cover image THE HUNTED: A Vampire Huntress Legend

THE HUNTED: A Vampire Huntress Legend

L. A. Banks, . . St. Martin's Griffin, $14.95 (512pp) ISBN 978-0-312-32030-0

In Banks's third overheated hip-hop vampire thriller (after Minion and The Awakening ), Damali Richards, a vampire huntress (or "Neteru"), reconnects with her vampire lover Carlos Rivera, whom she thought was killed in the previous novel but who's now serving a penance for his vampiric misdeeds within a modern-day Knights Templar stronghold. In Brazil, where were-creatures have been terrorizing a portion of the rain forest, Damali and Carlos encounter a female vampire possessed, via were-cat infection and flesh-eating, by the bitter memories of a 500-year-old Neteru who lost her life to raping and pillaging conquistadors. Carlos is tempted by the female vampire's offer of joint rule, and Damali must battle to stop an alliance between renegade vampires and demons that promises catastrophe for were-demons, vampires and humans alike. The hip-hop turn to the book's prose alleviates the tedium of a stock genre plot, while the well-conceived and intricate rules of Banks's vampire-inhabited world provide endless opportunities for riffs on the meaning of power and sex that will please lovers of similar purplish philosophical musings found in the vampire tales of Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton. Agent, Manie Barron. 4-city author tour. (June 1)