cover image Dead Ice

Dead Ice

Laurell K. Hamilton. Berkley, $27.95 (576p) ISBN 978-0-425-25571-1

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%E2%80%94both in and out of the bedroom%E2%80%94of 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-m%C3%A9nage 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%E2%80%94and everyone%E2%80%94else. 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. (June)