Dead Ice Chapter 4

Uh oh… long chapter. That means that after three relatively crisply-edited chapters, LKH’s editor passed out in an alcoholic stupor.

Anita assures us that she feels absolutely no remorse over murdering Dominga, since Dominga was trying to force me to murder someone else as a human sacrifice at the time, but it was still technically murder. Haha, nice try at retconning, LKH. To be sure, I went back and reread the climax of The Laughing Corpse.

Yes, Dominga had tried to force Anita to kill a woman as a sacrifice to raise a very old zombie. But you know what? At the time Dominga died, Anita had already self-defenced her way out of danger bystabbing the mooks with her machete.She summoned up a giant army of zombies who were all bound to her will, meaning that there was no danger at all to her or the prospective sacrifice, Wanda.There was no threat to her, and Dominga DID NOT DIE during the initial scuffle.

How did she die? She died because Anita wanted to kill her because she hated her, pure and simple. The same with Harold Gaynor. And yes, it’s called murder in the text.

“He deserves to die,” I said. My voice sounded separate from me, distant and echoing. It didn’t sound like me at all.
“You can’t just murder him,” Wanda said.
“Watch me,” I said.
The Laughing Corpse, Chapter 39

That doesn’t sound like technical murder. It sounds very much like MURDER. Which it was. Anita could have used her giant army of zombies to immobilize Dominga and Harold Gaynor so she could call the police to apprehend them. With Anita and Wanda’s testimony, I’m pretty sure both of them would have gone down. She DECIDED that they deserved to die, and CHOSE to murder them even though there was no longer a threat to herself.

So yeah, nice try, LKH.

 
She’d also been the first person I ever killed with zombies that I’d raised from the grave, which was still an automatic death sentence.

  1. Funny, that didn’t seem to be something she worried about in Flirt, where she just called her extralegal shock troops to apprehend the baddies and chauffeur in her boytoys to grope her.
  2. Or in Laughing Corpse,where we go straight into the epilogue, which is mostly about Anita blowing off suspicions by the press and cops, and bitching about being a bridesmaid. She didn’t exactly sound worried that she’d be executed, did she?
  3. And you’d think that the cops would investigate that really, really thoroughly, instead of, “Oh well, Anita said she didn’t do it even though she’s the only logical suspect. Can’t do nothing if the suspect denies it!”
  4. And LKH really thinks that the US court system is happy-go-lucky with the death sentences with no pesky trials or appeals or anything, doesn’t she?
  5. There are no “automatic death sentences” in the US legal system, you crazy bint. That violates all sorts of citizenship rights.
  6. And while I can see crimes committed using zombies to be a crime unto itself, murder is murder. I could see it being an additional charge like “unlawful use of the undead to commit a crime,” but not considering “zombie murder” to be a totally different category from regular murder.
  7. It doesn’t make any fucking sense that using a zombie to kill would be an automatic death sentence, but shooting the same person in the face would carry a much lighter one.
  8. Then again, being a vampire kleptomaniac also carries an automatic death sentence in this bass-ackwards universe.
  9. LKH doesn’t actually THINK about the laws she writes into her stories. She just slaps them on because she thinks it makes her look knowledgeable about the legal system… instead of revealing the exact opposite.

 
It fell under the magical malfeasance laws; any practitioner of psychic or supernatural gifts who used such as a method of murder, or violence outside self-defense parameters, was subject to the strictest enforcement of the laws therein.

Which just reinforces that no, Anita didn’t do it in self-defense as she suggested earlier in the chapter. And that LKH’s editor is passed out drunk under her/his desk.

So no matter how you bend, stretch or twist the facts, they are this: Anita murdered two people with zombies. She did not have to do it. She did it entirely because she wanted to, because she decided that these people deserved to die and that therefore it was okay for her to do it.

You know, like a villain would do.

And somehow the thought of insta-execution causes Anita to become calmer and more controlled. Because that is how that works.

 
It helped me meet Manning’s eyes and control everything but my pulse.

I thought she was staring with vacant, dead eyes and a weird smile. You know, like cops do.

 
“My grandmother would have said butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth, Marshal.”
“I’ve never understood that saying; I mean, I know it implies you think I’m lying, but why would butter not melt in someone’s mouth, and what has that got to do with being truthful?”

This is one of the things editors need to trim from LKH’s books: when she thinks she’s being clever. LKH is not a clever person. Or a witty one. In fact, she’s being excessively literal about an old idiom, and therefore missing the whole point of it. The point of that phrase is not that someone is LYING, which it ISN’T, but that someone is cool, calm and acts passionless. Or, if Anita’s little performance in the last chapter is anything to go by, like a person habitually hopped up on painkillers.

And no, this doesn’t make Anita look witty or smart. It makes her look like a moron who is completely failing to misdirect suspicion from herself.

 
“Just stop talking,” Manning said.

I knew I liked her.

And here we have one of the rarest things in an LKH book: somebody accusing Anita of one of her many crimes… who ISN’T utterly demonized.

Brent wants to stop accusing Anita of the murder she committed, because they want her to share information… except that since she DID commit the murder, she isn’t going to share information with them. And because he has a penis, he’s on Anita’s side.

 
“Because I’m your partner, and I would do damn near anything to catch these bastards. I thought you felt the same.”
Manning looked away first. “Would you really let a murder go?”

“If Anita does it, hell yeah! She’s the protagonist, which means she can cold-bloodedly murder as many people as she wants just because she feels like it!”

 
“I read up on Dominga Salvador, and she had the idea to turn zombies into sex slaves first. She just didn’t live long enough to do it.”
“We only have Blake’s word for the Señora’s plans,” Manning said.

Great, yet another piece of evidence that should highlight that Anita murdered her, and the FBI should probably have noted those OTHER people who crossed her who went mysteriously missing. The ONLY evidence of actual wrongdoing by Dominga is from the person who clearly killed her and is doing a crap job of hiding it.

Manning rubbed her temples and shook her head. “I don’t know, yes, no, not really. Do I think that Blake killed her? Probably, but if someone sent a pack of killer zombies into my home to attack me . . . we’re allowed to defend ourselves from the monsters.”

Nice try, LKH. The zombie attack took place quite some time before Anita killed Dominga. It wasn’t self-defense.That’s like saying it’s legally okay to assassinate anybody who once hired a hit man to attack you, because you’re allowed to defend yourself.

This is what, the third different legal stance on Anita murdering Dominga in ONE CHAPTER? And how come nobody notes that Harold Gaynor, whom Anita turned down just days before, also vanished without a trace at the exact same time as Dominga?! That at least sounds like a good reason to do a fucking investigation, especially into the GIANT SPLASHES OF DOMINGA’S BLOOD on the ground near Gaynor’s fucking wheelchair!

WHY AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO REMEMBERS THIS?!

Also, I’m pretty sure the editor tore a chunk out of the chapter at this point, because otherwise Anita would A) have gotten wildly outraged at the description of the “monsters” as being bad instead of way better than humans, or B) pontificated from her anus about who the REAL monsters are and relative morality and all that crap I don’t want to hear from a murderer.

