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Dead Ice is the 24th book in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series of horror/mystery/erotica novels by Laurell K. Hamilton.


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…


FBI Agents Brenda Manning and Mark Brent have come seeking Anita's help in a zombie porn case where the souls have been put back into the corpses, but as usual, they first have to hash out Anita's engagement and whether she's the kind of person FBI wants to work with. Anita isn't amused, although she's used to it, and at least she has Zerbrowski as her partner along to the ride. Surprisingly enough, Agent Larry Kirkland has been one of the people who recommended seeking Anita's help.

Anita knows only one person who had the ability to put souls back to zombies, Dominga Salvador, and because she's very much dead they don't have any leads that Anita can share with the FBI. She escapes with the convenient and true excuse of needing to try out rings with Jean-Claude, and leaves Manny Rodriguez a message to call her back.

When Anita gets to the manager's office at the Circus of the Damned, Jean-Claude and Irene, the day jeweler and the human servant of the night jeweler, Melchior, are already waiting. Jean-Claude ends up using a bit of his seductive powers on Irene when her unfulfilled desires call to him, and as a result Melchior takes over Irene's body and tries to affect them in turn. The situation goes downhill when Melchior is dismissive of both Irene's desires and Anita in general, and escalates into Anita threatening to break the connection between Melchior and Irene if she so wishes, which Melchior finally takes seriously.

After some persuasion, Melchior is convinced that he has been in love with Irene all along and needs to talk her about it, and Jean-Claude and Anita don't need to find a new jeweler, although Melchior insists on starting the designs anew since he didn't understand love properly before. When Irene gets her body back she doesn't remember a thing and is a bit confused when told that Melchior has new plans, but accepts the news without an issue, having a complete trust in his master's vision. When Anita and Jean-Claude discuss what happened after Irene has left, they aren't certain they didn't just make Melchior fall in love with Irene, although Jean-Claude thinks it likely that Melchior really did love Irene from the beginning.

As the meeting with Irene ran shorter than expected, and Anita still has an hour before her scheduled zombie raising of the night, they have some time to enjoy each other. The manager's office has a half bath in the back, allowing them to clean up afterwards, and somehow all of this takes little enough time that when Micah calls her she still has forty five minutes left before she needs to start driving towards the cemetery that isn't right next door. We may perhaps assume that the plans for these scenes changed during the writing and the inconsistency got overlooked in the editing.

Micah has already climbed the bazillion steps from the living areas after Lisandro alerted him that the meeting ran short, so Micah comes to meet Anita and Jean-Claude in the office. Micah has tried to find a spot for discussion for days now, because they have a problem with the commitment ceremony he's planning with Anita and Nathaniel to accompany her marriage to Jean-Claude. The other members of their poly group have found out about the ceremony, and don't want to be excluded. All four of them would be willing to add one person to the ceremony, but their opinions on who that person should be varies wildly, and none of them are willing to marry them all, no matter how legally non-binding it is.

It's unclear which of their lovers are actually pushing to be included, but Micah has got the clan tigers to agree to back off if one of them gets included. Micah's first choice for that tiger is Cynric, which Anita disagrees with almost violently, and when they poke the issue further she realizes she is still unconsciously punishing both Domino and Crispin for the ardeur-filled orgy that the Father of the Day forced on them all inspired by the Mother of All Darkness. After some further prompting Anita realizes she has an especially big blind spot when it comes to Cynric, who was also present at the orgy as a sixteen-year-old virgin.

These revelations make Anita shaky enough that she agrees to let someone drive her to the cemetery, and Micah and Jean-Claude pick Nathaniel for the duty, because they know admitting weakness annoys Anita enough that she would pick a fight with anyone else. As it is, Anita doesn't say anything for a good while into the journey, just to stop herself from doing so with Nathaniel. When they do get talking they get into Nathaniel's personal history, and he shares some almost-positive memories of his stepfather and his time under the rule of Gabriel before Anita took over the pard.

