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Skin Trade Chapter 5

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After four chapters of yapping, talking and blahblahing, Anita finally does something…. sit on a place, shake hands and TALK OH MAN STOP THE YAPPING PLEEEEEEEE....


THE PLANE LANDED in Vegas without me having hysterics. Brownie point for me.

I always feel so warm and fuzzy when we're presented with a strong female character who can take care of herself without the necessary hysterics. Everybody marvel at Anita's tuffness!

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The really sad thing was that I flew better now if I had someone next to me, so while I was happy for some privacy, I also missed a boyfriend’s hand to hold.

So basically our Tuff Strong Heroine cannot cope with a simple plane ride unless she has a big strong man soothing her brow with a silken hanky dipped in nectar, and distracting her with offers to join the Mile High Club. My hero(ine).

At least she didn't call them "sweeties." gag


I couldn’t want to run away from them all and miss them, could I? I mean, that made no sense even to me.

So basically she's admitting that Anita's wangsting and howling and whining makes no sense, and that nothing in these books DOES make sense, since a nonsensical contradiction makes no sense "EVEN" to her.

… and people wonder why I snark these books.


St. Louis is hot, but Vegas is hotter.

Let newcomers note: The Anita Blake series is full of these marvelous insights that nobody other than LKH could have come up with. Apparently nobody could have thought that a state containing DEATH FREAKING VALLEY might be hotter than pretty much anywhere else in the country.

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They can say it’s a dry heat, but so is an oven. It was so hot that it took my breath away for a second. It was like my body just went, You’re joking, right?

One of the best things about LKH's books is her ability to make you feel like you're there, and evoke pictures with her words. Like a vapid mallgoing thirteen-year-old who uses the word "like" a lot.


I slipped on sunglasses, as if that would make any difference to the heat, but it did help with the brightness.

Generally sunglasses work that way. I've never heard of any that cool your entire body down. If you find a pair that does anything OTHER than help with brightness, let me know.

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Shaw was a big guy, with a hand that swallowed mine when we shook.

Lest you forget, Anita is so teeny-tiny that she has to sleep in baby onesies and regularly gets lost in tall grass.


His eyes were lost to me behind mirrored sunglasses, but then my eyes were lost to him, too.

Why? Does she wanna gaze long and hard into them, and compare them to pools of something?


Sunglasses may look cool,

Does she also still think that Tom Cruise is cool?


but they hide one of the best ways to decipher another person.

Or… maybe, just maybe… the dude is wearing sunglasses because it's freaking NEVADA in the daytime. Heaven forbid he simply wear sunglasses because his retinas would shrivel like raisins otherwise. No, it must be to HIDE his eyes from the all-seeing Whorenita.

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People can lie with a lot of themselves, but eyes can give a lot away—sometimes not by what they show you but when they go their most hidden. You can judge a lot by what a person wants to hide.

Evidently LKH has been reading up from random webpages about body language… and by that, I mean bleeding obvious.


Of course, we were all standing in the middle of a desert, so maybe the glasses weren’t for hiding anything, just for comfort.

Wow, ya think? Shocking idea - maybe people AREN'T hiding their true intentions when they wear sunglasses in the desert in the summer in the middle of the day… MAYBE… just maybe… they're doing it to avoid burning out their eyes! Such a weird idea! Naaaahhhh, it's just too out there.

If they were INSIDE and someone wore sunglasses, she might have something to be concerned about. As it is, she seems like somebody who regards every engine sputter as a car bomb, every surly man as a hired thug, and every unlit room as a trap. Seriously, LKH's attempts to make Anita seem experienced and edgy just comes across as random paranoid nattering from someone who needs to reline their tinfoil hat.

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Here's something that LKH might want to consider researching: Occam and his magical razor.


“Sorry, Sheriff, but once a warrant of execution is in effect and the hunt begins, I’m legally bound to keep my kit in sight, or secured by me, or with me watching, in an area out of sight of the general public.”

… and all the fuss about it ensures that we will never see her use her "kit" or any of the vast store of weapons she brought.


I nodded at the lieutenant. “I’m impressed you know that.”

Lest you forget, cops are dummies who wouldn't know anything about the LAW. Only Anita does!