Seriously, it feels like giant chunks were just sawn out of the chapter, and you can spot them because the dialogue gets right to the point, Anita doesn’t go apeshit over every reaction but total approval, or the book’s focus changes to someone who is not her.

For instance: Manning has a brief breakdown where she reveals that the other videos are even worse, since some of the zombies were allowed to rot partially before their souls were popped back in. Then they started screaming, and says it’s “one of the worst things I’ve ever heard.”It’s a fairly powerful reaction, and it really reinforces that Anita’s NON-reaction doesn’t make her look like a badass, it makes her look like a psychopath who simply doesn’t give a damn about anyone she’s not fucking.

 
“If I thought you had done this I’d put the needle in you myself, but I’m just groping in the dark, Blake.”

So people who have committed murder with zombies just stick around to get a lethal injection? That seems logical.

 
“I feel like you left out things, because if you overexplain the magic theory too much most judges won’t sign off on things.”

… WHY? How in fuck does that work?! Does LKH think that judges automatically reject anything they don’t understand? If you explain the automotive workings of a car in a case involving cars, does she think they’ll immediately turn against you?

It turns out that there are two reasons the FBI wants to talk to Anita:

  1. Because of the report she gave on Salvador’s house and goings-on.
  2. Because Larry Kirkland recommended her as knowing more about the undead than anyone else, and being the most powerful animator.

And for some reason… this is a problem for Anita.

 
“I bet that’s not how he said the last part,” I said.

“I bet he said it in a Donald Duck voice!”

And since Anita likes to pick at scabs, she assumes that Larry Kirkland was being super-nasty about her and her abilities, because he’s Christian and actually observant Christian people are all evil zealots in LKH’s view. She won’t simply accept that he said the actual facts about her – she has to keep bitching and whining and demanding more and more details. Why? To justify her hatred of him.

This is another character change – like Haven, Asher and Dolph – that doesn’t make any logical sense. To anyone who hasn’t read/has half-forgotten the first eight books, Larry Kirkland was a younger animator/vampire hunter whom Anita was protective of. This also led to her hating on his girlfriend (later wife), because the girlfriend didn’t like Anita’s boyfriends. Hypocrisy: it’s only okay if Anita does it!

Have they had some kind of disagreement or something?

skims earlier books

Oh. Right. The last time he was featured in a book (Kiss the Dead), LKH randomly decided to villainize him by having him stand up for his morals, grow some balls, and tell Anita that what she was doing was unacceptable. Basically, he said that torturing the suspects of a case was wrong, which Anita hypersensitively interprets as “It’s okay for ME to be a monster, but not YOU. And you don’t care about solving this case and saving lives because you let your pesky morals and ethics get in the way. U suk!”

Yes, LKH seriously argued in favor of torturing (of people who knew they were going to be executed anyway, and so had no reason to tell her anything because it wouldn’t help them) and terrorizing prisoners, because Results Trump All, and if you’re not willing to “be the bad guy” then you’re naive and don’t care about people’s lives. See, this is why I’m actually GLAD that LKH is too much of a weenie to actually try to join the army or be a cop.

In fact, Larry made an excellent point during their argument:“Morals aren’t just for when it’s easy, Anita. They aren’t morals if you throw them aside every time it’s convenient.” Which is true. If you can cast off morals whenever you encounter a problem, they’re not actually morals. But as we’ve seen throughout the series, Anita/LKH thinks that if you ever actually stick to morals or laws, then you’re a weenie who isn’t brave enough to Save All The People. Only people who violate laws and morals are the actual good guys.

Seriously, Batman violates the law as PART OF HIS JOB, and he still has a strict code of ethics. Yes, sometimes sticking to those ethics (The Dark Knight)can lead to bad consequences, but you know what? Hindsight is 20/20. Assuming that you have to cast off ethics in EVERY SCENARIO or people will die is not feasible or acceptable. Anita makes torture and murder the rule, not the exception.

Of course, she also has to argue both sides of it: she’s a bad, bad person because she does bad things and stuff… but if you even hint that you think she’s immoral, she throws a shitfit and decides YOU’RE immoral because you don’t just throw away morals that get in the way.

You know, this argument is a little more compelling when you haven’t reminded the audience that Anita has been cold-bloodedly murdering people since the very beginning of the series, based entirely on whether she feels they deserve it… or if she just really doesn’t like them. So yeah, it’s a little hard to take the moral high ground when you not only violate laws and morals to save lives… but just because you fucking feel like it.

Chalk this up to another “Jim Butcher did it better.”

See, the Dresden Files has many, many different scenarios where Harry has to choose between saving people and compromising what he believes in. For instance, in Changes he has to not only become the Winter Knight – a position he had vowed he’d never take – but he has to murder the guy who had the position before him. This was because if he didn’t do these things, his daughter would be horribly killed.

Of course, this is somewhat different for four reasons:

  1. Butcher doesn’t make excuses. Yes, Harry has a reason to do this, but he doesn’t get all pouty and self-righteous. The ends don’t justify the means, but he will still sometimes pursue the ends.
  2. When Harry compromises his morals, he doesn’t decide “Well, morals violated once. Clearly I can never follow them again. Begone, unwillingness to murder! Don’t need you anymore!”
  3. Harry’s motivations and priorities are not depicted as being always right. He’s often too focused on one thing, or naively believes that there won’t be bad repercussions to what he does.
  4. Harry actually cares about other people, both theoretically and personally. It’s really hard to buy Anita’s “I save lives with my torture and murder, and YOU would let them all die!” argument when she has effectively told us in the past that she doesn’t care about the well-being of anyone she is not fucking.

And you wanna know something funny? Speculation is that Larry is an avatar of Jim Butcher himself, who first got his break thanks to Hamilton and credits her with helping him get started. I don’t know what suddenly caused this souring of the relationship – maybe they had a disagreement at a con, maybe she just got pissed that Butcher handles moral ambiguity far better than she does – but it wouldn’t surprise me, given her history of creating such characters, sometimes more than once (Joseph, Haven, Richard, Micah, Nathaniel… and I wouldn’t be surprised if Asher represented some gay/bisexual man who turned her down).

I didn’t want to, because I was betting Larry had said something that implied my expertise came from being way more friendly with the undead than his God-fearing faith would allow him to be.

  1. I don’t know why he WOULD say that, since she was fucking vampires throughout most of their friendship. He never gave a damn then.
  2. And no, he never gave any indication that his religious beliefs were the cause of his disagreements with Anita’s methods.
  3. It’s just that… he’s not a psychopath.
  4. I hate to break it to you, LKH, but quite a few non-super-religious people are also opposed to murder and torture.

 
we’d stopped being friends when I stopped taking the morgue kills he felt morally bad about.

