So the story opens with Anita sitting at her desk at Animator's Inc. Does this mean that we'll actually have a case intersecting with her REAL JOB? Oh, don't be silly.
My gun was digging into my back, so I shifted forward in my office chair. That was better; now it was just the comforting pressure of the inner-skirt holster, tucked away underneath my short royal blue suit jacket.
One sentence. ONE SENTENCE into the story, and already LKH is waving Anita's metal substitute penis in our faces to let us know that SHE'S SO TOUGH SHE TALKS ABOUT GUNS CASUALLY AND STUFF! Is there a REASON she has to keep her guns latched to her person instead of, say, putting them in a drawer in her desk? Aside from needing something to whine about?
Anyway, Anita wanks on for awhile about those annoying clients who actually expect her to WORK for money. Apparently they don't like it when she sits there rattling with potentially deadly weapons, because they're all uptight Christian monogamous weenies who only like guns when they need Anita to defend them. Or, you know, maybe they don't trust the crazy homicidal mafia bitch who uses weapons to compensate for her penis envy. Just a thought.
So then Mary, the secretary, comes in. I have no idea who this character is, since the only previous mention of her that I can remember is when she freaked out (in past tense) after a head was mailed to the office.
And because Mary has a vagina, Anita is a huge bitch about her. Ah, the smell of feminism: hatred for women if they don't act like men. And if they do act like men, then sneer at them because they have to TRY, unlike Anita!
She’d finally let her hair go gray, but it was still in the same obviously artificial hairdo that it had always been.
- Apparently Anita thinks that hair naturally grows into ponytails, braids and buns.
- Hey, Anita? NATHANIEL'S HAIRDO IS OBVIOUSLY ARTIFICIAL, nyah nyah nyah nyah!
- Ah, so she's now FINALLY letting herself look like a sloppy hag instead of clinging to youth with hair dye and stuff! How pathetic!
- Not like Laurell K. Hamilton, who at 50+ has not a single speck of gray and a face like a baby's bottom! She's not OLD or anything! I'm sure it's natural!
She’d let herself get a little plump as she neared sixty and had finally embraced glasses full time.
Ugh, OLDER people who wear contacts instead of looking like an elderly librarian! So gross!
The combination of it all had aged her about ten years, but she seemed happy with it, saying, ‘I’m a grandma; I’m okay with looking like one.’
Thank God she isn't pathetically clinging to youth or anything. Have contempt for people in their fifties who don't happily embrace sexless grannyhood! Once you reach menopause, you should immediately shun hair dye, wear glasses and get fat! If you don't, you'll annoy all the young people! You're OLD! Act like it!
Yeah, this is grotesquely ageist. We should love Anita for being openly racist, misandrist, misogynist, ageist, AND she's probably also ableist. Hard to tell when the series has no disabled people anymore.
And it's hilariously hypocritical as well. Why? Because Laurell K. Hamilton is middle-aged. At the time of writing this, she is at least fifty years old and is pretty obviously (judging from her tweets) going through menopause. Not only does she obviously color her hair religiously (it's not even the same color as it was in her younger days), but she is not that much younger than the character she sneeringly refers to as "finally" letting herself look like a stereotypical grandma.
Oh, and LKH? Not all people in their late fifties are grannies and/or look like it. Being mutton dressed as lamb is a bad thing (and you're the poster child), but it doesn't mean that middle age needs to be an instant transition into elderly nana undesirability, frumpy florals and gray buns. You're gonna find that out in a few years.
Let's see a show of hands? Anybody think she's gonna "finally" stop coloring her hair, let herself get fat and wear glasses all the time in another five years? Or do you think she's gonna keep dying her hair, plastering makeup on her face, wearing clothes from Hot Topic and regularly blogging about how she listens to the same music as the kids these days?
"I didn’t want to tell you over the phone with all the clients listening," she said.
"Tell me what?" I asked, and fought the urge not to raise my voice. She was about one more uninformative answer away from getting yelled at.
She's only GIVEN you one answer in total, you contemptible screeching bitch. And for someone who is incapable of having a conversation of straight back-and-forth dialogue without "Let me test my understanding....", repetition and demands for word definition, she sure is demanding that OTHER people tell her stuff right away.