He actually smiled. “We’ve been going in with our local executioner for a year. It’s our job to know if the law has changed.”

Which raises the simple question… why is Anita telling this, if it's their job to know?


I didn’t say out loud that a lot of police still treated the preternatural branch of the marshal service as a lesser unit, or maybe an embarrassment.

One of the many things that doesn't make any fucking sense in the ABverse - that even though lycanthropes and vampires have existed for centuries and everyone has KNOWN about them for centuries, there is no big tough law-enforcement agency that is respected.

Presumably this is to cement Anita's status as the lone-wolf outsider that is underestimated by all the MEAN MEAN EVIL COPS, but it makes no sense. Realistically, that would be one of the main branches of federal government and would be given a lot of funding so vampires wouldn't take over Congress or something like that. Not to mention that they'd want their own squads of vampires and weres to subdue criminals, not a tiny whiny woman who likes to wave around phallic weapons.

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It's understandable in some other urban fantasy series - say Jim Butcher, where the supernatural exists but is not acknowledged by the masses. In that series, it makes SENSE that a preternatural branch would be ridiculed.

But then Anita couldn't be top dog in a realistically-portrayed branch focusing on the supernatural, and she couldn't constantly whine about how badly people treat her.


I couldn’t really blame the attitude; some of us were little better than assassins with badges, but the rest of us did our best.

More precisely: "Some of us were little better than assassins with badges, but all the others do their best." Anita's not a cop, and she kills lots of people for money... and sometimes just because she's decided they should die.

Anyway, Anita prattles on and on about some other vampire hunter who left his weapons in the back of his car, which they were stolen from. Frankly, I think it's just another opportunity for her to natter on knowledgeably about stuff that will clearly never impact the plot.


Shaw looked at the heavy equipment bags. “You can’t carry all that on a hunt. Some of those bags must weigh more than you do.”

SHE'S TEENY TINY, I SAY! Did I mention she's also supposed to weigh a hundred and ten pounds, but has ginormous boobies, a wasp waist and thighs that rub together? Plus at least twenty pounds of hair?

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“I’ll store them, then take what I need for the hunt. I’ll get it down to a backpack and some weapons.”

Translation: I'll bring along a couple guns and knives that I won't use, and fill up a backpack with condoms that I also won't use so I can have more contrived pregnancy scares.


Grimes gave me that smile again; I still wasn’t sure if it was a real smile or his version of cop face. Some give a blank face, some give smiles, but all police have a face you cannot read.

Or maybe it's not "cop face", but a simple straightforward fake smile. You know, the fake smile you paste on when Granny comes to visit and tells you how much you've grown, or a total stranger starts telling you their life story, or a short whiny egomaniac comes swanning in with a dozen boytoys and decides to start giving orders...

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He took his hat off and wiped some of the sweat, showing that his haircut was shorter than the SWAT.

So his haircut is shorter than a gang of grown men? That means his hair is… what, under five foot ten inches?


I’d expected more speed when I hit the ground. Everyone was being way too calm

Which is kinda ridiculous coming from a woman who spent the last FOUR chapters nattering on the phone, lusting after Jason's penis, and looking at pictures.


There’d be time for emotion later, maybe. Sometimes you keep putting off an emotional reaction until it just becomes moot. It becomes just one more thing that you couldn’t afford to let yourself feel.

…. and of course, they couldn't possibly be tuffer than Anita, who never shows more than a flicker of emotion after horribly killing someone. No, they're just hiding it before they have weepy fits in public. And she's so hardcore she knows all about not feeling anything after horrible events.

Then Anita gets to brush of a MEAN SEXIST COP who dares to try to carry her ginormous bag of weapons. She puts him in his place by ordering him to get her luggage (i.e. GUUUUUURRRL stuff like clothes and hygienic products… not that she'll use either of those, what with her being so manly).

Then they pile into an SUV full of assorted assault… stuff. Evidently LKH doesn't think that a SWAT team is as important as her Mary Sue, because she doesn't describe it except to say there's a vest and some helmets.


“Aftermarket add-on?” I asked.