… no, that wasn’t what happened. Unless LKH decided to have things happen between books again.I suspect that even LKH realizes that “I was angry because he told me torture and murder are wrong” doesn’t exactly make Anita sound heroic. So she retcons it all into “he got angry because I stopped killing people that he also didn’t want to kill.”

Once again: LKH is an alien who does not understand our strange human psychology. This is like if a pro-life person got mad because someone decided to STOP performing abortions, because…. somehow that means the pro-life person would have to do them.

You know, I’m going to stop trying to understand this, because it just isn’t worth the headache.

 
the only legally accepted method of execution was a stake through the heart, then decapitation in most states.

  1. … why does it have to be in that order? Why not decapitate the vampire, then stake it afterwards? Or just decapitate it?
  2. Will the head grow back if you don’t do it exactly like that?
  3. And of course, LKH depicts this as ONLY occurring with really poorly-chosen weapons.
  4. As in, Anita doesn’t kill anyone with something suited to the task. God forbid she behead someone with a broad-bladed axe instead of a machete. But I suspect LKH can’t lift that kind of axe, let alone swing it with any kind of real force.
  5. Hell, why behead them by hand at all? It’s needlessly messy and long.
  6. Guess why the guillotine was invented! To be a merciful method of executing a person! By beheading! WHY DO THEY NOT USE GUILLOTINES?!

 
Have you ever tried to pound a hardened wooden stake through a piece of bone in ham?

… why would ANYONE do that?

Then Anita snootily informs us that we should imagine the “pig” (yes, she puts it in quotation marks, like ham isn’t REALLY from pigs) is begging for its life, like so many of the vampires she’s killed. Of course, she virtuously mentions that she’s asked to use a shotgun as a “more humane” (quotation marks mine) way of killing people, which is kind of like saying it’s more humane to fling someone off a rooftop instead of stabbing them. But since The Man doesn’t understand Anita’s genius, they refused her.

 
Finally, I’d stopped doing morgue kills altogether when I realized most of the vampires chained to the tables for staking hadn’t ever hurt anyone. “Three strikes and you’re out” for vampires used to mean if you were convicted of three crimes of any kind, you got executed.

So even though the “three strikes” law should be widely known, and she as a fucking executioner should actually KNOW that… she didn’t know it. Or she knew it, but assumed that it wouldn’t actually be enforced JUST BECAUSE IT WAS THE FUCKING LAW.

Because any violent moron can become a licensed murderer with no knowledge or expertise, just like Anita!

 
Larry and I had been involved in the case that had helped give vampires a chance to go to jail for misdemeanors instead of just being killed. Good outcome, but that case had been a turning point in our friendship. After that he was like a born-again vegan who saw all meat as murder, and I was the carnivore.

So in other words, they were both lobbying for the same legal changes… and then suddenly began disagreeing once they succeeded? Because apparently if you don’t think misdemeanors should be punishable by death, you don’t think ANYONE should be killed ever?

I’m sorry, was LKH high when she wrote this?

And this is a completely different story from earlier IN THIS SAME CONVERSATION. At first she made it sound like Larry was a hypocrite hiding behind his religion, not wanting to do the kills himself but upset that Anita wouldn’t do the nasty work for him. Now suddenly he’s just opposed to morgue killings in general.

So what is it, hmm? Or is Anita just making up excuses to justify her dislike of someone again?

 
“Okay, Zerbrowski, okay.”
He smiled and patted my hand. “Thanks.”
“What did you thank her for?” Brent asked.
“Listening to me,” Zerbrowski said.

Because this is how actual people interact. Let’s all gather around the surly, uncooperative bitch and lavish praise on her when she actually listens to someone instead of throwing a tantrum because someone she hates recommended her.

 
“Blake does have a reputation for not listening to people,” Manning said.
I gave her a not entirely friendly look. “I’ve mellowed.”

“I only murder people who refuse to fuck me now. Or people who refuse to share.”

Manning is completely unfazed by Anita’s not-entirely-friendly look, which I kind of love. This woman is the kind of character I actually want to read about. She’s tough, she has morals, she’s professional, she cares about catching the bad guys instead of saying “You have to BE a bad guy to catch them!”, she’s at least of average intelligence, but she also has enough vulnerability to feel bad for the victims instead of just going through the motions. I’m sure LKH thinks she’s weak and naive compared to Anita, but that’s because Anita is a supervillain.

 
I nodded. “You either mellow or find a new career.”

… except that LKH depicts people who are just starting out as the naive, soft, “shiny” people who don’t get how dangerous the world is. So why would they be LESS mellow than the oh-so-scarred veterans who are hardened enough to deal with the job?

So Anita tells them about the zombies she saw at Dominga’s house, and Manning confirms that their experts say it’s theoretically possible, but that nobody ever actually has confirmed it officially.

 
“We’ve followed up every rumor of a bad-ass voodoo priest or priestess, and they were either fake for the tourists, or law-abiding citizens who were horrified that their religion had been corrupted.”

Yes, it makes total sense that the FBI wouldn’t be able to find any of these people. It’s not like they have resources, like Anita!

Also, voodoo priests are known as houngans and mambos (depending on gender).

 
“There are ways to steal a piece of someone’s soul and get some control over them, though it’s a bad idea. It’s some kind of karma balance thing; just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should,” Manning said.

“Sez you! When I can do a thing, I do it! Just because I can! Like murdering… oops, I mean, totally not murdering people. That’s not something I do. Ever.”
“You’re a terrible liar.”
“No, I’m not! Look at my blank, dead-eyed face!”

Then Manning notes that,“Some witches say that blood sacrifice of any kind is pretty black, and that you must have racked up some serious negative karma yourself, Blake.”Which I can understand. I don’t even believe in karma as a spiritual concept (though I do believe in spiritual repercussions), but murdering animals with a machete to raise zombies is not okay with me. No, I’m not a bleeding-heart vegan or anything, but I am opposed to killing animals for frivolous reasons.

And having shat on Catholicism earlier, and shitting on Christianity in general… LKH now takes a giant steaming dump on her own religion! Yay for equality!

 
“Yeah, I’ve talked to some of the witches who believe that. They’re either the Christian witches who are okay with being second-class citizens in their own religion as long as they play by very strict Church rules, or fluffy-bunny Wiccans, or another more New Age flavor of witches.”

  1. I know this is a complex concept for you, LKH, but try to grasp it: YOU CANNOT BE BOTH A WITCH AND A CHRISTIAN. If we’re going by actual Church rules (which, again, would be different in a world where magic is an officially recognized and proven phenomena)… one of the strict ones is NO TRYING TO USE MAGIC. So by definition, you cannot play by “strict Church rules” AND be a witch.
  2. Unless she’s once again fudging the meaning of the word “witch” to mean either a neopagan OR a person with magical psychic abilities. Kind of a big difference. You should probably define that a little better.
  3. And no, Christian witches (who have their own church in this universe) would not be second-class citizens in their own religion, because… their religion would be something like Larry and Tammy’s. They have their own church, so why would they be second-class citizens in it?!
  4. I think this is another truly pathetic attempt at social commentary on religion.
  5. And ye gods, she’s going on about fluffy-bunny Wiccans? LKH, you are as fluffy-bunny as it gets.
  6. And I’m pretty sure that the people who are concerned about blood sacrifices are the exact opposite of fluffy-bunny, you dolt. They’re the people who actually know how their fucking beliefs work.
  7. I’m wondering if, given her sudden shits on Wicca, whether some Wiccans pointed out that LKH doesn’t really write stuff in line with Wiccan beliefs like the Threefold Law and the Rede. That would piss her off.

