cover image The Damned: A Vampire Huntress Legend

The Damned: A Vampire Huntress Legend

L. A. Banks, . . St. Martin's Griffin, $14.95 (487pp) ISBN 978-0-312-33624-0

All hell breaks loose—literally—in the complex sixth installment of Banks's scorchingly hot-blooded vampire series (after 2005's The Forbidden ). Banks gets down with her multicultural cast, as deeply concerned with their relationships as she is with their sacred mission: to vanquish evil and keep hell in hell and not messing with earth folks. The intimacy issues of her African-American diva heroine, Damali, with Carlos, a former vamp, can be as involving as the multilayered plot. At times, though, Damali's brooding over Carlos slows the pace. Thankfully, the action picks up once Carlos sets out to retrieve The Book of the Damned before the big war kicks off to free the lost souls who've escaped from hell, thanks to the evil Lilith, to infect humans and turn them into demons. The stunning climax shows that trying to shut hell's gates can be righteous. (Feb.)