A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter twenty three


Anita has not gone to hospital with her head injury. Instead, she has opted to go to a back alley shapeshifter clinic. Yeah, the woman who wouldn’t even condescend to touch a injured man because he was a shapeshifter in case she might be contaminated is suddenly rubbing elbows with lots of injured shapeshifters. Consistency – just how you describe a cake mix.

I was the first human they’d ever allowed to see the place. I should have been flattered, but managed not to be.

Oh, screw you Anita. Screw you and your attitude.

Lillian – the shapeshifter nurse – says that she doesn’t think the head injury is serious, but she can’t tell because the place doesn’t have the equipment to deal with her injuries. You know, the world needs a organised facility ideally suited and built for the medical treatment of people. What would you call it? It needs to be hospitable, so maybe we could call it a ‘hospital’. I’m probably being a bit too out there with that, what do you guys think?

Lillian advises that Anita be woken up every hour for twenty four hours, so they can judge how serious Anita’s head injury is.

This is my second revolutionary idea of the night; a machine designed to let medical practitioners examine the inside of the human body!

Richard shows up and says he’ll wake her up from what might develop into a coma that she might never wake from. Lucky.

Richard’s fingertips touched the back of my hand. He didn’t try to hold my hand, just that touch. Comforting. I didn’t know what to do. If I was going to say no, eventually, it didn’t seem fair to flirt. Just the weight of his fingers was a line of warmth all the way up my arm. Lust, just lust. Don’t I wish.

Even if you had held his hand (how old are we all? 13?) then why would he think you were flirting with him? You’ve got a serious head injury. You might need comfort. Holding someone’s hand is a comfort. Well, unless hand holding is super-secret werewolf code for ‘take me now big boy’.

Anita jumps off the table, wobbles about and declares that she must go to Guilty Pleasures right away. Richard drives her and Anita has him promise that he will not try anything heroic whatsoever.

I ran my hand through that wavy hair, grabbing a handful close to the warmth of his skull. I used the hair like a handle and turned his face to me.

Hair pulling to force him to look at you. That’s nice.

I tightened his grip on his hair, not to hurt, but to get his attention. A small sound escaped his throat. “If you fuck this up through some misguided male ego thing, you’re going to get me killed.”

This doesn’t sound like an engaged couple. This sounds like an unfortunate man and his abuser. Just because Anita’s a girl don’t make it okay. Just because she follows this with a kiss does not make it okay. Dump her Richard. Dump her and escape.

Anita then moans to Richard about how she doesn’t know how she feels anymore. Bearing in mind, she was having the crisis about him before their engagement. I can’t believe it’s just been a bloody day or so. Her emotional spectrum – what little there is – goes at twice the normal rate. And you’re going to tell JC that you’re engaged when you’re not sure you want to be anymore. Christ, this is an unending circle with no beginning and no foreseeable end.

I couldn’t stand it. I came up behind him and wrapped my arms around his waist. I buried my face in the line of his spine.

… come again? Are you motorboating his butt checks or have you just shoved your face through his spine?

Richard cries and Anita … picks up his tears with her fingertips and starts talking about how she needs time but that she loves him and she might risk her life talking to JC. Talk about mixed messages.

Richard says he loves her too. I think this is a conditioned response to an abuser but I’m sure fans would argue with me.

How would Jean-Claude take the news? As the old saying goes, only one way to find out.

I think I need reminding as to how it’s his fucking business anyway.

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5 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter twenty three

  1. “I should have been flattered, but managed not to be.”

    So she made a deliberate effort to NOT be flattered? That’s what it reads like. What an ungracious asshole.

    Also, Anita ends up being a hugely abusive partner. To really sickening points. She may not bash in the faces of her multiple boyfriends, or other physically harm them (unless you count RAPE) but she doesn’t need to. She’s got them under her control. Sometimes to the point of mind-control. And I don’t mean that figuratively, she actually gave more than one guy a psychic lobotomy with her powers when he joined her harem. I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP, THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS!

    • What is it with modern fantasy and abusive relationships? Why can’t there be a story about a vampire and his girlfriend and they argue about the milk or something normal? That their relationship doesn’t have to rely upon bullshit lies and abuse and aggression, just attraction and personalities that go together. Like a normal relationship.

      … i should so write a vampire and his girlfriend having an argument over the milk.

      • But it must end with the vampire face palming and realizing he doesn’t need milk, so his girlfriend (or boyfriend. Or maybe the vampire is female.. So many options. Why is the girlfriend always human?) should make the milk choices, since they don’t really matter much to the undead.

      • Please, write this. I would love to read it! Would you be posting it on here if you did? If not, where would I be able to find it?

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