Jason's father is dying of cancer, and Anita travels to Asheville, North Carolina with him as his kind-of fake girlfriend. Things get even more complicated when Jason is constantly being mistaken for the son of the towns local celebrity, Governor Summerland. Not only do Jason and Anita find themselves in the middle of a media frenzy, but also they are threatened by the complicated vampire-human love triangle that has been plaguing the Summerland family (and most recently Keith Summerland) for generations. When the danger and the news coverage hit a climax at the same time, Anita and Jason are left carefully maneuvering around truck loads of drama and politics, not mention their just trying to survive. Jean-Claude's reputation, the American weretiger population, Jason's family values, Keith's impending marriage, and the Governor's bid for president are the least of their problems and just the tip of the metaphysical iceberg.
Now the old bastard’s dying and I won’t have time to forgive him before he goes…
Jason Schuyler is a werewolf. He’s also one of Anita Blake’s best friends, and sometimes her lover. And right now he needs her –not to be a vampire hunter, or a federal marshal, or a necromancer, or even for her rank in the werewolf pack, but because his father’s dying. He needs Anita because she’s a pretty woman who loves him, who can make him look like an everyday guy, who agrees to go home with him and help him say good-bye to the abusive father he never loved. The fact that Jason is about as much an everyday guy as Anita is a pretty woman is something they figure they can keep under the wraps for a couple of days in a small town. How hard can that be?
Really, by now, Anita Blake should know better.
Marmee Noir, ancient mother of all vampires, picks this weekend to make a move. Somehow, she has cut the connection that binds Anita and Jean-Claude, leaving Jean-Claude unable to sense what is happening. Dangerous even as she sleeps, buried in darkness for a thousand years somewhere beneath the old country of Europe, Marmee Noir reaches out toward power. She has attacked Anita before, but never like this. In Anita she senses what she needs to make her enemies tremble…
Blood Noir takes place in June, about six months after the events of The Harlequin (December).
- Time of year:
- Blood Noir, chapter 01: "The color not of spring, but of summer skies, before the heat has gotten too hot, but you know it's not May anymore." Not May but early summer places the novel in June.
- Skin Trade takes place in August and refers to the events of Blood Noir as being "two months ago" (chapter 04), confirming that the events of Blood Noir take place in June.
- Time since previous novels:
- Within a year of Cerulean Sins (September). Blood Noir, chapter 07: Jason has been "more than just a friend for about a year." Chapter 20: Anita's "been sleeping with Jason for months." Chapter 30: "the Mother of All Vampires, who'd taken an unhealthy interest in me a few months ago."
- A few months after Incubus Dreams (October). Blood Noir, chapter 07: "We'd learned only in the last few months that it had been the ardeur, my very own version of vampire powers, that had taken away my reluctance." Chapter 49: Anita says to Richard, "We've been surrounding me with wereanimals for months and it hasn't helped."
- A few months after Danse Macabre (November). Blood Noir, chapter 24: Anita had "been so careful since the pregnancy scare a few months back."
Other time-related information:
- Jason is 23 years old. Blood Noir, chapter 01: Jason is "two years older than Nathaniel, which made him twenty-three now." Chapter 06: Jean-Claude says to Anita about Jason, "You are not yet thirty and he is twenty-three."
- Nathaniel is 21 years old.
There are a few main themes in the novel, which are mostly resolved by the end.
- In Jason's hometown, one of his ancestors had more than his fair share of offspring. Hence, Jason's features are repeated in various cousins and other relatives. During high school Jason was always confused with two of his cousins who happen to be twins. Keith Summerland used the confusion to his benefit several times, tricking people to believe he was Jason or letting Jason get the beating for Keith's deeds.
- As soon as Jean-Claude's private jet lands in North Carolina, Jason is confused for Keith. The local and national media is interested in Keith Summerland because he is getting married and his father, who is currently a governor, is thinking of running for the Presidency. Meanwhile, Jason's father has been given only weeks to live, so time is of the essence. Unfortunately, Jason has rented a hotel room in the same location that Keith is supposed to stay in and where the bridal party is taking place.
- Keith Summerland is in trouble again. He has fallen for a vampire, and would rather marry her than the girl his father wants to marry him to. However, the vampire is already married, and her husband does not take kindly to Keith trying to take his bride.