Manny finally calls Anita back, and he's horrified to hear someone has figured out Dominga Salvadore's trick with the souls, but can't think of anyone who she might have taught or who would be willing to speak to him now after he led the police to the Señora's doorstep. He promises to think on it, and then gives way to his wife Rosita, who chats for a moment with Anita about the upcoming weddings for Anita and Manny's daughter Connie both. After the call ends, Nathaniel confesses he'd also like to be treated like a girl and get a grand gesture like Jean-Claude's public proposal, and also would like to get a kid, although he drops that issue in favor of talking about them all being pressured to add someone else to marry.

Nathaniel's choice for the other person would be Cynric or Nicky for the sake of domestic bliss, as they already do that well together, but as a romantic partner Nathaniel would pick Dev or give a shot for the female weretigers beyond Jade. This is the first time Anita hears everything isn't birdsong and roses in Dev's relationship with Asher again, and that it's Kane who is causing the issues this time. Anita agrees to look at more tigers just to avoid having to tell Nathaniel about her revelation about Cynric yet -- even the female ones, which surprises Nathaniel enough that he drives past the cemetery entrance.

After they get parked, Nicky comes for a covert kiss and to tell Anita that one of the customers is having issues with the sacrificial cow. They waste a lot of time arguing the issue, but in the end Mrs. Willis doesn't want to keep an illegal pet cow and goes to sit in the car for the duration instead. Mr. MacDougal chooses to become the person Anita gives the control of the zombie to, and Nicky helps her with the sacrificial cow and walking the circle with the big bowl.

Something is unusual in the raising from the beginning. The cow is too large of a sacrifice with Anita's growing powers over the dead, and Mr. MacDougal turns out to be psychic enough to feel ghosts, but Anita goes forward with the raising regardless after some debate. The zombie turns out to be almost unnervingly life-like, and doesn't need blood to speak. The historical society is very satisfied.

When they reach the Circus of the Damned, they have to deal with some interpersonal issues before attending a mixer that has been hastily set up for the purpose of Anita to meet the weretigers. She's met them all before, of course, but now she's supposed to be shopping for a tiger to add to their commitment ceremony. However, Anita's heart isn't really in the task, and they stumble into a metaphysical curiosity before long when Anita and Micah try to comfort broken-hearted Dev. When they all touch each other, power rises into a current between the three and their beasts pass through all of them.

There's an interaction between Dev and his cousin Thorn, and Dev gets hurt. Anita pays it back, but the mixer is well and truly interrupted, and Dev needs food to have energy to heal. While the food is being prepared, Micah takes an opportunity to have a private meeting with Anita, Jean-Claude, and the tigers present who have pre-existing metaphysical ties to Anita. They take the opportunity to talk some more about Dev's relationship issues and the necessity for Anita to pick a tiger to marry, but what they really want to do is to try the power exchange between Anita, Micah, and Dev again. It works instantly, and this time Dev tries to pick one of Anita's beasts to transfer into. He manages to transform into a huge lionman, and Micah can't resist but follow the example into a black tigerman in turn.

Encouraged by the new power he can bring to the table, Dev starts seriously campaigning to become the tiger to be included in the commitment ceremony, both for himself and to hit back at Asher where it hurts. Micah and Jean-Claude are impressed enough that they are amenable to giving it a shot, and Dev shoots down Anita's suggestion that they might already have the power without deepening the relationship. He doesn't want to be just on the edges of someone's life, but a genuine attempt to make it work. He accepts that it might not work, but if so, it won't be for lack of trying. Anita agrees, realizing that Micah's Coalition visits across the country have been more dangerous than she's thought, and that this might be the key to keeping Micah safe.

Anita goes to take a shower to wash off the shapeshifter goop from Dev and Micah's transformations, and finds injured Rafael in the showers. He's been in a challenge fight, where the opponent cheated and brought a weapon into the mix, leaving him with a deep puncture wound in the back that isn't healing. He believes this is a mark that he's becoming too old and frail to continue as the rat king, but Anita thinks there's something wrong with the wound that goes further than that. Rafael won't allow a healer to see him, but agrees to Micah giving it a look. Micah comes in, and finds silver nitrate in the wound, proving that the healer who fished the broken blade tip from the wound was in on the plot to kill Rafael. Since he's still alive, this proves Rafael's strength rather than weakness, and he accepts medical treatment after starting the wheels rolling for dealing with the treacherous healer.