Presumably this is meant to make Anita look like some sort of arms expert. Instead it makes her look like a poser moron who doesn't know that SUVs rarely come with gun safes.

Anyway, they all pile in and the back is full of Anita's vast armory of phallic weapons. And of course since competence = stereotypical machismo in the LKHverse, we're reminded that Anita is so manly she pisses testosterone.

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"The pilot said this is all the luggage.”
“It is,” I said.
“Three bags, longer than you are tall, full of weapons, but only one suitcase for clothes,” Rocco said.

So she crammed three big bags full of weapons, bags that are more than FIVE AND A HALF FEET LONG, and whose contents are (by her own admission) 95% extraneous? And even though they're bigger than her teeny-weeny self, she takes it as a sign of sexism that someone tries to help her with the one she's lugging around?


They all sort of nodded as they worked to find room for the suitcase in the back. I’d learned a long time ago that if you packed like a girl, you lost brownie points with the police.

Because obviously packing like a GUUUURRRRRLLLL means packing more clothes, toiletries and basic stuff for an indefinite stay in an unfamiliar city…. than phallic weapons you aren't gonna use anyway. And of course, cops would be impressed by a total lack of packing common sense. Common sense is GUUUURRRRLLY. It's better to bring a truckload of crap you aren't gonna use and which is only going to bog you down, because it makes you look MANLY.

In other words, Anita seems to be admitting that

  1. She's feeding the perceived sexism of others, and 
  2. She isn't gonna actually USE the weapons. She just brought them to impress the Big Boys because she doesn't have the skills or smarts to do it with actual actions.
  3. For all her wannabe-rebel attitude, she desperately cares what other people think of her.


Not to mention the toxic insistence that there's no equality between the sexes - men will never respect women unless the women pretend to be men. And even then, the men will constantly be on the lookout for any unmanly behavior, so they can point and laugh. Frankly, any real cops or SWAT who encountered someone like Anita would be making little twirly motions next to their heads. You know, like the rest of the human race.


The idea was to try to be one of the guys; that meant you did not bring your entire wardrobe on a job.

Only GUUUURRRRRLLLS bring clothes when traveling. MANLY MEN will show up naked except for all their guns!


Besides, it was the continental United States; there’d be a mall somewhere if I ran out of clean clothes.

Clean clothes? Who cares about clean clothes? Better to walk around in a soup of semen, sweat and various other bodily bluids. If they aren't weres, nobody can smell you.

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Highest rank usually rode in front, or in back. Depended on the officer.

Everybody marvel at all the police trivia that LKH "knows." You know, the person unfamiliar with the term "Special Forces." She knows so much!

Anyway, Anita starts babbling about how the car has sooooooo many weapons in it and how "boomy and fiery things" make her nervous and she doesn't like explosives. That surprises me, because she seems to LOVE destruction and death. But apparently she doesn't like deadly destructive stuff if there's even the slightest chance she might get her wittle self hurt too. Boohoo.

Then she reminds us that SHOCK she still hasn't seen Shaw's eyes. I don't know why she even cares. So while he's talking with a bunch of uniformed officers, she makes a snippy comment about,


“He does know we can still see him, right?” I said as we drove past.
“Yes,” Grimes said, “why?”
“Because suddenly he looks unhappy.”

Apparently cops are not allowed to look unhappy in public. After all, they all sweat machismo and drool sexism, meaning that they would never do anything as GUUUUUURRRRRLLL as ever show even a hint of unhappiness.

I'm shocked Anita didn't spring out of the car so she could make fun of him openly. I can easily imagine someone as sensitive and kindly as her dancing around pointing and shrieking, "Ahahahaha! He's looking SAD! Looooooser! Guuuurrrrl!"

But Grimes comments that they had lost some people (being a Sexist Meanie, he says that they "lost men"). So Anita, instead of saying that she's sorry or shutting up, tries to make it all about her:


“Nothing I can do will bring them back, but I will do everything I can to kill the vampire that did it.”

… unless he's a sad-eyed bishie with floor-length hair. Then she'll wag her finger sternly and threaten to not have sex with him if he does it again.

