This novel focuses primarily on Anita's love triangle with Richard and Jean-Claude. As before, Richard, with his desperate attempts to remain "human" and his powers that originate from life, represents the side of Anita that rebels against the "darker" elements of her nature, while Jean-Claude, who has long accepted his demons and draws his powers from death, represents the part of her that accepts them. Ultimately, Anita realizes that even Richard, the "nice" and "normal" member of their triangle, is sufficiently entangled with the supernatural to place himself and the others in danger, and she runs to Jean-Claude, who is at least able to present his more monstrous aspects discreetly and to protect himself from danger. Nevertheless, Anita remains emotionally and politically entangled with Richard as well, as future novels will show.
The Killing Dance is notable as a turning point in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series for at least two reasons. First, with a detailed sex scene between Anita and Jean-Claude, this novel displays Hamilton's increasing introduction of elements of erotic literature into the Anita Blake novels. Second, this novel contains noticeably fewer elements of detective fiction relative to prior novels. Although the plot includes two mysteries (the identity of the person placing a contract on Anita's life and Robert's murderer) and one forensic crime scene analysis (Robert's murder), Anita, for the first time, plays almost no role in actually solving either mystery. Her role with regard to the murder contract is just to stay alive until Edward, off screen, is able to identify and reveal the identity of the "money man." Similarly, once Anita is told that her primary suspect has an "airtight alibi" from "a woman," she essentially ceases investigation of Robert's murder, until the murderer captures her and reveals his entire plan.
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