the real proposal was too mundane. I hadn't understood that flair would include a horse-drawn carriage—yeah, you heard me; he'd actually picked me up in a freaking horse-drawn carriage. If I hadn't already said yes, and loved him to pieces, I'd have told him not only no, but hell no. Only true love had gotten me to play along with a proposal so grand that trying to imagine a wedding that topped it sort of scared me.

    "Oh, yeah, Anita is all into that princess stuff, aren't you, Anita?" Zerbrowski called from the chair he was half-tipping against the wall. He looked like he'd slept in his suit, complete with a stain on his crooked tie. I knew he'd left his home...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 7, 2015
    Twenty-three books into Hamilton's venerable Anita Blake urban fantasy series, Anita remains the poster child for paranormal polyamory. Much of this installment is given over to the convoluted politics—both in and out of the bedroom—of her extended coterie of friends, lovers, and friends' lovers. While she's engaged to vampire king Jean-Claude, she still has time to consider adding a weretiger to her stable of studs to satisfy a prophecy, look for a female participant for the mega-ménage to make some of the men happy, and beat down anyone who gives her trouble. Meanwhile, she's investigating a case of zombie porn for the FBI, a subplot that feels almost perfunctory given how easily she's distracted by everything—and everyone—else. Anita's continuing power creep is in full display as she manages to raise an impossibly lifelike zombie, an act that comes with its own worrisome consequences. The combination of soap opera dramatics, sexual politics, and erotic scenarios makes this an entertaining entry in Anita's ongoing journey, though one really needs a diagram of current, former, and potential connections to appreciate the full level of complication. Hamilton knows what keeps her fans happy, and this is bound to please them. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House.

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Dead Ice
Dead Ice
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series, Book 24
Laurell K. Hamilton
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