Once that's dealt with, Manny calls to let Anita know that the GPS surveillance they have on the zombie places it currently into a restaurant. Anita calls the historical society representative, MacDougal, who has the control of the zombie, and is alarmed to hear that it is hungry and eating. She tells them to enjoy themselves and to treat the zombie to a full course, and then hurries to get to the scene herself, picking Manny up on the way, because there's only one hunger either of them has ever seen on a zombie, and it's for human flesh instead of food. Nicky and Domino come along as Anita's bodyguards.

The historical society and the zombie are still at the restaurant when they arrive, and Manny can't even tell which one is the zombie until they shake hands. Anita manages to talk MacDougal and the zombie outside for a private word, even if they insist on also bringing a man with a video recorder and a woman called Justine who hangs on the zombie's arm like she's in love. None of them are willing to treat the zombie as just another zombie, and refuse to understand why it shouldn't be allowed into a restaurant until it throws up everything it has eaten, at which point MacDougal has to admit it would have been bad to have that happen while they were still inside.

It's the zombie, Warrington, who finally accepts that he won't be able to keep this second chance at life and will rot eventually. When he admits to being ravenous again, Anita and Manny insist on putting him back to grave that same night, not the following one as originally planned. They explain that only human flesh will cure that hunger, and Warrington admits to Anita in private that he has already eaten that when he was still alive and trapped in the mountains by a blizzard. Anita tells him that's probably why he's craving flesh now, and he agrees to getting put back that night, but asks for an hour of privacy with Justine first.

Anita, Manny, Domino, and Nicky debate together which is worse, to let Justine have her hour with Warrington or to put him back immediately. In the end they decide that Justine is old enough to make that decision herself, but again it's Warrington who decides it's not fair to leave her haunted like that. He asks Anita to prove to Justine that he's a zombie, and Justine in turn argues that Warrington gets warmer every time they kiss. She demonstrates, and now that Anita's necromancy is active she can 'see' energy flaring between them when they kiss. It happens again, although on a smaller scale when he shakes hands with MacDougal. Anita is still able to call Warrington to her, though, and when Justine touches him again when he's already holding hands with Anita, she gets her own share of the power flare. She starts accidentally draining Justine of her life, and she faints when Anita lets go of Warrington.

Warrington is horrified that his touch helped to harm the woman he loves, and agrees to be put back immediately, thinking that the sex he already had with Justine is a big reason for her collapse. By the time they get to the cemetery he's becoming increasingly hungry, though, and when the grave swallows him again he doesn't go quietly but is screaming to be fed. Anita can't leave him there with the possibility of him being still aware and ravenous, so he gets Zerbrowski to call in a favour and arrange exhumation of the grave immediately. They get an exhumation crew and an extermination crew both onsite, and dig up Warrington again. When they do, he has started to rot, but is still aware, and relieved to be rescued.

They are still debating what to do with Warrington when they are attacked by ghouls, one of which jumps one of the exterminators, Eddie. They don't behave like ghouls usually do, and Anita uses her necromancy to try to find whoever set the ghouls on them. She doesn't succeed, but she does get the control of the ghouls to herself, and manages to command them off Eddie and into a mausoleum safe from sunlight. By that point she's feeling strangely protective of the ghouls, but settles on delaying their execution until the exterminators can get paid for it.

In the meantime the zombie is still hungry and rapidly losing its memories and personality. It manages to free itself from the grave and attack at the moment of sunrise, at which point Anita's team opens fire and has the exterminators burn it to ashes. She decides to treat it like a vampire and scatter the ashes in three different bodies of running water. When she's taking the first portion to a stream down the slope, Domino, who was shaken by the zombie assault, starts a fight with Nicky, who finishes it in the werelion fashion. Domino is badly hurt, but Anita manages to bring his beast with some metaphysical help from Richard through their marks.

On their way back Anita calls Manning and offers to watch the zombie videos again with her necromancy active. She suggests Manny as a second pair of eyes, but Manning shoots it down thanks to his past with Dominga Salvador. Manning insists on using Larry instead, despite Anita's protests. She makes Manning promise they'll have a supervising agent along to keep Larry and Anita from coming to blows, but that's all the concessions Manning is willing to make.