 
“I know Wiccan is a modern word for witchcraft as a religion, but what’s a fluffy-bunny Wiccan?” Brent asked.

No, Wiccan is the term for a FOLLOWER of Wicca. Dumbass.

And no, Wicca is the name for a religion started in the 1940s by Gerald Gardner, which takes elements from ancient extinct religions and folklore, some of which are not fully known to us because of the lack of documentation. Many mistakenly believe that this religion is synonymous with older depictions of folk magic and witches from superstition, or try to claim folk-magic and lore is to create a sense of unbroken religious presence.

There are many different traditions of Wicca, including different approaches such as polytheism, duotheism, pantheism, monotheism, reincarnation, a large number of rituals and ritual objects, etc. However, they do tend to follow the Law of Threefold Return and the Rede, which effectively allows anything as long as it doesn’t hurt others…. although like many religious tenets, you’ll find people (like LKH) who deliberately fudge the language so they can just do what they want.

“Fluffy-bunny neopagans seem to believe that there’s no such thing as badenergy or evil magic; as long as they don’t mess with it, it won’t mess with them. It’s the equivalent of civilians who think that nothing bad will happen to them as long as they don’t go into the wrong neighborhood or hang out with dangerous people. Neither group wants to believe that evil lurks in good neighborhoods, too, and predators of all kinds hunt the good with the bad folk sometimes.”

  1. I… I… ugh…
  2. No, that is NOT what a fluffy-bunny Wiccan means. As far as I can tell, a fluffy-bunny Wiccan is someone who takes a very shallow, materialistic approach to their religion, and doesn’t really do any of the serious research. Think Silver Ravenwolf.
  3. No, I don’t think any Wiccans or other kinds of neopagans out there are stupid enough to believe that no bad juju magumbo could hit them unless they dabble in it. Because anyone with the slightest contact with reality knows that is not true.
  4. Apparently LKH’s brilliant logic is that bad stuff might happen to you even if you DON’T do evil magic, so you might as well do evil magic that will DEFINITELY cause you problems. And it’s silly and naive to AVOID bad things, because avoiding the bad stuff as much as possible means you believe NOTHING bad could ever happen to you.
  5. Which is comparable to saying, “Swimming in the ocean means a shark MIGHT attack you. So you should tie pieces of raw bloody meat to your body before leaping in the water!”
  6. In fact, fluffy-bunny Wiccans are the Wiccans who are LEAST likely to counsel you that doing blood magic and murdering innocent animals might be slightly problematic.
  7. And LKH thinks that the REAL Wiccans, the ones who AREN’T New-Agey fluffy-bunnies… are the ones who are okay with the casual killing of animals. Or people.
  8. Also, Wiccans are not synonymous with neopagans. They are a TYPE of neopagan, but not the only type. It’s like treating “Christian” and “Baptist” as synonymous.
  9. WHY AM I FUCKING HAVING TO LECTURE A FUCKING WICCAN ON FUCKING WICCAN BELIEFS?
  10. And as further proof that LKH’s editor is currently undergoing a liver transplant, she can’t keep details straight IN THE SAME LINE. At first she claims that fluffy-bunny Wiccans don’t believe in evil energy/magic…. and later in the same sentence, she claims they think they can avoid THE THING THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN.

“So you’re saying the fluffy-bunny witches believe the blood sacrifice opens you up to the bad stuff, and as long as they don’t do it, they’re safe?” Brent asked.

There is a difference between believing that nothing bad will happen to you if you just don’t dabble in evil stuff, and believing that actively pursuing evil stuff you know will cause “bad stuff” is kind of a stupid idea.

According to LKH’s logic, you should deliberately prance through minefields. After all, you might get blown up by a suicide bomber, so there’s no reason to actively avoid bombs.

 
“It’s the metaphysical equivalent of bad guys. I’ve seen some of the fluffy bunnies do major magic without enough magical protection and just believe that the innate goodness of the universe will protect them.”

That is the exact opposite of what LKH said before. She claimed that they thought that evil magic attracted evil energies, and now suddenly it’s that THEY are doing dangerous spells without enough protection?! WHAT IN FUCK IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?

Why is it SO hard for this woman to maintain basic continuity from ONE SENTENCE TO THE NEXT?

 
“It’s like a couple wearing mink and diamonds driving their brand-new Jaguar through the ghetto and thinking that nothing bad will happen to them, because they’re good people.”

… wow. Victim-blaming AND racism in a single terrible simile. Well done, LKH. Very few authors can be as brazenly offensive in a single awful sentence.

I’m sorry, weren’t we supposed to be talking about a fucking zombie porn case? Why have we veered off into LKH’s issues with other Wiccans who don’t think blood magic is totes okay?

Seriously, this is the FOURTH STRAIGHT CHAPTER of these people sitting in a little room, conversing about the same topic. Can we go somewhere else, do something else?! PLEASE?

 
“One voodoo priest who was in his eighties said that there were no spells to accomplish what had been done to the poor women.”

“Except he said Anita Blake can suck out the soul of anyone and enslave them forever.”
“OH YEAH? WELL, HE’S OLD!”
“He gave specific names.”
“OLD AND NOT SEXY!”

Anita states that she doesn’t follow vaudun, and that that is what its followers call it instead of voodoo. I honestly have no idea if that is true, but I’m going to keep calling it voodoo because it means I don’t have to keep checking the spelling. And no, my spellcheck says it’s wrong even when it isn’t. Anyway, she says that Salvador said she had invented her way of making zombies with souls. independently of voodoo beliefs and rituals..

 
“Can I ask a question that isn’t directly on topic?” Brent asked.
Manning gave him a sideways look and sighed. “If you have to, and I know you have to.”

You know, I really am enjoying reading about partners where one doesn’t have to constantly cater to the ego of the other, and complete approval isn’t required.

 
Brent smiled at her, then looked at me. “I thought you used voodoo, or vaudun, to raise the zombies?”
“Sort of,” I said. “People without any psychic ability with the dead should be able to raise zombies using just the ritual and accompanying paraphernalia, but I haven’t met anyone who could do it who wasn’t psychically gifted.”

THAT IS NOT AN ANSWER. He asked if Anita used it, and she goes off on a ramble about psychic gifts.

