Obsidian Butterfly is one of those books you pick up and can't put back down until it's over, and even then with much regret. Laurell Hamilton knows how to keep her readers turning the pages. For those new to the Anita Blake series, here's a quick overview: The setting is present-day America, and the heroine is Anita Blake, the tough, sexy, and smart vampire executioner. She raises the dead for a living, quite legally, for such purposes as settling will disputes. Vampires and werewolves (aka lycanthropes) are legal citizens, only to be killed if they commit a crime. Anita actually has both a vampire lover, Jean Claude, and a werewolf boyfriend, Richard.
In Obsidian Butterfly, Anita leaves her hometown of St Louis to pay back a favor to her friend Edward, who is an assassin. He needs her help solving a string of murders, which were likely committed by something non-human. They team up with the local cops, the FBI, and Edward's mysterious accomplices to find the monster before it can mutilate yet another helpless family.
I would recommend this book to all fans of the Anita Blake series, even if many of the usual main characters are missing. You learn more about Edward and Anita, as well as the nature of her bond to "the boys".
It also goes well alone, precisely because there are not so many pre-introduced characters.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes a smart, well-written plot that is a combination of horror, suspense, and mystery with a little romance mixed in. Anita's constant sarcastic thoughts and witty comments keep the mood light throughout the story. The characters are extremely well-developed and draw you into their world of magic, witchcraft and a constant good vs evil battle that will keep you turning pages all night.