- It's hinted at throughout the book, and in the end Anita is told directly that Jason's resemblance to the Summerland twins isn't purely because of the common ancestor, but also because Jason's mother dated Governor Summerland while both couples were separated. Frank Schuyler had never been able to forgive Jason for not being his.
- In The Harlequin Anita was given a charm that is supposed to keep Marmee Noir away. When Anita meets a tiger that calls to one of the tigers inside her, the charm fails or perhaps the Mother of Darkness overpowers it. Previous books have had Anita give her beast to someone else since she cannot shift with a fair amount of success, however Jason would only be able to help Anita if her inner wolf was giving her trouble. Marmee Noir uses Anita to send out a call to every unattached tiger in the nation.
- Specifically, two tigers that happen to be in the area immediately come to Anita, and Jason, and are essentially raped by her for two days. In reality it's Marmee Noir doing the raping to all four of them, but Anita can't tell that to the tigers for her own safety. One of the tigers is Crispin, a stripper from Las Vegas (who broaches the rape issue), and the other is Alexander Pinn, who is a closeted reporter. Crispin is from a white tiger clan, while Alex is from a red tiger clan.
- Once again, Anita could be pregnant, and by tiger law getting rid of the baby isn't an option. They tell the possible-daddies-to-be that the would-be baby is probably Jason's, relying on their overall shock to be able to hide the lie, in order for Anita to escape repercussions from a morning after pill. Otherwise, either tiger would have happily married and taken Anita back to his clan. Crispin appears to have been completely rolled by Anita and is rather heartbroken when she sends him away, while Alex is old enough and powerful enough to resist Anita's call up to a point -- but not if she presses the issue.
- Marmee Noir may be thousands of miles physically from Anita, but she can still reach out and touch the necromancer. When Anita is drugged to unconsciousness, Marmee Noir wakes her and slashes her shirt open despite being so far away. However, she does not reveal why she is so interested in Anita. It could be that she wants Anita for her own human servant, as other Masters of the City may as well. When the link between Anita and Jean-Claude is broken, they believe that Anita may have been marked by Marmee Noir. Once Anita reclaims her anger from Richard the link to Jean-Claude is restored, but it doesn't remove Marmee Noir's mark. Marmee Noir cannot understand Anita's rage because it belongs to Anita and was not passed down from Marmee Noir to any of her vampire descendants.
- The last theme is the desire to be "normal," which most of the main characters admit to wanting. Normal as in what society says most humans want, find a true love, meet the family, get married, have kids, live happily ever after. Unfortunately for Anita, her life is anything but normal, but she's the only one who appears to accept that. When Jason takes Anita home to meet his family, Jean-Claude and Micah both express the desire to do that as well.
- Jean-Claude is jealous because while he would want Anita to meet his family, they have all died so long ago that no one knows him from when he was human is left. Anita tells him that she has in a sense met his mother, because she has in some sense met Belle Morte, and he replies that she is not 'his people.' Belle Morte may be the head of Jean-Claude's bloodline but she is not the matriarch of his family.
- Micah broke his ties with his family to keep them safe. When Chimera was alive, he would use family against the members of his pard. With Chimera dead, Micah expresses the desire to introduce Anita to his family. However, Nathaniel is also a part of Anita's and Micah's life, which leaves Micah uncertain if all three of them should visit. Nathaniel's role in their life is not so clear and simple nor "normal" as the roles of 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend.'
- Richard also wants his life to be normal, he wants Anita to be his wife and to live essentially behind a white picket fence. They have quarreled about this many times in many books. When he finds Anita has gained two more lovers to her list or bed post, Richard is distressed and furious. Once Anita takes away her rage from him, he gains a new metaphysical ability instead. Unfortunately, the ability is Richard's own version of ardeur, and there is a learning curve to it. He tries to use it against Anita despite everyone present trying to talk him out of it, until Jason as Anita's new wolf to call helps her fight off the power. Afterwards Richard simply leaves Anita alone and goes back to Jean-Claude to learn control.