Grimes insists that they're there to save lives instead of taking them, but then Anita tries to prove that she's super-tuff and awesome by saying,


“I don’t save lives, Lieutenant, I take them.”

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Not to mention mass rape, murdering, running illegal underground organizations… I smell another example of Anita wangsting about her horrible, terrible job which is so morally awful. She won't quit, of course - she'll just wangst about it, and that will make it all okay.


Rocco said, “Don’t you believe that killing the vampires saves their future victims?”
I thought about it, then shook my head. “I used to, and it may even be true, but it just feels like I kill people.”

I might be more willing to buy her wangsting about how tewwible it feels to be, sniffsniff, killing people if she weren't obviously lying. Come on, Anita could easily quit her vampire-killing job if she wanted. But she doesn't even CONTEMPLATE the possibility. That tells you everything.

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Additionally, I somehow doubt that Whorenita has suddenly developed all these big BOOHOO doubts in the last month or so, since she has no compunction about literally RIPPING OUT THE HEART of a vampire, and having a cuddly moment with a serial killer while she did it. In the same book, incidentally, when she put a hit out on a man, his wife and child for refusing to break his marriage vows and screw her on command.

But what am I saying? The only time she now encounters a "dead" vampire is when they're naked in bed during the day - and she's just waiting for them to wake up and boink her.


“People,” he said, “not monsters.”
“Once I believed they were monsters.”
“And now?” Rocco asked.

Now she sees them as penises with bishies attached, or competition for the penises.


It might have been Vegas, but the landscape was more Anywhere, USA.

That pretty much describes the only settings that LKH ever writes. According to her, the entire US is a bland generic expanse of bland generic buildings filled with the same kind of bland generic racist sexist people.

Anyway, Hooper starts worrying that Anita is going to go all gooey over the vampires and feel too bad about killing Vittorio to avoid putting humans in danger. I can see why he's concerned - she's basically said, "Screw humans!" in the past, as she has screamy hyperorgasmic sex with half the vampires of St. Louis.

Since she is the SuperAwesomeMacho Anita Blake, Anita graciously assumes that the only reason anyone would EVER dare to ask such a question is if they were really upset. And daring to question her allegiances is obviously a sign that he's grieving. It couldn't possibly be that he's grieving AND has legitimate questions about how many more men might get killed because Anita decides to dither at the wrong moment.

But apparently Anita's had enough of pretending to be a moral person, because then she starts smirking and saying:


“I’ll kill your vampire for you, Grimes. I’ll kill anyone who helps him. I’ll kill everyone the warrant lets me kill. I’ll get revenge for your men.”

Hear that? She not only wants to kill Vittorio, but wants to KILL EVERYONE SHE'S ALLOWED TO. She doesn't care whether someone is innocent, guilty, or being manipulated by Vittorio - she just wants to kill as many people as she can. Somehow I imagine her saying the above line with crazy bloodshot eyes, drool on her chin, and fondling an Uzi while all the cops edge away uneasily.

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Our heroine, ladies and gents. A minute ago she was wangsting about how boohoo it just feels like murder whenever she executes someone, and now she's practically slavering at the opportunity to kill a whole bunch of people without repercussions. Doncha wish you were like her?


“We aren’t about vengeance,” Grimes said.
“I am,” I said.

Darn tootin'. Since about half of the series and her blog consists of LKH taking revenge on her ex-husband, her ex-friends, past editors, the military, the cops, blondes, tall women, and the entire female gender in general… I can definitely see that she's all about revenge.

And it's pretty obvious that not "being about vengeance" is supposed to be a weakness rather than a moral strength. Justice? Law? Pah, those things pale before THE REVENGE OF ANITA and her multitude of phallic weapons!

Then LKH pees on the good names of cops everywhere by having Anita basically tell off Grimes when he insists that they are supposed to be "the good guys" and uphold the law. Apparently he actually means this sentiment, which means he is a genuinely good guy. But that probably makes him a "boy scout" in Anita's eyes, which is a bad thing - to her it means that you're not "practical" and you have morals that you don't fling away when they become inconvenient.


“That is a brave and wonderful sentiment, Lieutenant, but I’ve held people I cared about while they died at the hands of these things. I’ve seen families destroyed.”

