A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Killing Dance’ chapter four


Oh joy, Anita is being questioned by the police. Wonderful. A chapter full of her disrespect and contempt for the police. Just what I need.

I sat in a straight-backed chair at a small, scarred table in an interrogation room. Oh, sorry, interview room. That’s what they were calling it now.

Oh, shut up Anita.

Dolph Storr and Catherine, as Anita’s lawyer, are stood with her protecting Anita from mean old Detective Branswell. Can’t a girl kill someone and just get away with it, no questions asked?

Detective Branswell sat across from us. He was in this mid-thirties, black hair, dark complected, with eyes as black as his hair. His name was English, but he looked Mediterranean, like he’d just stepped off the olive boat.

um… okay, me and Cecilia couldn’t decide where on the xenophobic scale the phrase ‘just stepped off the olive boat’ could be placed exactly. We both think it’s racially insensitive and it does sound like a slur against Greek people, but it’s hard to qualify slurs against Caucasians because, you know, white privilege. So I would appreciate some input on this.

Branswell is questioning Anita for a second time about what she was doing.

“But why did you go to your apartment?”

“I was going to get a screwdriver to help install the television.”

“You keep a lot of tools, Ms. Blake?” He wrote something on his notepad. I was betting it was a doodle.

I remember you saying that in the last book, Anita.  And is it just me, but does it sound like he’s accusing her of being a lesbian? I mean, why would you ask a woman if she kept tools? I keep tools. It’s just good sense. If something breaks, I want to be able to fix it.

Anita tells Branswell about how she shot the dead guy through the door and he asks if she knew him. Catherine intervenes to remind him how helpful Anita is. Branswell points out that the dead assassin, Jimmy the Shotgun, has a long rap sheet and is known for killing people cheaply and messily. But he’s going to recommend justifiable homicide and warns Anita to stop bitching about when she’ll get her gun back.

Branswell says that Anita is a good person to have in a crisis (HA!) and that gives her slack – but not a lot of slack. That slack will run out if she shoots up any innocent bystanders. That is how he actually puts it.

Dolph asks for the truth but Ms Catherine Maison-Gillette (what) says that Anita can’t tell him anything cause he’s a cop. She’s not a bad lawyer and this was a dull chapter.

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15 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Killing Dance’ chapter four

  1. I’ve never heard of the olive boat, but since Anita also called an Italian guy a “dago” my guess is that it, like dago, is a slur from back in the day s in America where being white wasn’t enough, you had to be the right KIND of white (not Greek, not Italian, not Jewish, etc). Which means its usage not only really dates LKH, and sounds downright nonsensical from the mouth of a modern-day 20something.

    • She called an Italian a dago? Even her racism is wrong – that’s a derogatory term for Spanish people. If you want to racially abuse Italians, the term is wop.

      • My mom (who is older than LKH by a decade) says it’s for them from when she was a kid, but you’re the second English person I’ve heard says it’s for Spanish people, so I looked it up on Wikipedia, and it says it was originally for Spaniards and still is sometimes in the UK where you are, but that “sometime in the late 19th century or early 20th century, the term “dago” became an ethnic slur chiefly for Italians and people of Italian descent in the U.S., U.K., and Australia” so that’s the way that Hamilton is probably used to hearing it too, being an American.

      • I guess it split in meaning at some point between the UK and US, because I’ve never heard it being used for anyone other than Spanish people in the UK – it’s on Monty Python and so it must be true.

  2. … The olive boat.

    I…have actually never heard that one before. Is it racist? Is she saying he looka… I dunno, like salad? I have no idea. But I admit, it really SOUNDS offensive. Though that may be partially Anita’s natural hatefulness.

    • I looked on the racial slur database and they have – for people of Greek origin – olive n****r and olive picker, so the olive boat sounds like it fits in with them. Either way, it makes me uncomfortable.

  3. Whiteness is a construct that at times has both included and excluded people of jewish, italian, irish, greek etc extraction so I feel safe saying that it is racist at worst and really fucking insensitive at best. Hey, all of Anita’s hallmarks!

  4. I’ve always tended to assume that the “olive boat” comment was about as offensive as saying that someone had “just stepped off the banana boat” would be about anyone with Caribbean heritage. In other words, pretty much horrifically offensive. Maybe I’m wrong, but somehow, I doubt it.

    • I’d never heard it, but it just sounds so casually racist. I have no idea why she couldn’t say that he looked Mediterranean to her, which is a fine description that involves no slurs.

  5. You lost me at ‘white privilege’. I hate that phrase, it implies something universal that really isn’t. But, if you’d been talking about Australia or America I might have been able to stomach it, but Greece? Hahahahahaha…HAH.

    Other than that I agree, sorry if that sounds mean but Greece? For real?

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