And wait, so ANYONE can be an animator… and yet nobody ever has been?! WHY?This is a world where any bloodthirsty yahoo with a knife can become an official, government-approved vampire hunter despite having no training or knowledge… yet ONLY people with psychic abilities CHOOSE to become animators, even though it’s a ridiculously well-paid profession.

Also… I don’t think LKH realizes the implications of this. If ordinary people can raise a zombie with no magical power, and only the voodoo ritual… then that implies that voodoo and its theological stance have been PROVEN.

Think about it. Without some kind of supernatural power behind it, a ritual would just be a series of words and actions that wouldn’t really accomplish anything. Kind of like working the pedals and wheel in a car that isn’t turned on. I always sort of assumed that Anita and the other animators all had psychic/magical powers that allowed them to somehow revitalize dead bodies temporarily… but no.

If people who don’t have those powers can do it with the voodoo rituals… then that means the rituals are what is doing it.And if the rituals work… that means that the supernatural powers behind voodoo’s theology are real.

So yeah… LKH just confirmed that the ONLY religion in the Anitaverse with any kind of solid quantifiable proof behind it… is voodoo.

I don’t think she meant to do that.

And if the ritual isn’t actually needed by her, then why the hell does she use it?!In fact, hasn’t it been confirmed before that Anita can just raise zombies whenever she likes, WITHOUT any kind of ritual?

And despite LKH being snooty about how people refer to voodoo, and how it’s a real religion… she apparently doesn’t see there as being ANY kind of problem with a non-believer using its rituals for personal profit. Or do any real research about it… like what the priests are called, or where it’s practiced, or that not all voodoo followers have the same beliefs, or that magical activities in voodoo have a specific name, or the loa and Bondye, or that it’s more typically called “voudon” and not “vaudun.”

In fact, now that I think about it, she never really deals with actual voodoo, despite Anita allegedly knowing all about and using its rituals. Voodoo is ONLY applied to zombies… and they’re not even proper voodoo zombies.

I could overlook this back when the series started, since that was before the Interbutts was a thing that EVERYONE had, so it was probably a lot harder to accurately research a smaller, fringe religion like voodoo. But now we have amazon and google and all sorts of academic search engines that can help you find information you need… and LKH is still writing the exact same way in 2015.

And even then, it’s kind of a research fail. I mean, Kolchak: The Night Stalkerhad better information on voodoo and zombies, and that show was made in the 1970s! I don’t even know how accurate it is, but I know it’s better than Anita Blake!

“Yes and no. It’s a magical ability, rather than a straight natural one, for most people. By that I mean that there’s no ritual to enable an empath to sense emotions, but some magical abilities need ritual to prepare and open the mind to it.”
“Meditation helps most psychics do better at the tests, so maybe it’s all about the same thing,” Brent said.
“Maybe,” I said.

Which doesn’t take away the offensiveness of using someone else’s rituals as “meditation.”

And seriously, Anita has raised zombies without a ritual. Many times. Sometimes voluntarily, sometimes involuntarily, but it’s not like she can’t do it unless she does the ritual first.

 
“You do use voodoo to raise the dead.” Manning said it like it was just true.

… because it is.

And having established that Anita uses the voodoo ritual because all animators do… for some reason… nobody uses any other kind of ritual, only voodoo… LKH then reminds us that Anita is way better than other people, because SHE doesn’t need it and THEY do.

 
“You sound like you’re not sure you need the ritual.”
I shrugged. “I’ve whittled down the ceremony a lot on occasion, but I know other animators who can’t raise anything without all the bells and whistles. It’s been my experience that the lower their psychic ability, the more magical ritual they need.”

“So I could fart on the grave and still raise a zombie. I’m not like those pathetic people who need the whole ritual to do something! I’M THE BEST AT EVERYTHING, DAMMIT!”

So there is a very long, long, long piece of exposition where Anita is talking about everything she saw in Dominga’s house. I’d say that this is filler and we don’t need it, but… we kinda do. That was the second book of the series, and this is the is the 24th. I think that’s more than an adequate gap for plot-related material to need a recap.

Manning just kind of stands there saying, “The priest said the same thing” and then asking relevant questions. You know, if you cut out the awful filler dialogue about Wiccans and pigs and Larry… this would be a decent chapter. Or half-chapter.

 
“It was a horror preview for the other zombies. I think the Señora enjoyed the sadism of it, but the threat was for her frenemies, like me. It was supposed to make me too afraid of her to refuse what she wanted, and apparently it had worked on other people.”

  1. “But not me! I’m smarter and braver and cooler than everyone else!”
  2. Did she seriously say “frenemies”?

 
“But not on you?” Manning made it a question.

Yes. She did. Because it is. Ah, the stench of unedited book.

Instead of actually answering the question, Anita natters about how disturbing it was to see those zombie women’s eyes. She all but admits to Manning that she killed Dominga, too. And this is LKH’s opportunity to spin the whole murder thing as a noble gesture to save innocent zombies or… something. Again, not only was it cold-blooded murder based on what she wanted, but she killed another individual who HADN’T created souled zombies right after.

 
“What did Salvador want from you, Blake?”
“She wanted me to help her raise more zombies faster for her burgeoning sex slave business.”

“She didn’t know that the only sex slave business in town belongs to ME!”

 
“Maybe, but if you’re powerful enough your zombies can be pretty human-looking and they don’t smell if they’re not rotting, which they wouldn’t with souls intact. You’d have a perfectly obedient sex slave that didn’t need to eat, or sleep, or do anything but obey its master.”

Oh, like the wives of Donald Trump.

“I don’t think that was Dominga’s idea. I believe she meant to do what I do for clients sometimes: You put them inside the circle and bind the zombie to them so it’ll do what they say, and I go on to my next client. We’ll make an appointment for them to bring the zombie back and I’ll lay it to rest then, but I can’t babysit every zombie I raise in a night.”

  1. Wait… what?
  2. A few books ago she refused to raise a zombie merely because the grieving widower didn’t jump through every impossible hoop she didn’t mention was required.
  3. Now she’ll let anyone who hires her walk off with a fucking zombie unsupervised? On faith?
  4. And what the hell does she mean “every zombie I raise in a night”? The last time she voluntarily raised zombies was in Cerulean Sins! More than half the series ago!
  5. And she sure as hell stuck around THEN.
  6. And if her majesty is too busy getting porked in the car to do her job, then maybe Animators Inc. should hire some armed professionals to supervise both the zombie and the client.

 
“It depends on the age of the zombie. The longer it’s been dead, the more energy it takes to raise it from the grave. If it’s a really old one then maybe only that zombie gets raised in a night,”

So even if there’s just one zombie that night, Anita won’t bother to stick around and “babysit” because hey, she only gets paid ridiculous amounts of money to raise the zombie. She can’t be expected to actually WORK.

 
“but if it’s the newly dead, five or six in a night, maybe more if the travel time works out, but that’s rare.”

Nice try, LKH. In Kiss The Dead,Anita confirmed that she basically had no time to raise zombies for her ACTUAL PAYING JOB. Now she’s insisting, “Oh, I’m so busy that I can’t bother to stick around and make sure nothing happens to the zombie.”