Hear that? If you actually stick to morality, law and order, it means you're obviously not a realist and it must be YOUR FAULT for not trying to get revenge and becoming a vigilante who is as bad as the people you're taking revenge on. You can practically hear the wannabe-goth hausfrau patting cops on the head and saying, "How cute that you actually, teehee, believe in LAW and MORALS and stuff like that. How adorable! Too bad you're not as attuned to the nasty hard world as Anita."

So according to LKH, if a member of any group - religious, political, racial, etc - does something bad to someone you care about, it's perfectly okay to go kill them. After all, it's "noble" but unrealistic to actually stick to your morals. Morality and law are only worthwhile as long as bad things don't actually happen. Then they're pesky inconveniences that get in the way of personal revenge.

And… people she cared about? She saw one pathetic stripper (who wasn't in her arms) die in the first book, and it wasn't even when she was there. After that, nobody died. Ever. Families destroyed? She wouldn't care about that, since all her bishies either have no family or haven't seen them in years.

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“Vittorio is evil, not because he’s a vampire but because he’s a serial killer. He takes pleasure in the death and pain of others. He will keep killing until we stop him."

In today's Fricking Condescending Lecture, Anita Blake will sneeringly tell a bunch of cops what serial killers are, because obviously she knows and they don't.


“And whose death will you be avenging?” Hooper asked.
.....
I thought about it, and I had my answer. “Melbourne and Baldwin.”

… So she's trying to avenge two characters we've never seen and who nobody cares about? I suppose this is a clumsy way of trying to make it seem that Anita DOESN'T just care about "her people" (ie her harem).


“The two SWAT you lost in St. Louis,” Grimes said.
I nodded.
“Were you close to them?” he asked.
I shook my head. “Met them once.”

I suppose this is LKH's clumsy attempt to make Anita look oh-so-noble and caring for all mankind (not womankind, GUUUURRRRLS SUUUUUUCCCCKK). One of the men asks why she'd want vengeance for two men she didn't know, didn't screw and thus didn't care about.

Apparently LKH couldn't think of a reason either, so she simply has Anita change the subject. Isn't our heroine so selfless and awesome?


Rocco’s were so dark, they almost crossed that line from brown to black. It made his pupils hard to find, like the eyes of a vampire when its power begins to fill its eyes, all color of the iris and no pupil.

… because heaven forbid LKH just write that he had dark brown, almost black eyes. Nah, that would be too simple.


“What flavor are you?”
“Flavor of what?” he asked.

Ice cream, of course. Mint with chocolate chips, plus a scoop of fudge and a couple scoops of that awesome fried ice-cream...

Oh wait, she's talking about what brand of psychic he is. Silly me. Keep an eye on the word "flavor," because it's the "wet and tight" or "spill" of this particular book.

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“You’re too tall to play coy, Sergeant.”

That's reserved for snotty hobbit-sized women with ginormous boobs. If you're over 5'7", you're not allowed to ask about what weird, one-person terminology the local beyotch uses.


I licked my bottom lip and said, “You taste like a lie.”

Which is funny, because what SHE just did sounds like a tell. And oh look, another vampiric power Anita has gained without actually becoming a vampire. How SPESHUL.

Anyway, Anita refuses to let the whole thing die - she starts demanding to know what he is besides an empath. Grimes asks if Anita will let him read her mind, and she basically agrees while blabbing that Rocco isn't just an empath.


Rocco was eager to try me. It was part that male instinct to see who’s the bigger dog, but it was more than that.

If he wants to know who the bigger dog is, I'm sure Anita will be happy to show him by humping his leg.


I couldn’t think of a polite way to ask if his psychic ability fed on the memories he collected.

Because Anita is ALL about being polite. I thought she took pride in NOT being polite because being polite is too GUUUUURRRRLLLL.

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If it did, if he could, then I wasn’t the only living vampire in Vegas.

Wanna bet that it's portrayed as being EVIL MEAN HORRIBLE EEEEEVVIIIILLLL if he feeds off her, but just fine and dandy if she does the reverse? Yeah, I'm betting that's how it's gonna be.

Next chapter: My imaginary penis is bigger than your real one!

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