Bert Vaughn and Anita Blake go to Harold Gaynor's house to discuss a zombie raising. Bert makes Anita remove her gun. They are met at the door by Tommy and brought inside. Harold wants them to raise a 283 year old zombie. Anita won't do it despite 1 million dollar price because it would involve a white goat. Anita acts like herself with Bruno and ends up making an enemy. Before guns can be drawn, Harold dismisses them all.
Anita goes to The Maiden Voyage Bridal Shop, next to the Full Dark Beauty Salon (a vampire beauty salon) where she has been getting her bridesmaid dress fitted for Catherine Maison's wedding. While there, she encounters Elizabeth Markowitz and her daughter Kasey. Kasey is to be the flower girl. Mrs. Cassidy, the manager, has tried everything to hide Anita's scars. While there, Anita gets a phone call from Dolph about a murder.
Anita goes to the suburban house of the Reynolds where both parents have been killed, literally ripped apart and eaten. She meets up with Zerbrowski and Dolph to get information. Apparently the 3 year old son, Benjamin Reynolds, was taken as opposed to eaten. He might still be alive. Dolph asks who might be responsible or know information, and Anita reluctantly tells him of Dominga Salvador.
Anita meets up with her onetime partner and mentor Manny Rodriguez, who makes a meeting with the Seņora for 7:00 am. She finds that Manny was once a follower of vaudun and Dominga's lover.
Anita and Manny arrive at Dominga's house. Antonio, her grandson, is outside. He pats down Manny, but not Anita, so she sneaks in armed. They meet with Dominga Salvadore and Enzo. Dominga tests Anita's powers using a gris-gris which comes to life in her hands. Dominga wants to test her one more time and Anita agrees if the Seņora will help her to find the Reynolds' killer.
Anita and Manny follow Dominga with Enzo taking up the rear. They enter Dominga's Humfo and she shows Anita two zombie women. One is rotting, but stopped, and the other is perfectly formed. Anita refuses to help Dominga make more. Dominga tells Anita that Manny slew the white goat. Then Anita and Manny are chased out, but not before Anita threatens Dominga, and the Seņora promises Anita a "gift."
Anita tries to understand why Manny did human sacrifices, but she can't. He drops her off at home.
Tommy comes to her apartment to try to "convince" her to take Harold Gaynor's offer, while not saying his name. Anita draws her gun on him and gets him out.
Anita attends the funeral of Peter Burke along with fellow animators from Animators Inc., Charles Montgomery and Jamison Clarke. While there, Jamison asks her to talk to the police and find out about Peter's murder, if she can. John Burke offers his encouragement as well, and when Anita discovers he is a vaudun priest, she adds his name to her list of suspects.
Arriving home, Anita gets a call from Dolph. They've found Benjamin. He is in Burrell Cemetery, dead. Anita thinks the creature might be nearby, but she won't be able to tell until full dark.
Anita meets up with Irving Griswold at his job. She gets him to look up information on Harold so that she can get some background on the man. They agree to meet up at Dead Dave's.
Later, Anita heads to the Riverfront and meets Irving, who brings along a thick folder. He tries to get Anita to give him information on the Master of the City, but she will not tell him. Luther gives them drinks and tells Anita that the master is looking for her, piquing Irving's interest, but Anita is mum. Dave comes out and urges both her and Irving to leave.
They leave but are detained by Jean-Claude who wants to talk to Anita about her human servant status. Anita eventually gets him to agree to tomorrow night and Irving stays behind to get an interview with Jean-Claude.
Anita returns to Burrell Cemetery to try to find an empty grave with her affinity for the dead. Dolph is present with two zombie exterminators, strapped with napalm. She finds the empty grave and takes samples to show Evans.
Anita arrives at Evans' trailer and gets him to read the chipped gravestone marker. He refuses at first, but then reads it and sees a woman killed, throat slashed, in order to raise the zombie. There is a charm bracelet on her wrist. he then kicks Anita out of the trailer.
That night, Anita is awakened from her dream by two zombies sent to kill her by Dominga Salvadore. With the help of police that came later, she manages to stave them off. But her beloved penguins appear to be ruined. There is blood everywhere and bullet holes in her walls.
Anita gives her statement to Dolph and suggests Dominga's involvement, but she cannot prove it. All Dolph can promise is a warrant to search her house in 48 hours. Anita takes it. Zerbrowski notes that she collects penguins. Her "secret" is out.
Any murder done by supernatural means, if it can be proved, is an automatic death sentence. Anita hopes she can find proof of Dominga's intent as she goes to rent out a room in The Stouffer Concourse. While there, she showers, orders coffee and peruses Harold Gaynor's file. She sees further reference to Wheelchair Wanda. She calls John Burke and leaves a message and calls Irving to make sure he is alright.
Anita meets up with Ronnie at her apartment and the two go out jogging. Anita brings a derringer. They bump into Pete and Seymour, thugs hired by Bruno to bring Anita and Ronnie to a building off Grand on Washington. However, Anita and Ronnie subdue both men and take their guns. They then have dinner at The Miller's Daughter in Old St. Charles.