 
“I don’t raise zombies without a good reason, and it’s not cheap.”

“Sometimes these people try to claim they have a good reason, but I know better. They only want to fuck the zombie!”
“… what?”
“After all, you can only care about someone if you are fucking them, and so if you cared about the person you want raised, you must plan to fuck the zombie.”
“What if I wanted my grandmother raised?”
“You want to fuck your zombie grannie!”

I’m not actually kidding, you know. The torturous first scene of Flirtconfirmed that Anita will come up with ridiculous, convoluted demands to avoid actually having to work for a client. And if someone grieving wants to see their loved one one more time, she concludes immediately – with no evidence – that they just want to fuck the zombie, and refuses on those grounds. She literally cannot imagine any personal reason besides fucking the zombie.

 
“Sometimes I’ll travel and do multiple zombies in a distant area, because I’m going to be in town, but most out-of-town trips are just one client who’s willing to pay for me to come to them.”

SINCE WHEN? I only remember her doing this ONCE, and it was only because Larry Kirkland had a family emergency and couldn’t go.

 
“It wasn’t how I was taught. You stayed at the graveside and put the zombie back after the questions had been asked, or the last good-byes said. Even now it’s rare for me to let anyone take a zombie off-site.”

YOU SAID THE EXACT OPPOSITE LESS THAN A PAGE AGO!

Before Anita said that she just made an appointment to put it back, and wandered off because SHE SO BIZZY and can’t be bothered to keep an eye on the zombie. Now she’s claiming she hardly ever “lets” anyone take a zombie off-site. WHERE DID THE EDITOR GO?!

 
“One, some clients won’t bring them back. Remember, it looks like their loved one, and I’m powerful enough that my zombies look and act alive, or enough so that if you want to believe Mom or Dad is back for good, you could. Well, for a while.”

  1. “I’m so powerful my zombies are practically lifelike, which means in a few more books I’ll add a hot non-rotting zombie to my harem.”
  2. See, this is why I expressed disbelief that Anita would just wander off and make an appointment to put the zombie back. You have no reason to think they’ll return it.
  3. HOW DID SHE FUCK UP HER OWN CONTINUITY WITHIN A PAGE?
  4. And this comment makes me wonder. Regular zombies don’t have the soul of the deceased, right? That’s what sets Dominga’s zombies apart: you can see emotions in their eyes that indicate someone is home.
  5. So exactly how can a regular, soulless zombie “act” alive?
  6. I can buy “look alive,” but “acting” alive would require… emotions.

 
“The Catholic Church claims that all animators are trampling on Jesus’ territory by raising the dead.”

Funny, I seem to remember Jesus raising DEAD PEOPLE BACK TO LIFE, not zombies.As opposed to raising dead bodies as soulless puppets who will eventually rot away. That doesn’t sound like something Jesus ever did.

Oh wait, I just flipped through my Bible, and it comes up right here in John 11: 43-44:Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. And then Lazarus said, “Brains.”

LKH babbled about this last chapter. I don’t know why it’s coming out all over again… except that the editor had passed out in a drunken stupor under his/her desk by now.

And I do not know why the fuck Manning brought this up out of nowhere. There was no lead-in to this topic; she just starts blurting out the Catholic stance on zombie-raising, after discussing Anita’s sooper-alive-looking zombies and the whole visit to Dominga’s house. I know LKH sucks at transitions in conversations, but DAMN. This was clunky even for her.It might have made sense if this part of the conversation had come right after discussing the Wiccans and how they aren’t okay with blood magic. But by having at least TWO DIFFERENT TOPICS between them, she makes it seem like Manning is pulling topics randomly from her butt.

And why the fuck does the FBI care what the Catholic stance on animators is? As long as the Church doesn’t approve firebombings of animators’ houses, it doesn’t really concern them.

 
“Yeah, that’s what got us all excommunicated unless we agreed to stop doing it. What the Church doesn’t understand is that for some of us it’s a psychic gift, which means if we don’t use it on purpose it comes out in other ways.”

Because it’s not like such a power would be well-known before the Catholic Church was even founded, and it’s not like they had TWO THOUSAND YEARS to determine their position.

It’s almost like that power came into existence when Anita did. Because history is for well-written books.

 
Zerbrowski gave me wide eyes;

So I put them in my pocket.

Anita tells her charming story about her dead dog following her home, which makes me wonder why cremation isn’t more common in this universe. If you DON’T want something raised as a zombie, why not burn it to ash?

 
“Would you need a human sacrifice to do this?” Manning asked.

“Why? Do you have someone who won’t be missed?”
“Uh…”

Then they get into a debate about the animals used for sacrifices, and what a “big” sacrifice means.

 
“Most of us use chickens as the blood sacrifice for a normal zombie raising, but if it’s an older body we move up to goats, sometimes sheep, but mostly goats. After that you get into cows.”
“So it’s literally physically larger, not smarter?” Manning said.
That was a good question, maybe a great question. “You know, I’ve never thought about it like that. Traditionally, I was taught that bigger sacrifice meant literally bigger, so theoretically an elephant could raise more, but we jump from cow to human sacrifice, and people are smaller than most full-grown cattle.” I thought about it. “I guess there’s just not a reasonable way to kill something bigger than a cow, or maybe horse, though I don’t know anyone in this country who uses horses for sacrifice. I know some people use doves or pigeons instead of chickens, but the jump to human is considered the biggest sacrifice possible.”

  1. LKH is literally pointing out the massive plot holes in her world-building.
  2. Normally I would applaud an author realizing there is a flaw in their books rather than doing what LKH usually does, which is skim over it. But she’s not actually fixing anything. She’s just notifying us to the fact that her magical system is undefined and poorly-written.
  3. And really, Anita has been an animator for her whole life, a professional for almost a decade, and allegedly a sooper-expert on all things related to zombies… and she has NO IDEA how it works?!
  4. And wait,… even though the “big sacrifice = bigger size” thing is totally inconsistent, Anita NEVER questioned it until Manning pointed this out?
  5. It’s almost like she’s a fucking idiot!
  6. I don’t know if LKH is aware of this, but an elephant would count as a “big” sacrifice either way. Not only are they huge, but they are one of the smartest animals on the planet. Smarter than many humans, really.
  7. And what about apes? Haven’t they ever been sacrificed, especially since the US is not the only country in the world besides France?
  8. And my ass they wouldn’t sacrifice a horse. Does she really think they would send them to the glue factory instead of using them for a zombie-raising?

Then they go off on a weird tangent where Anita proves she knows way way way more about pigs than the FBI, so there.

 
“I’ve never known anyone who used a pig; maybe a baby pig, but not a grown one.”
“Why?” Manning asked.
“Honestly, I don’t know, but I was raised in farm country, and pigs will eat people; cows and chickens, even goats, won’t.”

… WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?! This has nothing to do with the question, which was about size/intelligence being the determining factor. Anita even ADMITS she doesn’t know the reason why not, and then goes off on a spiel about something irrelevent!

Or is Anita trying to imply that if you brought a pig to a graveyard, it would start eating people?

“No, it’s not,” I said, “and if you’re hurt enough that you can’t get back out of the pigpen some breeds will fucking eat you.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“My dad is a veterinarian. He used to take me on his rounds sometimes; trust me, some pigs will eat you.”

  1. Funny, I don’t remember the parts of the James Herriot books where he almost got eaten by pigs. Trampled, crushed, sadistically toyed with, yes. But not eaten.
  2. Yes, pigs can eat people, because they’re omnivores. Like humans.
  3. But no, this is not a habitual or common thing unless you starve them.
  4. Like with other kinds of livestock like cows, horses and even sheep (a ram can fuck you up!), they generally attack people because they’re pissed off and want to hurt them. And yes, that applies to wild boars as well.
  5. And it’s VERY unlikely that just going on veterinary rounds would expose Anita to Killer Kannibal Hogs From Hell.
  6. I get the feeling LKH is just scared of farm animals, period.
  7. She definitely doesn’t know much about them. We’ll revisit this topic later.
  8. Do vets do a lot of game hunting? Because Anita previously boasted about being her dad’s real “son” because they went hunting, and it seems kind of schizoid to have a job helping animals, and a hobby murdering them.
  9. Or… maybe that’s where Anita inherited her tendencies from.

Anita also poohpoohs the idea of using a chimp or a dolphin, because she apparently can’t grasp the idea of sedation or graves close to the ocean. I think this is meant to make us marvel at her knowledge of “boilogy,” but it just makes it sound like LKH isn’t very imaginative. She’s only shown chickens and goats, dammit, so that’s the norm!

 
I thought about it, and finally said, “Maybe, but an adult male chimpanzee can tear a normal human being’s arm out of its socket, and I can’t even wrap my head around trying to get a dolphin alive to a grave site just to slit its throat to raise a zombie.”
“So looking for missing persons being used as human sacrifices won’t help us find these creeps?” Manning asked.

… her transitions in conversations suck. People get irrelevant answers from random comments.

Or did LKH just jam more filler conversations in the middle of OTHER conversations again?

 
“Dominga’s plan was to give the zombies in as fresh a condition as possible to her buyers as perpetual sex slaves,”

“Perpetual”? Does that mean the necromancer has to hang around the client for the rest of his/her life to control the zombie?!

And why do I suspect that there would be a lot of politicians and televangelists seeking non-rotting zombie wives?

 
“but she didn’t see the possibility of porn online.”

Probably because that book came out in 1994. Back then, people still thought computers were magic and VR was indistinguishable from reality.

And now I’m just imagining Dominga ranting about “damnniños today and their stupid iPhones and Xboxes and Internets and Webs! Why can’t they do wholesome outdoor activities, like enslaving the dead for the sex trade?”

 
“Technically it’s not illegal in most states, because the necrophilia laws have been modified so that if the corpse is moving and capable of giving consent it’s consensual sex, not necrophilia, and that’s a misdemeanor anyway,” Manning said.

…. so a vampire shoplifting a few times is a capital offense, but HAVING SEX WITH A ZOMBIE is a “misdemeanor”?

Oh, and by the way, there is no federal legislation on necrophilia. Necrophilia is only a misdemeanor in SOME states, and I frankly hate that I had to google that. However, there are a lot of states where it’s a fucking felony… and frankly, except for the depraved practices of politicians, I can’t see why it’s anything less.

And how can a zombie even give consent? We have established that THEY HAVE NO SOULS, and when an animator raises them, they have to obey that animator. WHERE IS THE “GIVING CONSENT PART”? WHY ARE MY EYES BLEEDING?!

 
“I know some states had to change their laws once vampires were considered legal citizens, because the way the law was written, sex with them was still an arrestable offense,” I said.

Except that vampires can give consent, and they still have some living characteristics, and they don’t require an outside party to continue moving around and having flesh and stuff. Also, they have souls.

 
“It was my senior year of college when it changed. I guess I hadn’t thought what I’d missed,” I said.

Isn’t it just so convenient how the legalization of vampires, the excommunication of animators and vampire hunters being legitimized all happened at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME, just in time for it to affect Anita?

Then Zerbrowski teases Anita about being younger than he is, and Anita gets pissed off because he is apparently making a reference to her high-school-attending barely-legal boytoy Cynric. Yes, he knows that Anita is banging a teenager, and thinks she needs to not worry about it so much because… a thirtysomething person banging a teenager is totally normal.

 
He offered her a fist bump and after a bemused moment, she took it.

Why do people keep fist-bumping in this series? Is this something LKH thinks is cool?

Then we have a totally random discussion about age, which exists just so Brent can announce that Anita looks super-youthful. You know, like LKH thinks she does. Then Anita starts thinking about how being a blatant Sue JC’s human servant means she’s not aging at all, and pretends to feel sad about the idea of Zerbrowski getting old while she remains a perky-titted sex goddess forevermore. No, I don’t believe she really cares.

 
On the heels of that thought was another one, that if he were a vampire he wouldn’t age. I’d never looked at one of my friends and thought that before. I wasn’t sure how I felt about thinking it now. It wasn’t a good feeling, whatever it was.

  1. Will this lead to anything? NO.
  2. It never seems to dawn on Anita that maybe Zerbrowski is okay with growing old with his wife, and embracing natural mortality. Because this a character who is now aging backwards due to the author’s issues.
  3. And you remember how several books ago, Anita considered it murder to turn a person into a vampire? Now she’s casually thinking about it because VAMPIYZ KEWL HOOMINS STOOPID.
  4. Keep in mind that turning anyone into a vampire allows Anita to have power over them.
  5. It’s weird how she doesn’t consider this option for any members of her family… just for this guy whom she’s known on-and-off for some years, and suddenly is claiming he’s her partner. Since last Tuesday.
  6. I think this is an effort to make it seem that Anita cares about people she’s not banging or enslaving. But since her first impulse is to turn him into a creature she can control, it feels very hollow.

 
I nodded. “Sure, just thinking too hard.”

… I… easy joke is too easy.

 
“Because you only overthink your personal life; crime busting makes you kind of peaceful.”

“You’re only peaceful when you’re brutally gunning down screaming civilians!”

 
“This case isn’t going to make me feel peaceful, Zerbrowski.”
“I’m sorry, you’re right. This one’s going to hurt.”
“What do you mean by that?” Manning asked.
He looked at her, and his brown eyes showed that there was a shrewd thinker behind all the messy clothes and teasing. “Some cases leave a mark on your soul even after you solve it.”

