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The Harlequin (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 15) Hardcover – June 5, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of bestseller Hamilton's solid 15th adventure to star vampire hunter Anita Blake, Malcolm, the priggish head of the Church of the Eternal Life (the vampire church), is so desperate for help in dealing with the Harlequin, a troop of vampire enforcers and spies so feared vampires are forbidden to speak its name, he turns to those he considers sinful and corrupt—Anita and her sweetie, Jean-Claude, St. Louis's Master of the City. The Harlequin may have targeted Anita and the powerful triumvirate she has forged with Jean-Claude and Richard Zeeman (aka Ulfric of the werewolves). According to the rules, the Harlequin must make contact through delivery of a mask—white to indicate they are watching, red for pain, black for death. Anita receives a white mask, but the members of the Harlequin aren't playing by the rules. Shorter and more tightly structured than the previous entry in the series, Danse Macabre (2006), Hamilton's latest should prove more satisfying to longtime fans with its straightforward supernatural politics and steamy (but not extreme) sex.
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"Hamilton just keeps getting better and better. -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Her books outsell any other current vampire fiction -- Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; First Edition edition (June 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425217248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425217245
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (360 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Laurell K. Hamilton is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of two series that mix mystery, fantasy, magic, horror and romance. Her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novels from Berkley Books began with GUILTY PLEASURES (now a hugely successful graphic novel from Marvel - the first sexy paranormal comic ever!) and continues with the SKIN TRADE, number seventeen in the series, in which Anita's complex personal and professional relationships with a master vampire and an alpha werewolf continue to evolve. There are now more than 6 million copies of Anita in print worldwide, in 16 languages. Hamilton's Ballantine series features Fey princess and private investigator, Merry Gentry and there are now six novels exceeding one million copies in print. Divine Misdemeanors, the eighth in the series will debut Octobe 29, 2009. She lives in St. Louis County Missouri with her husband Jonathon Green, daughter, one pug dog and one boxer/pug dog.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Jerry P. on October 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Understand, Laurell K. Hamilton has been shuffled onto my list of "2 hour" writers along with R.A. Salvatore. This means that they were both writers that I once loved, but whose books have become so tragically dull that I no longer buy them. Instead, I go into a bookstore with a coffee shop, and I give them two hours to convince me that they have kickstarted themselves, and no longer write dull books. I've just given up on Salvatore. But I still keep hoping for Hamilton. I love the characters in her Anita Blake novels.

I must give Hamilton credit. I stopped buying her books after Obsidian Butterfly. Well, okay. I admit I bought Micah because I saw a used paperback. But I won't talk about that.

This book fooled me. The first 50 pages sounded like the old books. Nobody even had sex! Yay! So I plunked down the cash, and bought a paperback.

What followed was a long string of conversations about sex. Then, about 150 pages in, Anita starts having sex. And once she gets going, there is no stopping her. She beds Richard. She beds the Swan King. She beds the Rat King. She has lesbian dream sex. And then she talks about it. And talks about it.

The Harlequin, who are supposed to drive the action in this book, and give it a title, aren't so much present in the foreground. They are more like explosions in the background during a sex-driven 2-dimensional romance novel set against the backdrop of a war. You don't even see them until the last 50 pages of the book.

You'd think that her calling in Edward - one of my favorite characters in the Hamilton mythology - might salvage things, but the first time he runs off to fight something major, Blake falls unconscious and we only hear about it later. Retold in the third person.
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448 of 512 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Anita Blake series started off well, continued for awhile, then took a sharp plunge down into the literary abyss of bad porn.

Well, "The Harlequin" scrabbles PARTLY back out of that abyss, but Laurell K. Hamilton's fifteenth Blake book still suffers from a surfeit of squickly sex, constant sexual ramblings, and a promising plot that gets swamped by the sex-with-Anitacentric politics of vampires and weres.

First a vamp cleric tells her of a threat so terrible that he can't name it, then a movie night with Nathaniel leads to a strange warning -- a white mask. Jean-Claude reveals that it's the warning of the Harlequin, a cruel vampire police who can warp their victims' minds. And apparently Anita and her string of adoring lovers (plus the still-upset Richard) have upset them.

And the politics of the situation are getting quite nasty, with alliances between weres and vamps getting nasty as they try to all have sex with Anita for power and influence, and Anita repeatedly getting hit by her various "beasts." And if they don't manage to kill the Harlequin soon, then Marmee Noir will reawaken -- and the Harlequin will be working for her.

"The Harlequin" sounds promising at first -- it's almost a hundred and fifty pages before Anita has sex with anyone. It's been several books since Hamilton could boast a length like that, and at first glance it seems to be promising a return to prior form.

Unfortunately, the sexless parts are duller than actual sex: talking/remembering/agonizing about sex. There's two long chapters devoted to Nathaniel wanting Anita to tie him up and hurt him during sex, and Anita getting squeamish about it.
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120 of 134 people found the following review helpful By C. Davis on June 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I began reading The Harlequin with much trepidation. I am one of the original fans of the series who, I admit, has not been pleased with the latest offerings.
The first hundred pages or so were not that bad and had me thinking that maybe there was some hope for our heroine and the author. Alas, it just wasn't meant to be. The action in the book was limited to a few scenes, only a couple of which Anita actually participated in and frankly they weren't that exciting.
The sex scenes themselves were written better than they have been in the previous books, but they were pointless to the storyline and often had me thinking "what the heck was THAT all about?". And once the characters let the genie out of the bottle by having sex that was all the book rotated around; not necesarrily actually having sex, but talking about sex, thinking about sex, arguing about sex, having sex again... you get the picture.

The Harlequin (as the bad guys) could have been scary and just weren't, especially at this weird moment at the end when everyone stood around talking about their "feelings" while the bad guys just stood around and twiddled their thumbs. Of course, Anita used her metaphysical mojo and miraculously vanquished them just in the nick of time.

I also found myself suffering from deja vu. Every chapter had at least one character repeating some cliched phrase from previous books over again. There were some conversations that I swear were lifted straight from the other novels. Maybe this is so new readers can learn the characters but it was pretty annoying.

Probably the worst thing for me though is that I just don't like the characters anymore.
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The Harlequin (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 15)
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