After dropping Manny off at Animators Inc. Anita and Nicky take Domino back to the Circus of the Damned. They meet Cynric outside and he makes Anita promise to attend his senior awards ceremony as his girlfriend later that day if she possibly can. Then he has to head to class and Micah calls Anita downstairs to help to try to heal Rafael. She has to clean up first, though, so she heads to the group showers, forgetting it's one of the busiest times of a day for them. She braves the hordes of men along with a new female wererat guard, and has to take a new male werewolf guard down a notch almost immediately. Then she runs into Kane after her shower, and learns he's become Asher's hyena to call. Kane is strutting his newfound social power, and Anita gets her second meal of rage in a row, leaving him lying on the bathroom floor.

Helping Rafael to heal doesn't go quite as planned. Micah tries calling flesh, and Anita feeds her ardeur, but along the way Micah slips again into his new tiger form and hasn't quite as good control over it as over his leopard form. His claws bite into Anita's shoulders, deep enough that she needs patching up herself afterwards, and the healing attempts seem to be of no benefit to Raphael, possibly because neither Anita nor Micah has metaphysical ties to rats.

Anita gets a pair of werelions as bedfellows to help her heal, but when she wakes up it's to find Narcissus himself in bed with her, along with a Harlequin werehyena. Narcissus sends Seamus away and tries to talk Anita into deepening the ties between Narcissus and Anita in exchange for not killing Asher for the insult of choosing a weak hyena for the position Narcissus himself had wanted. Anita and Narcissus aren't attracted to each other, but they are about to give sex a try when Jean-Claude arrives and eventually reminds Anita that Asher being an idiot really isn't a good enough reason to tie herself permanently to someone she doesn't even like. Narcissus tries to blackmail himself into power instead, and Jean-Claude has him locked up.

Anita goes to watch the zombie videos with Larry, and they end up making a truce. Their babysitter agent, Gillingham, tries to read Anita's powers while she's trying to work, though, and messes with her concentration. Anita calls her on it and gets her to stop, and manages to get enough out of the recordings that Manning and Brent want Anita on the next live viewing the perps arrange.

When Anita gets back to the Circus of the Damned she again meets Cynric outside, this time angry, but it turns out to be aimed at Asher instead of Anita missing the awards ceremony. Cynric takes Anita to a confrontation with Asher, where even Richard is present to support Jean-Claude's power play. In the end they manage to hit it through to Asher, as well as he's capable of understanding it, that this time he's gone too far and the next step is death if he doesn't work on his issues. He apologizes for his other lovers, but treats Dev dismissively, which prompts Nathaniel to welcome Dev into their bed with open arms. After that, Echo, Fortune and Magda step forward to volunteer to be included as well, and they all turn out to have potential, and Anita even manages to solve one of the interpersonal issues from earlier, but then Manning calls Anita back to the station.

They watch a live presentation, and Anita manages to steal the control of the zombie enough that she manages to give them clues to where to find them. Three days later they are at the location, and have catched a lot of the film crew, but the main perpetrator has escaped, taking along a zombie that seems to be special for him. The agent in charge of the operation doesn't want more help from Anita, and sends her back home.

On her way from the airport Manny calls Anita for a favour, to pick up his daughter Connie and son Tomas from a bridal shop. They are nowhere to be found when Anita gets there, though, and when Connie's number finally calls Anita back it's not Connie but the zombie sex-slave perp, Maximiliano. He turns out to be a biological son of Dominga Salvador and Manny, although she passed the kid off as a sister-son without ever telling anyone beyond the sister, presumably. Anita realizes this is the sister-son Manny thought the Señora had wanted to have kids with Anita to breed a more powerful necromancer. Maximiliano is under the impression that he was knowingly abandoned by Manny, and is taking revenge through the children from his actual marriage.