  1. Again… FBI. Realistically, she would have seen stuff that would make him faint.
  2. Where does LKH get the idea that random homicide cops are sooooooo much more experienced and knowledgeable than fucking secret agents?
  3. And why, why, WHY does this woman have to explain everything? Anyone with the brains of a goldfish could figure out “This one’s going to hurt,” but of course, LKH has to tell us what that means.
  4. Gotta love what LKH thinks of a “shrewd thinker” as. In her world, it’s not someone of deep or incisive thought. It’s a guy who says the same faux-deep fortune-cookie lines as everyone else, and shows no awareness of what anyone else is thinking.

And of course, the FBI is here because nobody in the world is as good at all this as Anita, and every consultant/employee for the FBI has failed them utterly and Anita is their only hope. And when I say “every,” I mean it. They claim all the witches/psychics have failed, their voodoo priest has failed, Larry has failed… and their computer experts have failed.

Now I could buy that the supernatural angle might be beyond most people, and they might need Anita’s input on how that is done. But needing Anita to track INTERNET PORN? I’m sorry, but they shouldn’t need her involved beyond the information about souled zombies.

Wow, I wonder if the zombie porn is conveniently being made in St. Louis, so Anita can stumble across it without much actual effort. That would surprise me muchly.

 
“What do your computer techs say?” Zerbrowski asked.
She nodded again. “They say that whoever is doing the tech for these creeps is really, really good.”

Okay, I’m not an expert in what the FBI can do, and what their tech experts can do. But I am pretty sure they can trace some schmucks in St. Louis doing zombie porn.

 
Brent added, “They are still working on tracing to a location, but the ability to hide the computer trail is always just a little ahead of our ability to trace it, until we catch up.”

… so they’re always ahead of you, until you catch up. So… shouldn’t you have them?

 
“And then the bad techies figure out a new way to pull ahead of the good guys,” I said.

LKH… technology is not a car race. You don’t “pull ahead.”

And again, these are some zero-budget porn hockers in St. Louis, whose only special advantage is that they can create “souled” zombies. Am I really supposed to buy that they have better technology and “techies” than the FBI?

The answer is no, by the way.

LKH doesn’t seem to quite grasp that the FBI is quite a bit bigger than a small portion of a single city’s homicide squad.

Manning then natters about how she doesn’t “speak enough computer” to understand the whole technical side of the issue, which tells me that LKH couldn’t find a calendar about the subject.

 
“I just recently learned how to change the ring tones on my smart phone, so I hear you on the whole mysterious-computer thing,” I said.

Yes, Anita. Please advertise that you are too stupid to handle ringtones, despite computers being ridiculously user-friendly.

It’s even stupider when you consider that Manning is talking about intricate, elaborate attempts to track people via the Web. Anita… is talking about changing her ringtone. Which is almost the easiest thing you can do on a phone. Holy fuck, children can do that! I can only imagine how inept Anita is with an actual computer!

She gave me a weak smile. “Thank you for that, but there’s usually an age line about such things. You’re young to be on the wrong side of it.”

That’s because she’s written by a fiftysomething woman who is frightened by unfamiliar things and finds Mac computers hard to use.And I hate to break it to you, LKH, but age is no longer an excuse to be computer-illiterate.

And then we have comedy. Or rather, a limp unfunny attempt at comedy.

In other words, we have Zerbrowski talking about how much he loves his smart phone because… he can use it for the purpose it’s intended. I guess this is LKH’s feeble way of telling us that middle-aged people like her are totally hip, yo!

 
“And you’re over the age line, of course.” Manning looked from one to the other of us. “The two of you balance each other somehow like good partners do.”

They’re. Not. Partners.

I don’t know why LKH is suddenly trying to convince us that they are proper partners in policework. Maybe it’s because so many people said she WASN’T a cop, so she’s trying to show us that Anita so totally is, so there! But the fact is, this does not work on any level.

  • Anita is not a cop. She was previously called in as a consultant on vampire/were crimes, but that doesn’t make you a cop. And you definitely don’t get assigned actual cops as “partners.”
  • And even if LKH asspulls the whole “she’s a Marshal for reels!” thing again, it doesn’t mean anything. The Marshal service is not the same as a city’s police force, dammit. You can’t just (undeservedly) become a part-time marshal and get to count as a member of your local police force. Nor can you become a Marshal, and just decide, “Hey, I want to work as a regular cop too! Give me a partner! I want one!”

And no, this whole “partner” thing doesn’t add anything to the story. I think it’s just another futile attempt to convince us that Anita is totally the same as a cop, except she’s better than them at everything WITHOUT all that stupid training.

 
We looked at each other, then both shrugged almost in unison and said, “We try.”
She narrowed her eyes at us. Brent laughed.

Ever hear your own sense of humor shrivel up and die? I just did.

 
If civilians could have seen us laughing and smiling with that horror still frozen on the computer behind us, they’d have thought we were cold-blooded, or worse.

That’s because you are.

Then Anita pontificates from her anus about how if you don’t laugh, the nightmares will make you go crazy or kill yourself, and she’s one of the ”career cops, in it for the long haul, and that meant we whistled in the dark, sang on the way to our execution, joked at the door to hell.” Except, you know, that she isn’t. LKH can say it as often as she likes, but Anita is not a cop – and she doesn’t hesitate to remind people that she’s not a cop when the rules get in her way.

Anita keeps nattering about how she’s totally going to stop them, and I think this is meant to be a rousing speech where she shows how caring and moral she is. But you know what? She spends a lot more time talking about killing the bad guys than she does talking about freeing the zombie. Her priorities are pretty clear.

The people who’d raised the zombie and were abusing her hadn’t done anything to earn a warrant of execution, not legally,

THEY HAVEN’T EARNED IT BECAUSE THEY ARE HUMAN. I know LKH fantasizes about basically being the Punisher with tits, but you are not legally allowed to hunt down and murder people as a matter of course! Even in her fictional universe, warrants of execution apply to VAMPIRES ONLY.

 
so I couldn’t just go in there with guns blazing like normal when I was chasing monsters.

Wanna bet she’s slaughtered hundreds of innocent people because she’s too dumb to check the address?

 
They hadn’t killed anyone, hell, I wasn’t even sure what laws they’d broken,

Ah yes, the expert on all matters preternatural, who knows more about being an animator than anyone else, and is an insufferable know-it-all about everything.

 
but morally—they needed to suffer.

Which is what led her to brutally murder Dominga and Gaynor.

 
Was that judgmental of me? Hell yes, but sometimes you just gotta go with that part of yourself that says, This is morally wrong and I will stop you.

Unless someone decides to go with that part of themselves… and try to stop Anita. Then they are evil zealots who are just jealous.

 
Judge not, lest ye be judged, but in this case I was pretty sure God would be on my side.

No, I’m pretty sure He’s not. Because in real life, it’s not always good versus bad. Sometimes it’s bad versus bad. And taking down a bad guy doesn’t make you less evil.

And considering Anita is also a murderer who has brainwashed people into being her rapey slaves with her sex-fu powers… no, I don’t think she’s coming across as superior just because she hasn’t (yet) fucked a zombie. Because that is definitely going to happen. Just wait.

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