Mary reveals that there's a woman on the line who claims to be Anita's future mother-in-law, because Anita is currently living with her son.
I was actually living with several men, but most of them didn’t have families to use words like son.
Then again, how would she know? It's not like she cares about their family life.
‘Name, Mary, what’s her name?’ My voice was rising a little.
"How DARE you tell me what you heard on the phone without psychically knowing the exact details I wanted! SERVANTS, COME FLOG THIS OLD HAG!"
Mary says the woman's name is Beatrice Morgan, and Anita protests, "I’m not living with anyone named Morgan. I’ve never even dated anyone with that last name." Really? Because given the number of ardeur-fueled orgies where she fucked complete strangers, it's entirely possible that she's fucked someone named Morgan. And since she apparently lives in that house from the first season of Sister Wives, I could totally see people just moving in without her even noticing.
"Anita, this house isn't fabulous enough for Nathaniel!"
Mary persists that the woman said that the boyfriend's father is hurt and possibly dying, so she wants him to know. Maybe the woman is crazy, maybe she's just hysterical with grief.
"I didn’t want to just write her off as crazy; I mean, I don’t know the last names of everyone you’re dating."
"Especially since you get new ones every week. I mean, last week you fucked the coffee boy in front of our clients, then took him home."
"Are you saying I'm a slut? WELL YOU'RE OLD!"
Anita pretty obviously doesn't give a shit about the woman, especially when she finds out the guy's name is Mike, and she'd NEVER date someone with a name like Mike Morgan. She's only interested in guys with pretentious Goth names, old-timey names or the names of Belgian kickboxers.
I shook my head. "I’ve never dated a Mike Morgan. I don’t know why she called here, but she’s got the wrong Anita Blake."
"Really? Because she said you have dozens of other boyfriends and he might have gotten lost in the shuffle."
"Oh yeah? Well I bet they have HUNDREDS of sex partners, which means I'm totally chaste!"
"She doesn’t sound crazy, just upset."
"You know that crazy doesn’t mean the emotion isn’t real, Mary. Sometimes the delusion is so real they believe it all."
- For example, Anita is crazy, and her emotions of hate, horniness, hate, bitterness and hate are very real!
- This woman has been fielding calls at a fucking zombie-raising business for countless years, and ANITA is lecturing her on the difference between "crazy" and "upset"? Shut up, beyotch.
- And yes, Anita DOES seem like a prime bitch in this scene. A woman - possibly mentally ill, possibly NOT - is trying to reach her son, and Anita's all, "Either she's crazy or has the wrong person, so I don't give a shit."
Mary goes away, and Anita begins looking at the client appointments that she will NOT be going to because LKH hates the idea of her Sue having to follow any orders. She also babbles about laws about not letting zombies be raised until the legal will shit has been sorted out. Does this have anything to do with the story? FUCK NO. It's all filler, all the time.
Then Mary comes back in and reveals that the man's name is actually... MICAH.
Yeah, apparently "Mike" was his nickname as a kid because... well, the only people named "Micah" that I know of come from crazy religious households who only use names from the Bible. And Anita, being so worldly and smart, didn't ever consider that sometimes women don't have the same surnames as their children.
"Mrs Callahan, I mean, Mrs Morgan, this is Anita Blake."
"Just so you know, I will hate and despise you for being a woman. It's nothing personal."
"... thanks, I'll keep that in mind."
"YOU SUCK FOR HAVING A VAGINA!"
Beatrice reveals that she wasn't thinking, because she's been remarried for eighteen years, and everybody in his family knew Micah as "Mike." I question why he changed his nickname as an adult, except that Anita would never fuck a "Mike" any more than she would fuck a fat guy or a black guy.
She was crying softly, I could hear it in her voice, but her words were clear, well enunciated. It made me wonder what she did for a living, but I didn’t ask.
- ... why does she give a fuck?
- And why does she think good enunciation MUST be part of her job, instead of just "speekin good?"
- Why does she even assume an older married woman DOES anything for a living?
- And why am I expecting any kind of knowledge of enunciation from a woman who pronounces "noir" as "noor?"
It could wait; it was just one of the thoughts you have when you’re trying not to get caught up in the emotions of a situation. Think, don’t feel, just think.