Maximiliano plans to sell Connie as a zombie sex slave and cripple or kill Tomas, but Anita and the SWAT manage to find them before Max can finish the ritual for Connie. Anita shoots Max through his special zombie, who turns out to be his ex-girlfriend who dumped him. The shots don't kill Max, though, since he has a gris-gris that keeps him alive and helps him bind the souls to his zombies. They don't have any actual evidence that he's killed anyone, or otherwise acted in a way that would put him under the magical malfeasance laws. However, his gris-gris mysteriously stops working out of the blue and kills him. Anita is reasonably certain it was Manny who did it, but she won't ask.

In the epilogue we learn that Connie gets her wedding, and Max's attempts to cripple Tomas weren't successful enough to keep him from getting back to his feet, possibly even back to running eventually. Anita and the leader of the SWAT team get a full blown internal affairs investigation for being the ones who shot Max before his gris-gris failed. Asher is being shunned by everyone but Kane, and Dev is integrating well deeper into Anita's poly group. The three women are still on a more careful test run, but Anita is considering keeping them and letting Jade and Domino go. Narcissus is free again, but he has problems with keeping his status among the werehyenas now that he doesn't have such close ties to the vampire throne anymore. Micah and Dev both still have two animal forms, and Anita and Jean-Claude's wedding plans are slowly proceeding.


Dead Ice takes place in May. It is an unspecified amount of time after the previous novel Jason, five or six months after Affliction (November or December), and almost exactly a year after Kiss the Dead (also May).

Time markers:

  • Time of year:
    • Dead Ice, chapter 12: "The leather smelled rich and warm in the summer night as I opened it."
    • Dead Ice, chapter 61: "Crime-fighting was hard to schedule, but I didn't mind as I drove home from the airport in the soft spring dark, or was that early-summer dark? May was one of those months that could be either in St. Louis, late-summer cool or almost midsummer hot."
  • Time since previous novels:
    • A "few months" since Affliction (November or December). Dead Ice, chapter 06: "I'd learned a few months ago that some of the less public parts of the military were interested in seeing if they could create soldiers that had my combination of the best of being a shapeshifter without turning into an animal form." Chapter 28: "Did you see the news reports from a few months ago out in Colorado?" Chapter 60: "Perhaps, but what you did in Colorado just months ago..."
    • Two years since Bullet (July). Dead Ice, chapter 44: "Fuck, Kane, Narcissus has been after Asher to make him his hyena to call for almost two years." Epilogue chapter: States that Jade has been in Anita's bed for two years.
    • Three years since Skin Trade (August). Dead Ice, chapter 08: "I was staring somewhere in the middle distance as if I were seeing another room, one in Las Vegas, three years ago."

Other time-related information:

  • Anita Blake is 31 years old. Dead Ice, chapter 06, chapter 08, chapter 17, and chapter 41. There is a discrepancy in chapter 09 when Nathaniel states that Anita is 30 years old, and Brent makes a similar comment in chapter 04. Note that Anita's age in the novels has some inconsistencies; see the inconsistencies section of the Timeline article.
  • Nathaniel Graison is 23 years old (inconsistency). Dead Ice, chapter 09: Nathaniel is stated to be 23 years old. But based on his ages in Bullet (age 22, two years earlier), Narcissus in Chains (20, four years earlier), and Burnt Offerings (19, five years earlier), he should be 24 in this novel. Note that his incorrect age is given in the same chapter that gives Anita's age as 30, although she's 31 in the rest of the novel.
  • Cynric is 19 years old. Dead Ice, chapter 08 and chapter 41.
  • Zerbrowski is about 44 years old. Dead Ice, chapter 04, states that he is 13 years older than Anita. Note that in Kiss the Dead chapter 15, Anita estimates that he's "only about nine years older" than her, and in Dead Ice she estimates him to be ten years older, but Zerbrowski corrects her.
  • Agent Brenda Manning is 47 years old or younger. Dead Ice, chapter 04, states that she is "less than three years" older than Zerbrowski.
  • Manny Rodriguez is around 55 or 56 years old. Dead Ice, chapter 29: "Hey, I’m in my fifties looking at sixty; you learn a thing or two just by surviving this long." Chapter 61: "Rosita and I had always planned for it when I was sixty, less than five years away." Note that his age has some inconsistencies in the series.
  • Asher is about 600-700 years old. Dead Ice, chapter 44: "it's only taken him six, seven hundred years to find someone who exemplifies his own worst traits"
  • Narcissus is about 30 years old. Dead Ice, chapter 53, Anita: "I'm either older than you or about the same age." Narcissus: "In years, maybe, but in experience..." Dead Ice, chapter 53: "They (his parents) were stubborn enough to get an intersexed baby out of the hospital with no surgeries thirty years ago, unheard of."
  • There hasn't been a war in the U.S. on the scale that Narcissus is threatening with since the 1800's (Dead Ice, chapter 53).