- Jason's desire to be normal shows in trying to appease his father one last time. To try and convince him that Anita is his girlfriend is the least he can do, while he still has time left to say goodbye to his father. A media frenzy of poor timing and rumors will not stop him in visiting his abusive father in the hopes for that one perfect moment of acceptance that he never had when he was growing up. Jason had no desire for athletics and his choice of dance and theater was not what his father wanted for him. In fact, nearly everything Jason has tried to do to please his father has failed. It is not until the end of the book, when Jason is nearly killed that Franklin Schuyler realizes exactly how much Jason means to him.
Jason comes to Nathaniel and Anita after a thoroughly bad night. Jason's relationship with Perdita has turned smothering, and he broke up with her the previous evening, just before receiving a call that his father is dying of cancer. Anita and Nathaniel invite Jason to share Anita's bed for the night, for comfort, friendship, distraction, and long overdue spice to Jason's sex life that has been all too vanilla with Perdy. Jason mentions that his mother had told him to bring a girlfriend with him to visit his father, and Nathaniel talks them both into Anita accompanying Jason.
They take Jean-Claude's private jet to North Carolina, which probably adds to the confusion between Jason and his nearly identical cousin, Keith Summerland, who is scheduled to arrive the following day for his own wedding. Unfortunately it's not out of character for Keith to arrive with an new woman in tow, and both Summerland employees and the press have a hard time believing Jason isn't Keith. One of the, Summerland's men, a fixer called Chuck, goes far enough to attempt to send Anita back home before they can convince him to call the governor to confirm Jason's identity.
By the time they get to the hotel Jason has got fed up with Chuck's attempts to boss them around, and kisses Anita in front of a cameraman. This backfires on them, when their taxi can't get away from their hotel and take them to hospital because of the frenzied reporters. In an attempt to diffuse the situation Anita and Jason give an impromptu press conference, which turns into a disaster when the press finally believes their actual identities and decides Anita has left Jean-Claude in order to marry Jason.
They need the help of Summerland security and a police escort to get out of the hotel, with a man called Peterson taking the point in their security. When they finally reach the hospital Jason's mother and sister Julia welcome them with open arms, but his father and other sister Roberta keep insisting Jason is gay and his relationship with Anita is fake. They aren't entirely wrong about the latter, but Anita still takes offence, and eventually manages to earn some amount of respect from Frank Schuyler after laying out some hard truths and her opinions of Mr. Schuyler's character. The continued rejection hits Jason hard, although he promises to come back the next day.
Shortly after they get back to the hotel shit hits the fan regarding Jean-Claude's reputation among older vampires, and Anita and Jason turn to attempting some damage control. This time they ask permission from Jean-Claude before talking to press, and then contact Irving Griswold for his help in turning things around. It's decided that the best way to proceed is to stop squashing the rumors that Jean-Claude also sleeps with the various men in Anita's life, and instead encourage them, in addition to a series of positive interviews about how good life is under Jean-Claude's rule.
A bit later that evening Keith's fiancée Lisa, who is drunk and furious with Keith, along with a couple of reporters find their room. Unfortunately this happens right after Anita and Jason have finished feeding the ardeur, so neither of them is properly dressed when Jason opens the door and lets them in. Lisa only recognizes Jason after his robe slips and reveals he shaves himself, which Keith clearly doesn't do. The reporters drink this all up, until the Summerland security reaches them and escorts the press out.
Lisa invites Jason and Anita to the bachelorette party that has barely started, where there is a whole lot of Jason's old friends and girlfriends. He really wants to go to catch up with them, so Anita goes along despite not being thrilled. Something has also spooked the security, but they refuse to tell her what the new threat is. From that point on, guards called Shadwell and Rowe shadow Anita and Jason.
Anita doesn't enjoy the party, nor Jason abandoning her to the sidelines for an hour to flirt with all the girls despite supposedly being her boyfriend. When Anita points this out to Jason he is remorseful and decides to reveal the truth to the girls, since the ruse will be up anyway when Irving's articles see the light of day, but doesn't have an opportunity before the strippers arrive, and something starts to go metaphysically wrong.
Jason hurries Anita out of there, worried that the sexually charged atmosphere is messing with her ardeur, along with one of the strippers being a vampire and another a weretiger. Getting her back to their room doesn't stop the problem, though, and Anita keeps seeing more tigers than she's supposed to have. The guards are reluctant to give them privacy either, because the new threat is a vampire that is after Keith and might attack Jason through the window, but eventually they manage to convince the guards that they can take care of themselves.
