My book cover is just glaring at me. The British publisher put no effort into the covers for this series. It’s just a woman glaring at me with a burning cross in the background. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this cover is lazy as shit and would not get me interested enough to read this.
Could be worse. I could have this cover.
Yeah, people are going to think ‘supernatural thriller’ when they see this, not ‘dodgy 70s erotica’.
So, what should I expect but not get this time?
‘You can’t trust anyone who sleeps with the monsters.’
That’s what I’ve always said. That’s what I’ve always believed. But now I’m the one sharing a bed with the Master Vampire of the City. Me, Anita Blake. The woman the vampires call The Executioner. From part of the solution, I’ve become part of the problem.
So it hits close to home when an arsonist begins to target vampire-owned businesses all over town – an arsonist who seems to want to destroy more than just property. It’s the monsters who are in danger now. And it’s up to the Executioner to save them from the inferno…
Spoilers: JC doesn’t die.
I mean, I haven’t read it, but any character that Anita likes or is close to is not allowed to die. LKH has said so herself, after the death of Philip was too traumatic to deal with. I guess she’s the expert in building tension by allowing all her fans to know their favourite characters are guaranteed to not be harmed.
the book starts with talking about Anita’s scars
Scars do not make you badass, Anita. I have a lot of scars. Most of them are reminders of me doing something incredibly stupid. I have a big red one on my hand when I picked up a crab when I was ten. I don’t boast about it and wave it in people’s faces to show how much I can deal with pain. (I flash my tat to do that)
Most people don’t stare at the scars. They’ll look, of course, then do the eye slide. You know, the quick look, then drop the gaze, then just have to have that second look. But they make it quick. The wounds aren’t like freak show bad, but they are interesting.
hey look ableism is rearing it’s ugly head early in this book. ‘Freak show bad’. NO. NO. NO. BAD PHRASE.
Anita is meeting an arson investigator in her office, Pete McKinnon, who is staring at her. She reassures us that it’s not sexual. As she always does.
My right arm had been sliced open twice by a knife. One scar was white and old. The second was still pink and new. My left arm was worse. A mound of white scar tissue sat at the bend of my arm. I’d have to lift weights for the rest of my life or the scars would stiffen and I’d lose mobility in the arm, or so my physical therapist had said. There was a cross-shaped burn mark, a little crooked now because of the ragged claw marks that a shapeshifted witch had given me. There were one or two other scars hidden under my blouse, but the arm really is the worst.
I had to suffer through it, so all of you must do so too.
Anita then goes on about how Bert thinks it’s all so unprofessional to show them, so he’s been sabotaging the air conditioner in Anita’s office to make her wear a jacket. She’s considering wearing a tanktop because both of them are silly. Bert should have a clothing policy that he makes his employees sign, Anita should grow up and be an adult.
Unusually, McKinnon is not in Anita’s office of his own volition. She has sought him out, presumably about the arson attacks advertised on the blurb. He asks her about the scars straight out, and he is covered in ones of his own – burn scars. Anita says that he looks very old and tired. She then shows him more scars.
Each time Anita shows her scars off, everyone should take a drink.
“Now that we’ve proven we’re big tough he-men, can you just cut to the chase? Why are you here, Captain McKinnon?”
…. what? You just said Dolph recommended him to you. That implies you went to him. LKH, you have to be more careful with how you word things. McKinnon then smiles and says how Anita doesn’t like being sized up, because that’s how a fire investigator talks. That’s how any professional goes around talking to people they work with.
Anyway, it seems that McKinnon is here to talk about ‘firebugs’, those who are pyrokinetic and can ‘call’ fire psychically. I’d have said ‘create’ as you can’t really call a chemical reaction, but whatever. It’s unusually interesting worldbuilding for this series, so I’ll take it happily.
McKinnon talks about firebugs for a long time. A loooooooong time. Firebugs are rare and… there’s not much else said, apart from a case of McKinnon’s where there was a young male firebug who killed sixty people. He burnt McKinnon and gave him the scars. McKinnon thinks another one is running around the place and wants Anita to help him.
How on earth will she be able to help?
She has no fire training. She has no jurisdiction to hunt down a psychic – she’s a VAMPIRE executioner, not a ‘human being with special powers executioner’. She has no investigative abilities. She is as useful as a chocolate teapot.
McKinnon gives her a fire of property damage cases and says that it’s something that can ‘shed fire like sprinkling water’ and walk through burning buildings. Anita says that she’ll help in any way she can.
I nodded and stood. I offered my hand. He shook it. His grip was firm, solid, but not too tight. A lot of male clients that wanted to know about the scars squeezed my hand like they wanted me to cry “uncle”. But McKinnon was secure. He had his own scars.
are you saying that your male clients want to think that you were abused, and that makes them secure in their own insecurities?
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY? SHOULD I SCRUB MY BRAIN CLEAN OR NOT?
So, McKinnon has gone, and Lawrence Kirkland walks his way back into the AB world. Goodie. He needs a ride home, as he is apparently unable to pick up the phone and get a taxi. Apparently, he picks up the phone and smacks himself in the forehead with it instead. He needs picking up, and he’ll explain when she gets there.
Anita drops all her appointments and rushes out to help him.
She’s a professional, y’all.