Main characters[]

  • Anita Blake: Anita is still the vampire executioner with the highest kill count in the United States, and the animator with the most official complaints turned in to the police about illegal or morally questionable zombie-raising requests, which makes the FBI to approach her regarding the zombie porn case despite her proclivity to date the supernatural. On more personal level, in Dead Ice Anita realizes that her powers in raising dead have grown beyond needing to sacrifice a cow to raise over two hundred year old corpse, and comes to some revelations about her personal relationships and her issues with some of her lovers. She also discovers a new power that manifests when she touches Dev and Micah at the same time, allowing the two of them to gain new animal forms.
  • Brenda Manning: Special Agent of FBI, whose case the zombie porn investigation is. Partner of Agent Brent. Less than three years older than Zerbrowski, which would make her around 44-47 years old counting from Anita's age.
  • Mark Brent: Special Agent of FBI, and partner of Agent Manning. He is tall and thin, and looks barely old enough to be out of college, but has been in law enforcement for six years, which probably makes him about 30 years old.
  • Jean-Claude: Anita's fiancé, who wants to get their ring designs finished before the designs are finished for the simpler rings Anita, Micah and Nathaniel are getting together for their commitment ceremony to be worn in the ring finger of their right hands. Jean-Claude also discovers that his powers over women have grown, similarly to Anita's powers over the dead, and he's looking forward to getting to wear a crown at their wedding.
  • Micah Callahan: Anita's significant other, who gains a new animal form. Doesn't want any new people included in their working domestic arrangement, but is practical enough to put the common good above his own desires, especially if it brings significant enough other benefits.
  • Nathaniel Graison: Anita and Micah's Third, who wants a romantic proposition before their commitment ceremony. Has more options for potential people to be included in their commitment ceremony than any of the others, but they mostly don't match who the others would pick.
  • Maximiliano: The primary villain of the novel, who wants revenge on Manny for perceived abandonment as a kid, and to make huge amounts of money from zombie porn and zombie sex slaves, just like Dominga Salvadore.
  • Manny Rodriguez: Anita's former mentor and fellow animator at Animators, Inc., and still her go-to person when she faces a zombie problem she hasn't seen or heard of before. Father of Connie, Tomas, and Maximiliano, although not aware of the last relationship. Manny still has issues with Anita dating Jean-Claude, but doesn't take them out on her beyond constantly assuming the worst of him.
  • Dev a.k.a. Mephistopheles: Anita's golden tiger to call, whose relationship problems with Asher inadvertently lead to Anita discovering a new power, and to Dev and Micah each gaining a new animal form. Wants to become the tiger to get included in the commitment ceremony.

Supporting characters[]