Yes, wait until the funeral to interrogate the grieving woman about what her job is.
"Hey, Mrs. Morgan, what's your job?"
"Your job. I assume you have one because I'm an empowered enlightened feminist who looks down on women who choose not to work outside the home."
"I'm only asking because you enunciate your words so good, and that MUST have something to do with your job."
"This is so inappropriate! They're actually lowering my ex-husband's corpse into the ground RIGHT NOW."
"Yeah, but he's not dying anymore. I totally waited a whole two days to ask you that question."
So to sum-up, Beatrice's ex-husband Rush was attacked by a zombie, and now he's infected with some sort of... zombie disease that is rotting his body away. Anita, being an expert in all zombie matters, is smug rather than being freaked out.
"Zombies rarely attack people."
- The same is true of gorillas. Doesn't mean it NEVER happens.
- Yes, because the authorities wouldn't TELL Beatrice that zombies rarely attack people.
- No, the only person who could tell her this is the sooper zombie expert, because only a sooper zombie expert could know something like that!
- Fuck, Anita is smug and uncaring in this scene. I hate her.
In fact, Beatrice shouts at Anita that she knows already. I think I love this woman.
Then she reveals that when Micah left, he deliberately said hurtful, nasty things to his whole family so Chimera wouldn't come after them. Chimera really was a busy person, wasn't he? I mean, he multitasked like a boss!
"When Mike left us he was so horrible, but Rush said he’d found out that Mike did it to protect all of us and that some of the people had their families hurt by these people."
- ... and you found out this information... how?
- Yes, never tell us what horrible nasty things he said to his family. I bet LKH can't come up with any coherent insults that bad.
- I mean, this is a series where cutting your hair is a sign of mental illness, and one of the worst things you can say about someone is "they won't SHARE!" (sexually).
And behold more bad writing! Yes, we had the possibility for Micah confronting the people he intentionally pissed off, and who have been angry at him for years. We had the chance to see this character actually get some development past "I'm a huge weenie with a huge weenie!" by showing him suffering and working things out with his family members, and setting up the framework to rebuild his relationships.
Instead, we're assured in the FIRST CHAPTER that his family magically knows why he slagged them off, and they totally aren't mad at him. No conflict! No character development! Fuck my life!
‘Rush wouldn’t tell me details, said it was a police matter. He was always doing that when we were married, drove me nuts, but he said that he’d found out enough"
Found out how?
No, seriously, where did he get this information? The fucking Federal Marshals haven't even figured out after all these years that Chimera is even DEAD, and this random cop in Colorado has found out ALL the information about Chimera, his MO and the people he was persecuting? ARE WE ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO BUY THIS CRAP?
She hadn’t been married to the man for nearly twenty years, and she was still this upset.
Not like me! I only feign grief over the former boytoys I personally kill!
I was remembering that Micah’s dad was a sheriff of some flavor,
It might have chocolate, or maybe mint. Yes, a mint-flavored sheriff.
I’d had to kill people to rescue Micah and his group, and I hadn’t had a warrant of execution, so it was murder.
But I didn't feel any guilt about it, because all my boytoys told me I'm wonderful.
No, she's actually worried that Micah's dad has found out so much about it, apparently because he's fucking Sherlock Holmes. Yes, the man is rotting to death from a freak zombie attack that shouldn't have even happened, and all she cares about is whether he can incriminate HER. Our heroine.
I knew that Micah hadn’t talked to his family in years, so how had his dad found out, and how much did he know?
Don't worry, the answers to this are coming NEVER.
Yeah, in a good book by someone like Kim Harrison or Jim Butcher, this would be the lead-in to some kind of interesting subplot, like maybe a dastardly government agency that Rush had gotten involved in. But here, it's just filler and an unanswered question that will never be answered because that would be dangerously close to PLOT.
It was my turn to take a deep breath and make myself stop being so damn paranoid and deal with the crying woman on the other end of the phone.
"Stop crying, you stupid woman! You are worthy of my contempt because you are crying with grief! And men would never do that!"
"Mrs Morgan, Mrs Morgan, how did you know to call here? Who gave you this number?"
- ... um, she probably looked it up on the Internet.
