Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton
Released: September 1994

The Laughing Corpse is the second book in the "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I first read this novel about 15 years ago, but the humor in this series failed to entertain me, so I quit around books #4 or #5. With renewed interest in the paranormal romance genre, I've decided to start over with the series. Just for fun. To see if I've changed my mind.

Vampire hunter and zombie animator Anita Blake continues to spend her nights raising the dead by profession. When a number of families are found brutally murdered and torn apart inside their homes, Anita suspects that a very old and very powerful zombie is behind the gruesome killings.

Given Anita's experience in the world of the paranormal, she knows that only someone with great power would have been able to raise such a zombie, and that human sacrifice is the only way a zombie of that magnitude could have been raised in the first place. With the help of her fellow animators and Jean-Claude, the city's master vampire, Anita embarks on a hunt for a centuries-old killer zombie, and for the person responsible for raising it.

So far, the Anita Blake series is quite impressive given that the books were published in the mid-1990s. With the exception of a few fashion descriptions of Anita's outdated (and seemingly nerdy) clothing, The Laughing Corpse borders on timeless. Lack of pagers, cell phones, and Internet in this one make for a quick, fun, and suspenseful mystery without any annoying and redundant mentions of technology we're all apparently obsessed with (text messaging, Facebook, iPhone, blehhh).

The overall tone of The Laughing Corpse is gritty and dark, and could almost qualify as crime noir. Just like in Guilty Pleasures, Anita's character is tough, quick-witted, and just plain bad-ass. Anita Blake is like Stephanie Plum on steroids - all of the quirky mishaps plus a lot more gore, violence, and horror.

I commend Hamilton on veering away from vampires in general for the first two-thirds of the novel, and admire how she throws Jean-Claude back into the story just when readers may have forgotten all about him. The chemistry and sparks that fly between Anita and Jean-Claude are slowly building into a powerful crescendo, so I'm excited to see where their relationship goes in the upcoming novels in the series.

From a mystery standpoint, good luck trying to piece everything together. It might be easy for most readers to figure out who's involved with the raising of the centuries-old zombie, but not so easy to figure out the "hows" and "whys." Overall, definitely a satisfying read.

The books that follow The Laughing Corpse in the Anita Blake series are Circus of the Damned, The Lunatic Cafe, Bloody Bones, and The Killing Dance.

Click on any of the images of the books below to review them in more detail on

What are your favorite paranormal romance series? Have you read the Anita Blake series, and if so, what did you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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