The biggest challenge facing Laurell K. Hamilton in her Anita Blake Vampire Series is upping the ante volume after volume. In this 8th volume our heroine drops everything to rush to Tennessee where Richard has been arrested for attempted rape. Obviously somebody is trying to frame Richard, who was down studying Lesser Smokey Mountain Trolls to finish up his M.A. degree in biology. "Blue Moon" focuses on Anita as the lupa of the Thronnus Roke Clan lukoi and Nimir-ra of the pard, although her being a necromancer, animator, vampire hunter and human servant all come into play. Her ability, and willingness, to call the munin becomes crucial. Hamilton continues to expand the roster of monsters and their ilk with not only a sorcerer and a psychic this time around, but also a full-fledged demon. The final fight between good and evil in "Blue Moon" is rather anticlimactic, since the most important development in the book happens in the aftermath of the battle.
I think that this is an excellent move on Hamilton's part, because the constant attempts to top the confrontation with evil from the previous novel ends up tampering with the credibility of the story being told. This novel is about Anita's relationships, not with Richard and Jean-Claude, but rather with the supporting cast of Jason, Nathaniel, Zane, Jamil, Cherry, Asher and Damian. "Blue Moon" is not a great novel in the series, but it is certainly above average and whets our appetites for the next adventure. One thing that is absolutely clear now is that the Anita/Richard/Jean-Claude triumvirate is never, ever going to be over. Final warning: while the level of graphic violence has abated a wee bit, the sexuality of these novels has increased big time. These are novels for adults and I pity the Buffy fans that stumble upon this series, misled by the "Vampire Hunter" title which is more of a marketing ploy that an accurate description of our heroine.