  • Zerbrowski: Sergeant of R.P.I.T. and Anita's partner. Accompanies her through part of the zombie porn investigation, and calls in a favor for Anita when she needs a grave to be exhumed in the middle of a night.
  • Larry Kirkland: Anita's former protégé and fellow animator at Animators, Inc., who holds a dual agency with the federal marshal service and FBI. He trains FBI agents and tries to find animators and necromancers for a purpose that requires a higher security clearance than Anita has. Larry has recently faced himself the prejudices against too powerful animators on his recent trip to Europe, and says that it has made him less judgmental in turn. Makes a truce with Anita, although they are still far from being friends again.
  • Consuela 'Connie' Rodriguez: Manny's oldest daughter, who is about to get married. She gets kidnapped, along with Tomas, by Maximiliano, who plans to kill her and sell her zombie as a sex slave.
  • Tomas Rodriguez: Manny's son, who is a gifted runner. He gets kidnapped, along with Connie, by Maximilano, who tries to cripple and then kill him.
  • Rosita Rodriguez: Manny's wife, who is considering setting up her own wedding consultant service, and offers her help to Anita's wedding.
  • Mercedes Rodriguez: Manny's second daughter, whom we see only briefly.
  • Asher: Dev's main lover, and third in command in St. Louis vampire hierarchy, although other people are taking over his duties in increasing amounts. Throws away his bid for power over the werehyenas of St. Louis by making a low-power member Kane his animal to call instead of Narcissus. Is mentioned throughout the novel several times, but only seen once.
  • Kane: one of Asher's main lovers since Affliction, who manages to talk him into abandoning Dev and to making Kane his hyena to call. Ruggedly handsome but not too smart.
  • Narcissus: Oba of the werehyenas in St. Louis, whose heart Asher breaks. Wants to become Anita's hyena to call in compensation for not killing Asher or Kane.
  • Nicky: Anita's Bride and the Rex of the werelions in St. Louis, whose primary concerns are to keep Anita as happy as possible and aware of any security issues like Dino's lack of endurance.
  • Domino: Anita's black tiger to call, who isn't entirely satisfied with his role in Anita's life and as one of the guards, and considers asking Susannah out.
  • Cynric: Anita's blue tiger to call, who fits well into their domestic arrangement despite Anita's issues with him, and seems quite content.
  • Crispin: Anita's white tiger to call, who appears to be quite worried about the loophole in the weretiger prophecy.
  • Richard Zeeman: Ulfric of the werewolves in St. Louis, whom Anita still sleeps with occasionally, although they aren't in a romantic relationship anymore. He's in therapy and making an honest effort to deal with his issues and to be the leader his wolves deserve.
  • Melchior and Irene: an ancient vampire and her human servant, both great jewlers, in town to create rings for Jean-Claude and Anita.
  • Socrates: a werehyena guard.
  • Lisandro, Dino, and Lita: wererat guards.
  • Kelly Reeder: a werelion guard and the only female enforcer of St. Louis pride.
  • Magda: a Harlequin werelion who is trying to win dominance over Kelly.
  • Thomas James Warrington: a man over 200 years dead whom the historical society has Anita raise as a zombie.
  • Mrs. Ethel Willis: a member of the historical society, a tiny old woman under five feet tall, whose attitude makes her seem larger, and who wears the thickest prescription classes Anita has seen in years. Has an attack of conscience about the sacrificial cow.
  • Mr. Owen MacDougal: a member of the historical society, much taller and broader than Mrs. Willis, but not fat, just solid like a linebreaker with a bit of extra weight around the middle. Middle America white bread, 6'2" or an inch or two taller, hasn't been keeping up with the gym. Can feel ghosts but not see them, although Anita isn't certain participating in the zombie raising won't kick up his talent a notch.
  • Patrick: a member of the historical society, a young man who is spooked by the cemetery and not willing to have blood smeared on him in order to get control of the zombie.
  • Justine: a member of the historical society who enters into a sexual and romantic relationship with the zombie.