The arrival of Crispin the weretiger stripper helps to calm Anita down, and he takes Anita's beast to help her, but she fights the process and makes it painful to both of them. Her charm against Marmee Noir starts to float and brands Crispin's arm when he puts it up to protect his chest. That finally prompts Crispin to shift into a tigerman on top of Anita. Their cries of pain have brought the guards back into the room, and they are even more spooked. They manage to get rid of the guards again, but getting rid of Crispin isn't as easy. He now considers Anita his on some level, and doesn't take well to Jason getting into his way and trying to prove to him that Anita isn't a weretiger. Crispin attacks Jason, and Anita loses control entirely.
When Anita next gains awareness it's two days later. There is another unknown tigerman in the room and Anita is sore and thoroughly scratched up. She can only remember bits and pieces of what has happened, and is unable to feel Jean-Claude. However, Richard arrives with Jamil and Shang-Da in tow, and after Anita gets the guards to let them through Richard explains to Anita that Marmee Noir attacked her and has messed with her memory. Anita can't even remember she's supposed to have a charm against Marmee Noir, not even after Richard reminds her of it, not even if she's seen the brand it left on Crispin's arm. Moreover, Richard informs Anita of the day, and she realizes she's been having unprotected sex with multiple partners without taking her pill.
Alex, the red tiger whom Anita barely remembers letting inside, is the oldest of the men present, and takes the news most calmly. He tells Anita it's her choice, but if she chooses so she's welcome to Red Clan. Crispin is more territorial and says the White Clan laws forbid Anita from taking a morning-after pill, and unfortunately he has the backing of the Master of Las Vegas, who threatens Jean-Claude with a war over the matter. Jason and Anita conspire to get around this by convincing the tigers they already had unprotected sex the day before and as such any child would be more likely to be Jason's, relying on their overall shakiness and shock to hide the lie. Unfortunately, this is all getting too much for Richard, who still hasn't accepted that Anita won't ever be his and his alone.
In the middle of it all, Peterson, who has been in charge of their security, calls to let Anita know what the vampire danger is all about. Keith has eloped to Vegas and married a vampire, who is already married to a Master of the City, who hasn't taken the news well. There's a bounty for Keith's life and returning the wayward wife to the master. Peterson refuses to tell the name of the vampire or the city, but says the vampire lady in question was already involved with the man who half the town descends from, and who was a spitting image of Keith, and Jason.
Anita refusing to explain the phone call is the last straw for Richard. His rage boils over, and when Anita staggers and Crispin catches her, Richard attacks them both. Alex and Crispin both put themselves between Anita and Richard, and Jamil and Shang-Da tackle him down. It gives Anita long enough to recognize Richard's rage as her own, and she drinks it down like Jean-Claude has taught her to feed ardeur from a distance at his clubs. The barrier between Anita and Jean-Claude shatters in the way of a power Marmee Noir doesn't have, and although Jean-Claude can't feed on rage either and has to shield from Anita, their connection is intact again.
Everyone appreciates Richard calming down, Richard himself especially, but unfortunately Anita siphoning off the rage seems to have made way to a new power -- Richard's own version of ardeur, that is all about monogamous love instead of lust. He tries to roll Anita despite all of their objections, but Anita's damaged body keeps waking her up. They manage to send the tigers away, even if Crispin seems heartbroken to leave, and Richard commands Jason into shower to wash Anita's scent off him. Then Anita demands Jamil and Shang-Da to move into the corridor so that she can dress. This leaves her alone with Richard, who still doesn't believe he's doing anything wrong by trying to make Anita his and his alone or that it isn't her genuine emotion that he feels from her. Jason comes to Anita's rescue, and eventually helps her fight off the power with his genuine fear of being drowned in obsessive, monogamous love.
They realize Anita has made Jason as his wolf to call, and Richard believes that's what allowed the orgy to stop on the second day, because Marmee Noir can't control wolves. That's why Jean-Claude sent Richard in the first place, but his wolf wasn't needed for that after all. Afterwards Richard simply leaves Anita alone and goes back to Jean-Claude to learn control. Jason finally finds Anita's charm, but she can't even see it until Jason takes it into his hand, and when he gives it to Anita she becomes immediately nauseous. They smell Jasmine again, but Jason's touch chases it away.
