Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker who’s always up for a fight—even if it means putting her life on the line... The Master of Natchez, Mississippi has a nasty problem on his hands. Rogue vampires—those who follow the Naturaleza and believe that humans should be nothing more than prey to be hunted—are terrorizing his city. Luckily, he knows the perfect skinwalker to call in to take back the streets. But what he doesn’t tell Jane is that there’s something different about these vamps. Something that makes them harder to kill—even for a pro like Jane. Now, her simple job has turned into a fight to stay alive…and to protect the desperately ill child left in her care.
The beginning of Blood Trade by Faith Hunter finds Jane Yellowrock, shape-shifting skinwalker depressed. There are a whole lot of reasons why she’s had a tough year. So when the master of Natchez, Mississippi, Hieronymus tells her that he’s still having problems with Naturaleza vampires, the last ones left from Death’s Rival, Jane decides it’s as good a job as any. Now, Jane may have more than a few problems, including her mountain lion companion, Beast, but she still likes killing troublesome vampires. The only trouble is, these infected vampires start to mutate, and there’s more bad things on the way.
All that means is that Jane is going to have to get her hands dirty. She’s not squeamish, and that’s a good thing, because Jane isn’t perfect, but the difference from some protagonists that keep blundering around until they somehow win by luck, or sheer persistence, Jane has lost enough that she tries to figure out what she’s done wrong before she gets other people hurt.
Of course, having others around to watch her back doesn’t mean she trusts them. For instance, Leo and Bruiser have lost a lot of her trust after the events of the last book, and it’s understandable. Not to mention, she was bound to Leo by force, which makes him not only a master vamp with his own agenda, but not somebody Jane wants to have much to do with at the moment. So despite the fact that she was told not to help Hieronymus by Leo, she does it anyway. Get rid of one issue, and create a whole new one.
But, even though she has a lot of enemies, there are those who come to help her, like Eli and Alex Younger. These two aren’t freaked out by Jane, and they don’t try to control her, but what they are around for is being friends, and even something close to family. They’re the ones that make sure that Jane doesn’t go down fighting, and they’re a lot of fun as characters all on their own. It’s nice to have a group that’s so much fun to read about, and they get some development of their own in this book.
Of course there’s the romantic triangle of Rick, Jane, and Bruiser, which I’ve noted before is prevalent in a lot of supernatural and urban fantasy books. If it was an arrangement that could work as a stable romantic trio, then it wouldn’t be so tedious, but usually, it’s a question of who the heroine is going to choose, and how long it will take her to make that choice.
Aside from the lackluster romance, this book is a fun read for anybody all caught up on the series, and sets up a number of interesting storylines for upcoming books.