  • Denis-Luc St. John: vampire executioner with the highest rogue lycanthrope kill count in the United States
  • Dominga Salvador: the most powerful vaudun priestess in the Midwest until she went after Anita, and Manny's old flame. Inventor of the idea of putting souls back to zombies. Hid her child with Manny as a sister-son and never told either Manny or Maximiliano the truth.
  • Anita's father, stepmother, and her maternal grandmother Flores
  • Melanie and a Nuckelavee: performers of the Circus of the Damned.
  • Ares: a werehyena guard Anita was forced to kill in Affliction.
  • Nikolaos: the Master of the City whom Anita killed in Circus of the Damned before Jean-Claude took over.
  • Betty Lou: admin at the Circus of the Damned, not very powerful vampire but great at her job.
  • The Mother of All Darkness and the Father of the Day: truly ancient vampires who tried to use Anita as their pawn.
  • Ethan: a blue, red, gold, and yellow tiger whose mixed heritage along with Domino's helped Anita to destroy the Mother of all Darkness.
  • Chimera: the panwere who took over Micah's pard before they came to St. Louis.
  • Phillip: a junkie stripper at Guilty Pleasures whom Jean-Claude got off drugs, only for Phillip to get addicted to giving blood to vampires instead. He was killed by Nikolaos' orders, and both Anita and Jean-Claude blame themselves for his death.
  • Nathaniel's mother, aunt, stepfather, and brother Nicholas
  • Gabriel and Raina: the former leaders of the wereleopards and werewolves in St. Louis, neither of them good people.
  • Jade: black weretiger Anita's first female lover, who has so many issues that it's been a disaster.
  • Jason and J.J.: Anita's werewolf to call and Nathaniel's best friend, and his girlfriend, who both share Anita and Nathaniel's bed these days when J.J. visits from New York; this week Jason is visiting her instead. It's starting to look like Jason will get his opportunity to try out at J.J.'s dance company some day, although replacing him as the assistant manager of Guilty Pleasures and one of the headline dancers won't be easy.
  • Marianne: Anita's spiritual mentor, a practicing witch and a Wiccan.
  • Claudia and Fredo: wererat security in charge of interviewing new guards.

Death toll[]

  • presumably all the women starring in the zombie porn films
  • Estrella, presumably killed by Maximiliano for rejecting him, dies again when Maximiliano's gris-gris fails
  • Maximiliano, presumably killed by Manny by tampering with the gris-gris to keep his family safe
  • Thomas Warrington's zombie, shot to pieces and burned to ashes after Anita fails to put him back to rest, ashes scattered to different bodies of water
  • a wererat who challenges Rafael
  • it's unclear whether the wererat healer who poisons Rafael gets to answer for her sins before the novel's end or not, but it's just a matter of time for her
  • the cow that was sacrificed to raise Thomas Warrington


  • Ages: Anita's age is given as 'around thirty', 31, and 30, of which 31 appears most often and seems most likely. Nathaniel's age is given as 23, but it's mentioned in the same scene where Anita's age is 30, and he's previously been mentioned to be 7 years younger than Anita, which would make 24 more likely. Manny is said to be less than five years from his 60th birthday, which suggests he's 55 or 56, but his age has been inconsistent since the beginning of the series, and depending on the origin point of calculations he could even be as old as 61 by now.
  • The Mother of All Darkness is again blamed for the ardeur-fueled orgy in Skin Trade, when Anita was forced to have sex with Cynric, Domino and Crispin (among other people), but although the original idea came from Marmee Noir and she did it to Anita both before and after, it was the Father of the Day who was behind that particular event.
  • Anita is surprised to learn that Nicky grew up on a ranch, but she already knew that in Affliction.
  • It's said that they didn't think to build a separate locker room for women at the Circus of the Damned back when the plans were made, but in Kiss the Dead there were separate locker rooms and enough women living there to make the separate room useful, even if there weren't that many back when the locker rooms were built. It's unlikely that there would have been a new renovation where the women's locker room would have been removed between the events of the books.
Anita Blake Series

01. Guilty Pleasures • 02. The Laughing Corpse • 03. Circus of the Damned • 04. The Lunatic Cafe • 05. Bloody Bones • 06. The Killing Dance • 07. Burnt Offerings • 08. Blue Moon • 09. Obsidian Butterfly • 10. Narcissus in Chains • 11. Cerulean Sins • 12. Incubus Dreams • 13. Micah • 14. Danse Macabre • 15. The Harlequin • 16. Blood Noir • 17. Skin Trade • 18. Flirt • 19. Bullet • 20. Hit List • 21. Kiss the Dead • 22. Affliction • 23. Jason • 24. Dead Ice • 25. Crimson Death • 26. Serpentine • 27. Sucker Punch (novel) • 28. Rafael

Short Stories Magic Like Heat Across My SkinBlood Upon My LipsThe Girl who was Infatuated with DeathThose Who Seek ForgivenessSelling HousesBeautyDancingShutdownA Girl, a Goat, and a ZombieWoundedSweet Seduction
Comics The First DeathGuilty Pleasures & HandbookThe Laughing CorpseCircus of the Damned