- This question would make sense if she had called Anita's personal number... but she called Anita's OFFICE number.
- See, office numbers tend to be publicly disseminated as much as possible because... you want people to call your office so you can do business with them and MAKE MONEY. You do not keep it secret except to a rare few who are in the know.
- Then again, I can understand why LKH wouldn't realize this, since she thinks it's perfectly reasonable for Anita to become wealthy by NOT WORKING.
- As for "how" she knows to call there... previous books have established that Anita is a massive tabloid celebrity whose love life is of massive interest, and Micah is a public figure who is one if her main squeezes. They do not attempt to hide this.
- Again: INTERNET. Give me five minutes, and I can find out the publicly-acknowledged lover of any celebrity you can name. Sometimes the unacknowledged ones too.
I'm actually sort of right. Well, not about the Internet - the Anita Blake series exists in a weird timewarp where it is 1986 95% of the time, and 2000-something the rest of the time. So she saw this stuff on TV.
"We saw Mike in the news as the head of the Coalition."
"The Coalition for Better Understanding between humans and shapeshifters," I said.
"Uh, yeah. I clearly meant that, since Micah is only the head of ONE Coalition."
"Micah Callahan, your son, whom I am fucking."
"What other Micah would I be referring to?"
"I'm just stupidly infodumping for the benefit of the two new readers of this book."
I wondered if the stories had talked about Nathaniel, the guy who lived with us, or the fact that I was also ‘dating’ Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire of St Louis? I almost never watched the news, so I didn’t always know what was being said in the media about any of us.
Excuse me for a second.
The answer is YES, YES, FUCK YES. Is Anita stupid enough to think that in modern America, the news wouldn't gleefully tell EVERYONE the salacious details of a useless celebrity's sex life? Especially if that sex life involved multiple OTHER public figures?
For further clarification.... we live in a world where CNN eagerly tells us about Kim Kardashian's pregnancy, divorce, delivery and baby name. Not E! News, but CNN, who once at least pretended to be a real news service.
If you need this spelled out, this is the equivalent of the aforementioned Kim Kardashian (since she's dumpy and has no real job, like Anita) being in an out-and-proud polyandrous relationship with the vampire John F. Kennedy and the (non-black) were-Martin Luther King Jr., several strippers/porn stars, Legolas and Aragorn, weretiger Justin Bieber, the Phanom of the Opera, etc.
You think THAT scenario would get some attention in the news?
And yes, you ARE welcome for that image.</span>
Which raises the question: has the media found out about her high-school concubine and the fun activity of Anita being sent hot men for her harem by were-groups? Because I somehow doubt that there are NO disgruntled minor vamps/weres who wouldn't happily sell all the seedy details to a tabloid.
Anita asks why she didn't just call the Coalition... wait, you mean that social activist groups don't keep their phone numbers secret?! I am shocked.
Also, Beatrice already told her that Micah said horrible things to alienate his family. A person with an ounce of empathy might figure out that his mother was A LITTLE HURT BY THIS and she's too emotionally vulnerable to risk another verbal barrage. Then again, look at how Anita treats HER family.
"Can you please tell him, and then if Mike wants to see us, to see Rush, before ... in time ... I mean ... Oh, God, I’m usually better than this, but it’s so terrible what’s happening to Rush, so hard to watch."
"Happening? What do you mean?"
... does Anita have some sort of brain damage that keeps her from forming new short-term memories? Beatrice TOLD HER about two minutes ago.
"He’s rotting ... he’s rotting alive and aware and the doctors can’t stop it. They have drugs that can slow it, but nothing slows it down much."
"I’m sorry, I don’t understand. You mean that something preternatural attacked Mr Callahan and now he’s got some disease?"
YES. YES, YOU STUPID BIMBO OF NO VIRTUE.
The woman told you less than ten minutes ago that her ex-husband was attacked by a zombie and was rotting to death from a mystery disease. There are only a few ways this can be interpreted:
- Anita has brain damage.
- Anita is so stupid she can't absorb simple information.
- Anita is so stupid she can't remember simple information.
- Anita is so stupid that while she can absorb information, she cannot understand it unless it contains the words "enormous penis."
- BECAUSE SHE'S STUPID.