They are just about to leave to hospital again, when one of the security guards, Rowe, arrives with two new men to tell them the room has been compromised and they need to be moved. Anita realizes the two men are actually vampires, but it's too late -- they take her down with a flash-bang grenade and a tranquilizer dart.
Marmee Noir wakes Anita up from her stupor by slashing at her all the way from Europe. She manages to take down the two vampires in the house, and finds Jason, bloody and tortured as Keith for the location of the vampire lady, inches from death. Anite gets Jason to shift shape, and it heals some of the damage, but not enough of it, and he starts bleeding again after returning to human form. Anita bandages him up the best she can and calls for help, but the human servant of the master in question finds them first. Anita shoots him through the door.
Hours later they are in the hospital with Jason hooked up to machines and drips but on his way to recovery. Anita has finally got her morning-after pill, using the kidnapping as an excuse for needing it. She's on review for killing the vampires and the human servants without a warrant, but as she did it to protect a civilian's life from immediate threat, it falls under the recent Preternatural Endangerment Act and she's expected to get her badge back in a couple of weeks.
Anita is still holding Jason's hand when his dad is wheeled in. He finally believes Anita really is Jason's girlfriend. When Anita tells him Jason is in this condition because Keith had messed with another man's wife, Mr. Schuyler tells Anita that Jason isn't biologically his son, but that he finally realizes it doesn't matter, and that Jason is his son anyway. He regrets wasting all this time half-hating Jason for being Governor Summerland's. Jason wakes up to his Hallmark moment, and Anita leaves them to it.
In epilogue we learn Jason recovers enough to go home, and his father's cancer goes into remission, which should give him a couple of more months to live. Jason is going back to visit him. Keith is going to marry his vampire lady, and Governor Summerland can forget dreams of presidency. The vampires were led to Jason's room on purpose by the governor's men, one because he thought Anita and Jason would take care of the threat, other because he was freaked out by Anita's powers. Anita is cleared of the shooting, but both she and Jason have new nightmares.
Both weretigers gain new powers after the orgy. There are plans for Crispin to visit St. Louis, and similar plans from Jason's ex-girlfriend J. J. from the bachelorette party. Jean-Claude and the Master of Las Vegas come to a truce, and the first of Anita's men to be declared being in Jean-Claude's bed is Asher, although that's not a reality yet. Anita wonders if she's going to be able to bind more animals to call in addition to Jason, and the vampire council is voting on whether to kill Marmee Noir before she wakes up properly.
Blood Noir features the following major characters:
Series' main characters in supporting roles:
- Jean-Claude: Anita calls him before leaving with Jason, and Jean-Claude expresses some sadness that he is unable to have a similar experience with Anita of meeting his family. He supports Anita metaphysically throughout the novel.
- Richard Zeeman: When Anita loses her tie to Jean-Claude, Richard comes to South Carolina to try and help. Unfortunately, after seeing that Anita has added to her list of lovers, Richard is not pleased. He releases the anger that he gained from her when Jean-Claude connected them in the triumvirate, and Anita realizes she can either fight it or embrace it. By the end of the book, Richard is acting and feeling more like he did when he first met Anita. However, it's possible that by taking away the anger, Anita may have made room for something else instead.
- Micah Callahan: Micah is away from St. Louis, checking out a new leopard who wants to join his and Anita's pard. Anita calls him to tell him about going with Jason to South Carolina. Micah expresses that he, too, would like to bring Anita to his estranged family, someday.
- Nathaniel Graison: Nathaniel plays a role in the beginning of the book only, for he is the one who offers Anita to Jason for moral support.
- Marmee Noir
- Jamil and Shang-Da: These two werewolves go with Richard as his enforcers to visit Anita in South Carolina.
- Irving: Jason and Anita enroll Irving's help as a news reporter to try and take back the rumor that Anita left Jean-Claude for Jason. Originally, Irving was thrilled to have an insider's scoop on Jean-Claude and other Anita related topics, but people were beginning to wonder how he was so close to it all. Therefore Anita left him out of it, albeit rather abruptly, and this is the first time she talks to him in months.
