The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 2)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Warning: Violence, vampires, voodoo priests, vaudun priestesses, zombies, animators, death, and human sacrifice
Length: 301 pages
Harold Gaynor offers Anita Blake a million dollars to raise a 300-year-old zombie. Knowing it means a human sacrifice will be necessary, Anita turns him down. But when dead bodies start turning up, she realizes that someone else has raised Harold’s zombie–and that the zombie is a killer. Anita pits her power against the zombie and the voodoo priestess who controls it.
In The Laughing Corpse Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead…
Why I love it?
I really enjoyed how this book focused on RPIT/Executioner-Anita (isn’t she versatile?). In this book we began to see just how badass Anita is. Sure, we knew she was a vampire hunter (with the scars to prove it), but in this book, we got to see how much her vampire hunting and being on retainer with RPIT affects all aspects of her life. Anita’s life experiences have shown her that it’s better to be armed and not need it, than for her to leave her guns behind and regret it when the bad guys start popping out of the woodwork (namely Harold Gaynor and his merry band of crazy bodyguards and girlfriends).
I loved the Dominga Salvador plot line, because it resulted in getting more of Anita’s backstory. We got the answer to why Anita knows so little of her Mexican heritage. In an effort to protect Anita from her own necromancy powers, Anita’s maternal grandmother encouraged her Christian beliefs, and supported Anita’s father’s intentions to distance Anita from that side of the family. Her grandmother’s protectiveness over her hinted as to where Anita’s strong belief, of defending those she has promised her protection to, came from.
We were also introduced to Manny Rodriguez, the man who introduced Anita to vampire hunting, and showed her the ropes when it came to animating. We got to hear of his salacious past, which involved dating the super evil Dominga Salvador and slaying “white goats” (read: human sacrifice). I loved how this little twist in the Anita-Manny relationship showed that it’s very rare for people to really know each other. Even though Anita had known Manny for many years, she was still surprised by his dark past. This was a pivotal scene for Anita, because on some level, she idolized Manny and built her own moral principles based on his teachings. His sketchy past made her question how he could have taught her those idealistic principles, when he himself was just beginning to live his life by them.
We got a few glimpses of Jean-Claude, who was struggling to hold on to the position of Master Vampire of the City. Jean-Claude seemed to believe that Anita’s insistence on not behaving like a good human servant, made the sharks start to circle. I wonder how long it will take before he does something stupid in the name of forcing Anita to acknowledge being his human servant. Poor Jean-Claude has definitely bitten off more than he could chew with Anita.
The various plot lines (Dominga Salvador, Harold Gaynor, and the killer zombie) combined beautifully, culminating in the reveal of the long-term plotline of Anita’s necromancer status. The laughing Corpse was action-packed read, giving readers a little taste of how resilient and badass Anita can be.
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