A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Guilty Pleasures’ chapter four

Oh god I can think of a hundred and one reasons why a vampire strip club is a bad idea. It’s just so cliché.

“Welcome to Guilty Pleasures. We are here to serve you. To make your most evil thought come true.”

You know what I’d like to see? A short story set in a laundrette run by a vampire. It’d be far more interesting, and it’d be something new to explore. Vampires are rock stars, strippers, club managers – but why not waitresses, nurses or shop cashiers? Surely not all vampires must be darkly glamorous. What if you’re butt ugly? Ain’t no one going to watch you strip.

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to feel my breath upon your skin?”

Well, yes I would wonder. Because you are dead and do not breathe.

Anyway, Jean-Claude is working his mojo on all the women, sending out some kind of hypnotism over the crowd to make them all feel special and desired. The first dancer, Phillip, comes out and he is covered from head to toe in scars.  He dances around with his shirt off and Anita realises all the scars are healed vampire bites – he is a human who gets fed on as part of his act. Ew. Monica waves her money around like a crazy woman and brings him over to the table.  He comes over and Monica puts her mouth on his freshest bite wound, sucking until she has an orgasm.

what i don’t what

Uh, for a start, that is not allowed. Patrons are not allowed to touch performers in strip clubs. That’s the law. And uh, why is she getting off on this so easily? The hypnotism? Isn’t that a bit coercive? She’s not really having a good time, you are making her have a good time. It’s like a mind roofie.

Phillip goes off, and a vampire in a ‘proverbial vampire outfit’ comes out on stage.  He throws out things into the audience and they go crazy – well, apart from Anita. She’s the only woman who has decided it’s not fun to have your mind controlled by a dangerous supernatural creature.

And then vampires come up on the stage and violently attack Phillip. Yup. That’s what all the women are crazy to see – GBH on stage. Real nice. Real classy. No one is complaining, or screaming, or questioning why they’re all going into spontaneous mass orgasms.

I would not call this fun. But then again, I wouldn’t be voluntarily be put under mind control.

Phillip’s body is left on the stage and vampires go out into the audience, kissing patrons. Which, again, is not allowed.

Robert the vampire came to Monica. She tucked money down his pants. He pressed his bloody, fanged mouth to her lips. The kiss was long and deep, full of probing tongues. They were tasting each other.


However, the vampire then comes to force a kiss onto Anita.  She jumps up immediately, giving the game away that she has said no to coercion. Jean-Claude then shows up behind her, to force his mind control on her but she is saved by the lucky beeping of her pager.

The police wanted my expertise at the Hillcrest Cemetery. I had to work on my night off. Yippee, and I meant it.

She gets out of there, although Jean-Claude gets to shout ‘UST! UST, my little Anita’.

I do not like the vampires in the Hamilton universe. They are really rather unpleasant. That sounds a little childish perhaps; I understand that vampires are brutal sadistic killers, but there’s being a coercive unpleasant dick and there’s being a coercive unpleasant dick with charm and pathos. Hamilton’s vampires are not charming. They are skin-crawly.


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