DON'T READ THESE BOOKS.Here is the "plot" of this installment: The Harlequin are killing people. Anita teams up with Edward and they become BFFs. Bernardo and Olaf are called in for shits and giggles. Jean-Claude, Micah, and Nathaniel are not even mentioned until page 175. Laurell K. Hamilton STILL has not bought a thesaurus. Anita has sex with a new guy for fuck knows why. Her animals "inside her" react to other shifters and save the day, and the actual main plot of the story doesn’t rear its ugly head until there are only 20 FUCKING PAGES LEFT.LKH's alleged no-edit clause in her contract is made so fucking apparent that I wanted to claw my eyes out while reading this. Some AWESOME examples:Page 18 – The "Otto Jefferies" identity was to Olaf what "Ted Forrester" was to Edward. Olaf was scarier than Edward, though, because among the mercenary stuff his hobby was being a serial killer. He'd promised Edward and some part of some government that he wouldn't do his hobby on American soil. It was one of the ways he kept his day job helping train some uber-secret unit. His victims of choice were petite dark-haired women. Page 192 – Olaf was also Marshal Otto Jefferies, an alias that allowed him to work for the armed forces on special projects sometimes, and the name on his U.S. Marshal badge. He'd never broken the law on U.S. soil to my knowledge, but in other countries, under his real name, he had. He earned his money as a mercenary and assassin, but his hobby was killing women. He'd kill and torture men, too, but usually only if necessary for work. Small, dark-haired women were his victims of choice, and I was very aware that I fit his victim profile.I really wonder whose intelligence she's questioning more by including this info twice. Aha! Do I win some sort of scavenger hunt by finding this? Do I?!How about constantly using the same word, over and over and over again?"They'll be traveling as they hear about the bodies." There was a faint bitter smell because we were standing near the end of the body. Death isn't neat, or pretty, or clean; it's all outhouse smells as your body does everything it can do all at once. I squatted beside the body on the balls of my feet. I made myself look at the body. "This body was sliced." "So why tear the body into pieces?" "They wanted the bodies to match the other bodies." "The first body and the third were savaged." He was looking at the body as he said it."This occurred within the span of TWO PAGES. TWO!He smiled and it actually reached his eyes; it was a real smile, not Ted's smile, but Edward smiling. I didn't get to see the smile often, so I valued it when I did. I had to smile back. I shook my head, still smiling.This is actually an unedited paragraph. Wrap your heads around THAT one.Check my updates for the overuse of "blood," "warrant," "flirt," and my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE: "coffee." Can we also address the fact that LKH chose to have a whole conversation about parallel parking? Seriously? For REALS?"Edward and I will be there," he said. He'd found an empty space and was parallel parking like a pro, smooth, no hesitation."You live in the city," I said.He killed the engine and turned to me. "Why, because I can parallel park?"I nodded. "A city where that's the only parking you get to use most of the time, or you grew up where that was the only parking.""Don't profile me, Anita.""Sorry, can't I just be impressed with your parking skills?"He seemed to think about that for a minute, then shrugged. "Then just say 'Good job' or something, don't speculate."I nodded. "Okay, great job parallel parking. I suck at it.""Country girl," he said."Most of my life," I said.HOW IS THIS EVEN RELEVANT?How about Anita constantly asking the questions, "What does that mean? What? What do I do? Why? How do I explain that? What should we do?" and then the characters spelling out exactly what should happen and why and how and everything in between instead of just LETTING THE ACTION PLAY OUT NATURALLY.We have a few sexist cops thrown in for comedic relief – well, they were funny to me at least. I swear LKH has some sort of program running in the background of her word processor to "insert Dolph-like cop here" in order to "create tension." Here’s something CRAZY that I just want to point out: nobody gives a FLYING FUCK whom you're sleeping with in real life. They don't snicker, or point and laugh, or jump to conclusions if your partner stayed in the same hotel room with you to keep you safe from fucking psychopaths. Cops care way more about keeping body counts down than this childish and immature notion that LKH seems to want to portray.Then there's the fact that LKH isn't even paying attention to her own fucking story.Page 240 - "She needs this, Otto," I said, remembering just in time that his official name was Otto Jefferies. Marshal Otto Jefferies."Page 243 – "Patience is a pretty funny name for a doctor. Anyway, Olaf is pretty serious about the new woman in his life, but Bernardo is free and clear for dating."For fuck's sake, LKH, didn't you just remind your character 3 pages ago that you should call him Otto?And then there's Edward. I liked Edward. LIKED. Then LKH decided that she had to fuck with his character and make him another robot that follows Anita's magical cooch around. I don't even recognize him as the character she introduced in the first few books; she's effectively neutered him. Here's a totally plausible conversation between the two of them, not made up at all:Edward: "I'd kill anyone who kills you."Anita: "I'd kill anyone who kills you."Edward: "Not unless I kill you first, to see if I could."Anita: "Not unless I kill you first, because I'm faster than you now and I think I'd win.Edward: "You could try, but I'd win you over with my good ol' boy grin and my arctic blue eyes and my cowboy hat tipped just so."Anita: "Braid my hair."Edward: "Okay."I expected the epilogue wrap-up that's become a staple of this series. I DIDN'T expect it to only last 3 pages. I really felt like this was LKH's final "fuck you!" to her fans, and I am (not) sorry to say that I am officially done with this series. 20 books and I'm done. I know that makes me sound mentally challenged, but I always hoped she'd turn things around and get back to the Anita I loved in the first books. This is NOT the case. It is clear this will NEVER be the case. If you thought this review was long, check out my status updates for a clearer view of exactly how fucked up this book was. I've never read a more convoluted piece of shite in my life.I'll admit that Laurell K. Hamilton doesn't need an editor; she needs a fucking paper shredder.