- LKH is padding this out as much as possible because "Micah's dad has a zombie disease, mkay?" is the only point of the whole chapter.
Holy fuck, why was this fuckery not edited?
Amazingly, Beatrice doesn't point out that she's said all this before. She also informs us that this is the "first case outside the East Coast" of this mysterious zombie disease. So.... there have been multiple cases of zombies attacking people and causing them to rot away and die... and nobody has called Anita Blake, supposedly the greatest preternatural expert EVER, plus a professional zombie-raiser AND a necromancer?
One might suspect that maybe, just maybe, Anita's not quite as important as she thinks she is.
You know what a much better way for this opener to go would be? THE FEDS calling Anita because they need her zombie expertise, because of a new "zombie disease" that is rotting the victims. When she gets home to pack, Micah tells her that his dad is one of the victims. That way there's a personal stake AND it doesn't make Anita look like a derpy has-been.
"I overheard a nurse call it the zombie disease, but she got in trouble for saying it. The older nurse said, “Don’t give it a name that the media will love.” I heard doctors whispering that it’s just a matter of time before it hits the news."
Yeah, like a whole FIVE MINUTES. Does LKH really think that some relative of the patients' wouldn't tell a newspaper?
"Why do they call it the zombie disease?" I asked, partly to just give myself time to think.
Because you gain the power of levitation. WHY THE FUCK DO YOU THINK?
The actual reason is that it makes you rot alive, and Rush is only the second person that they have been able to treat enough to prolong his life.
"Mrs Morgan, there are questions I want to ask, but I’m afraid they’ll upset you more."
"Ask, just ask," she said.
I took in a deep breath, let it out slow, and finally said, "You said prolong. For how long?"
... that's not a really upsetting question. And if you're wondering, that is the ONLY question Anita asks.
"Give me an address, phone numbers, and I’ll tell Micah."
- ... why does she need an address? Presumably Micah can find the family homestead without directions.
- And why does she need phone numbers, plural?
- Does he need to call EVERYBODY in his extended family?
Anita feels she can't promise that they'll be there because Micah has spent a whole ten years being estranged from his family. Uh... Chimera is dead. Micah knows this. Why didn't he reconnect to the fam and explain himself YEARS AGO? Oh right, because if it doesn't exist in Anita's sight, it isn't real.
Just because I’d have gotten on a plane for my semi-estranged family didn’t mean he’d do the same.
- Wow, she thinks her boyfriend is a big dick.
- Insert large penis joke here.
- Insert joke about the word "insert" being associated with the phrase "big penis."
- No, there is no reason for Anita to be estranged from her family. The only reason they are semi-estranged is that she hates her stepmother and stepsister for the same reasons that a six-year-old would.
- And please, Anita would get on a plane for her semi-estranged family? Whenever they're mentioned, she does nothing but talk about how much she hates and disdains them. Why would I believe that she would do ANYTHING for anyone in her family?
Then LKH realizes that Anita has had an entire conversation with a WOMAN without being misogynistic. Time to fix that!
"Thank you, thank you so much. I knew it was the right thing to do to call another woman. We manage the men so much more than they think, don’t we?"
Yes, this is totally a natural comment by a woman who is hysterical over the impending death of her lover/ex-husband and frantic to contact her son.
"Actually Micah manages me more than the other way around."
"Because I'm manly! Anything you attribute to MANLY MEN must also be attributed to me!"
"Uh... okay... real men are stupid."
"Well, I'm super stupid! I'm the stupidest! All you girlie girls wish you were as stupid as I am!"
"Oh, is it because you’re police like Rush? Is it more about the badge than being a man?"
Ah, so cops are stupid and easily manipulated, hence more easily "managed." Of course!
Oh, and I want to kick something whenever someone claims that Anita is a cop or a marshal. She's not. You get to be a cop with knowledge, experience, discipline and ability - none of which Anita has.
Anita then lies about how she'll TOTALLY bring Micah, which causes Mrs. Morgan to start spouting off about how that SHOWS Anita "manages" Micah. Amazingly, Anita manages to not heap hate and scorn on the hysterical woman chattering about random shit, like she usually does. This makes me suspicious. She has to show intolerance and loathing SOMEHOW!