Anita goes to The Laughing Corpse to meet with Jean-Claude as promised. Willie McCoy brings her inside to wait for Jean-Claude. While waiting, The Amazing Albert and his zombie Ernie were putting on a comedy act. Ernie nearly kills Albert before Anita saves him. Charles shows up as per her phone call to accompany her to the Tenderloin, but she needs to see Jean-Claude first.
Anita enters Jean-Claude's office and he proceeds to talk to her about her human servant status. Anita is less than cooperative.
Charles tells Anita he cannot come with her to the tenderloin, and Anita gets Jean-Claude to come with her instead.
Anita and Jean-Claude make it to the Tenderloin and proceed to look for Wheelchair Wanda. Jean-Claude "accidentally" be-spells one of the prostitutes because with Anita, his human servant nearby, he is that much stronger.
They find Wanda in front of The Grey Cat and get her to agree to come with them.
Anita tries to get Wanda to cooperate and give information about Harold, but ends up having to use Jean-Claude as a scare tactic. When Wanda breaks down, Anita sends Jean-Claude into her bedroom, much to his delight. Wanda then tells Anita about the perversions Harold did with her as well as the fact that he is illegitimate and getting a voodoo priest to raise his dead relatives up and get their treasure from them.
Dolph calls that morning to tell Anita that there's been another killer zombie murder. She goes to meet with him. She also got a message on her machine from John Burke. She will meet with him later.
Anita arrives on the scene where Dolph, Zerbrowski, Perry and Merlioni are already on the scene. Anita and Merlioni have a contest of wills to see who can gross the other out more wit the crime scene. Anita wins. But she throws up as well.
Dolph checks on Anita in the bathroom and they compare notes on the case.
Anita and John Burke go to the morgue to check on Peter's effects. Anita greets the guard, Fred on the way in. They find a gris-gris among his belongings, which would boost his ability to raise the dead. However, according to John, it was made by killing someone else. Anita sees a musical charm in the gris-gris and concludes she has found the reason the woman that Evans had a vision of was killed.
Anita confirms it when she has the medical examiner, Marian Saville look to see if a woman came in the morgue with a slit throat. When Dr. Saville leaves, Anita tells John of her suspicions of Dominga and promises him he can be there when the police come in.
The cops go to Dominga's house with the warrant. While they videotape it, Anita puts the gris-gris on the ground and it crawls towards Dominga, indicating a link to her. Antiono panics and is lead out to the kitchen, and then the cops go downstairs to search the basements, which are now clean. Somehow, Dominga absorbs the charm back into her body, and most of Anita's evidence disappears. Only the videotape and Antonio's confession remain
Going back to the housing complex where the zombie was last seen, Anita joins in the police search. Her partners are Ki, a male Asian cop, and Roberts, a small blonde female cop. She realizes at the last moment that the zombie is hiding in one of the garbage containers. Another set of cops find it and it kills them. Anita manages to catch up to it and discovers that it was once an animator. It tries to kill her as well, but it is set on fire by the exterminators.
Anita is treated in the emergency room of the hospital. Dolph assures her that she did a good job and Zerbrowski offers to drive her home
Anita is driven home by the cops, feeling a little woozy because of the medication from the hospital. When she arrives, she is kidnapped by Tommy and Bruno, who drug her again.
Anita wakes up in Harold Gaynor's home. They drugged her with Thorazin. Combined with the painkiller she'd taken, she was out for 24 hours. Harold informs her she will do the zombie raising after all. He gets Bruno to rough her up, and she gets beat up by him, but manages to pop his knee out with a kick. She escapes, grinding her knee into Tommy's groin, but it stopped by Dominga's zombie creature. Dominga will make a spell of compulsion to make Anita do the zombie raising.
Wanda is brought into the same room as Anita by Bruno. Anita is tied up, but when Bruno leaves, Anita convinces Wanda to untie her. She is unable to finish when Tommy comes in. Wanda fakes unconsciousness. Tommy is about to rape Anita in order to convince her to do the zombie raising, but her hands are free enough to pop out his eye. While he panics, Anita beats him to death with a chair. Then she and Wanda escape.
As Anita and Wanda try to escape, Cicely shoots at Anita. Anita kills Cicely. They turn a corner, and bump into Dominga's monster.
The monster attacks, but before it can do too much damage, Anita stops it with her own necromancy, ordering it as if it were simply another zombie. She and Wanda then exit the house, but are unable to continue, because Dominga's spell is complete. Anita is under her power now.
Anita leaves Wanda behind, because it isn't covered in the spell. However, Enzo goes back to fetch her. Dominga makes her prepare to raise the dead. Anita has her ask Gaynor one question and Dominga finds out that she raised an animator, which is why her spell didn't work the first time. Anita is ordered to raise the dead, but instead of killing Wanda, she kills Enzo and Bruno. The power allows her to call the entire cemetery and she uses them to kill Harold and Dominga before putting them to rest. Jean-Claude appears, having been called by her power as well.
The bodies of Harold and Dominga were never found. Wanda waits tables at a restaurant. Anita went to Catherine's wedding with the bruises from her ordeal, but makeup saved the day. Jean-Claude sends another dozen white roses and tries to invite her to the ballet. She refuses. Anita is coming to terms with the fact that she is now a necromancer in truth.