This is a review of “Circus of the Damned” by Laurell K. Hamilton. It is the 3rd book in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series.
”Circus of the Damned” takes place a couple of months after ”The Laughing Corpse”. A few members of Humans First try to recruit Anita into their movement, they aim to rid St Louis of the new Master of the City. Their plan is not foolproof enough for Anita and she rejects them.
Anita is called to investigate a murder with Dolph (Lieutenant Rudolph Storr). A man has been killed by multiple vampire bites. This spurs Anita to organise a meeting with Jean Claude at the Circus of the Damned. It is here where she first crosses paths with Richard Zeeman. She finds herself attracted to this junior high teacher who has an inexplicable link to the vampires of the city.
Edward (the assassin) approaches Anita to ask about her knowledge of the new Master of the City, as he has accepted a contract to take him out. He has no idea who the new Master is, but threatens to torture her if she won’t aid him. Anita is conflicted about handing Jean Claude over. Another body mutilated by multiple vampires turns up, but Anita realises that she overlooked something with the first murder that could make both bodies incredibly dangerous. Can she get to the first body in time?
This book also introduces Larry Kirkland, Anita’s young and somewhat naive apprentice. We also meet some new powerful vamps. Alejandro (an evil bastard) and Mr Oliver (a reasonable-seeming fellow, but so old he is homo erectus). Everyone wants to be the new Master of the City.
But who is committing these murders? Will Anita reveal that Jean Claude is the Master of the City? Will the city survive the battle to decide who becomes the Master of the City? And is Richard who he seems to be? Or is he something more?