- Perdita: Jason's ex. She does not appear in the novel, but her recent breakup with Jason impacts him throughout the novel.
- Frank Schuyler: Jason's father who is dying of cancer. He and Jason do not get along and he's emotionally abusive, partly because Jason wasn't the type of son he wanted, and because Jason isn't biologically his son.
- Iris Schuyler: Jason's mother.
- Julia: Jason's sister. She runs "Browning and Schuyler Gardening Center" with her husband Brian.
- Roberta "Bobbi": Jason's sister. She tends to agree with her father and she's his favorite. She believes Jason is gay because she thinks she saw him with another man one night, although Jason was actually with another woman at the time.
The Summerland family:
- Keith Summerland: Jason and Keith have been regularly mistaken for each other all their lives. Keith's upcoming marriage leads to a lot of press in the area that targets Jason due to their resemblance.
- Governor Summerland: Keith's father who is making a presidential run. He is the biological father of Jason. When he learns that Jason is in town, he provides security and transport.
- Jebediah Summerland: A long-dead religious leader who fathered many children, leading much of the town to look similar to each other. He died when he tried to convert vampires to Christianity.
Summerland family associates:
The bridal party:
- Lisa Bromwell: Keith's fiance. She drunkenly barges into Jason's hotel room thinking he's Keith, and ends up inviting him and Anita to her bridal party. She works as a paralegal for her father.
- Trish: A bridesmaid. She's unable to stop Lisa from going to Jason/Keith's room.
- J. J.: A bridesmaid, and an old friend of Jason. She and Jason were in dance class together, and she's currently performing for a professinoal dance company in New York. She likes girls and flirts a bit with Anita.
- Jenna: A bridesmaid. She's a real estate developer or works for one.
- Jen: A bridesmaid. She's a stay-at-home mom married to her high-school sweetheart with two kids.
- Kirs: A bridesmaid. She's about to graduate with her degree in architecture.
- Ashley: A bridesmaid. She's about to finish her student teaching and hopes to teach drama and English.
Other new characters:
- Alex Pinn: A red tiger who has fled his clan. He is a news reporter in town to cover Keith's upcoming marriage. Anita calls him while rolled my Marmee Noir.
- Crispin: A white tiger from Las Vegas. He is in town to entertain the bridal party as a stripper. He realizes that Jason isn't Keith because they smell different. Anita calls him to her hotel room, and he's branded by the charm she wears to protect her from Marmee Noir.
- Lucian: A vampire from Las Vegas. He is in town to entertain the bridal party as a stripper. He plays Jean-Claude's role in Vegas' versions of the shows from Guilty Pleasures. He mistakes Jason for Keith.
- Lorna: She was in love with Jebediah Summerland, and she's fallen in love with Keith who looks just like Jebediah. She and Keith have run off together and are missing. Her husband, a master vampire, is looking for her and Keith.
- Edmond, aka George: The human servant of Lorna's husband. He is tasked with finding Lorna and Keith, and his people kidnap Anita and Jason. After realizing that Anita is Jean-Claude's human servant, he tries to kill Anita to keep her quiet, since news of his treatment of her and Jason could lead to conflict with Jean-Claude, but Anita kills him first.
- Master of the City of Charleston, South Carolina: Husband of Lorna and master of Edmond. He "mysteriously" dies, presumably because Anita killed his human servant.
|Anita Blake Series|
|Novels||Guilty Pleasures • The Laughing Corpse • Circus of the Damned • The Lunatic Cafe • Bloody Bones • The Killing Dance • Burnt Offerings • Blue Moon • Obsidian Butterfly • Narcissus in Chains • Cerulean Sins • Incubus Dreams • Micah • Danse Macabre • The Harlequin • Blood Noir • Skin Trade • Flirt • Bullet • Hit List • Kiss the Dead • Affliction • Jason • Dead Ice • Crimson Death • Serpentine|
|Short Stories||Magic Like Heat Across My Skin • Blood Upon My Lips • The Girl who was Infatuated with Death • Those Who Seek Forgiveness • Selling Houses • Beauty • Dancing • Shutdown • A Girl, a Goat, and a Zombie • Wounded|
|Comics||The First Death • Guilty Pleasures & Handbook • The Laughing Corpse • Circus of the Damned|