A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Burnt Offerings’ chapter two


Larry sat very carefully in the passenger seat of my Jeep. It’s hard to sit in a car when your back has fresh stitches in it. I’d seen the wound. It was one sharp puncture and one long, bloody scrape. Two wounds, really. He was still wearing the blue T-shirt he’d started in, but the back of it was bloody and ragged. I was impressed he’d kept the nurses from cutting it off of him. They had a tendency to cut off clothing that stood in their way.

There’s a reason for that. I find it highly unlikely that Lawrence would have been released so quickly with such a serious injury. He has puncture wounds in his back! His spine or kidneys might have been injured! But this sounds like he got a cut across his back muscles with two or three stitches. I don’t think this is a sort of wound you can just stroll out of hospital with.

Lawrence is squirming around in his seat and Anita is so distracted that she got herself lost. Truly riveting.

“Did you take your pain pill?” I asked.

He tried to sit very still, one arm braced on the edge of the seat. “No.”

“Why not?”

“Because stuff like that knocks me out. I don’t want to sleep.”

Take your damn pain relief. Is this Lawrence trying to act all tough and badass? Because it’s stupid. Coming from someone who is on medication and takes a lot of pain relief, pain is a terrible thing for your body. Let yourself heal Lawrence. Don’t try and be tuff. Don’t whine and bitch about how you’ll get bad dreams when you’ve got twenty stitches holding your back together.

Not that Lawrence seems to know anything about anatomy. He doesn’t understand why his back hurts when he moves.

And this guy is allowed by the government to go running around and kill creatures.

Anyway, Lawrence begins recounting how he got injured, presumably missing out the bits where he stabbed the nurses to escape from being kept in hospital. He had to stake two people who don’t want to rise as vampires. At the morgue, he was asked by an official to stake a body that just came in and might become a vampire. Lawrence refused, saying it was illegal. We all know that this is in actual fact not illegal, as Anita went to the morgue to do exactly that back in book two. He went outside to have a smoke, leaving the vampire alone.

To punish him for this, Anita slams on the brakes so that Lawrence is flung forwards. Real clever, Anita. His stitches might have burst and he could bled out.

Back in the story, Lawrence came back into the morgue to find the female attendant trying to stake the vampire anyway. He left his vampire kit unattended, as he’s an idiot. He pulled her from the body, and made sure the vampire wasn’t dead. She then staked him in the back.

Yeah, that’s a wound that should certainly warrant considerable hospital time. Did the nurses manage to sew up his internal organs with butterfly stitches and slap a plaster on it?

“Why didn’t you draw your gun, Larry?”

“If I’d drawn my gun, I might have shot her.”

“That’s sort of the point, Larry.”

Can you not have your main character advocate murder, please? I don’t think animators are allowed to run around shooting anyone they want. They are not police officers. They are employed by the courts to execute vampires. That’s it. They are not the equivalent of police officers. Stop trying to make them into police officers.

Anita pulls up outside Lawrence’s home, giving her time to be sad about Richard. They helped Lawrence move in, you see, so she is sad. *single tear*

“Larry, you are going to have to get over this squeamishness or you’re going to get killed.”

Not murdering people is NOT squeamishness. That’s being a good moral person.

Anita talks from her apparent moral highground about how she would never do anything so stupid, as if she’d never done anything wrong or stupid that got her injured in her life or career. Lawrence needs to be like her, and remember his priorities.

Lawrence counters with “Well, at least I’ve got a scar you don’t have”. Anita then goes on about ‘nuh uh, I’ve been staked, and anything can kill you, so shoot everyone’. They are such children.

And there’s more to the story. The morgue attendant was a member of Humans First, the terrorist organisation. The vampire in question was a doctor working at the hospital. She managed to get him to the morgue without anyone noticing or checking on her because… shut up. The Anita Blake universe is worse than the Marvel universe when it comes to ordinary people. No one gives a shit.

Anita then clunkily exposits about how radical Humans First is, and how they keep murdering vampires and no one stops them.

“I’m surprised they didn’t have you come down and see it in person.”

I shrugged. “I can’t go personally to every preternatural crime. Besides, I’m technically a civilian. Cops are sort of leery about involving civilians in their cases, but more importantly, the media would be all over it. The Executioner Solves Vampire Murder.”

  • Really, you’re just a civilian? WELL YOU DON’T FUCKING ACT LIKE IT.
  • The police involve you all the time. You are rude. That is why they hate you.
  • You have solved many murder cases. The media has not given a shit so far.

Here is a giff-atic reconstruction of how LKH writes:

http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view5/4489191/black-books-fran-computing-o.gif

wordpress, stop dicking about with my posts.

The chapter closes with Anita getting beeped on her pager.

THRILLING.

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8 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Burnt Offerings’ chapter two

  1. Why would they involve her? I’m sorry, but this is the bit that makes no sense to me. She knows how to kill vampires. That does not make her qualified to investigate crimes committed against or by a vampire. Her presence could very well be enough to get a case thrown out of court, given how she ignores rules and standard procedure.

    Also, kind of arrogant of her to assume that, of course she would solve the case! The police can’t, but Anita Blake would be able to catch the bad guys immediately!

      • I have known a few police officers to be all of those things, but she seems to show them as all being that way 😉 and I’m sure there are many who are not.

      • It’s a hard balance, as there are people who are those things in every walk of life – lord knows I’ve met enough. But the people in these books, police or not, are such strawman extreme examples that it makes them look so ludicrous and that LKH does not even know how people work.

  2. The police are *amazingly* incompetent, which becomes flat-out astounding as the books go on. They passed the laws legalizing vampires in the early 90’s in these books, and apparently weres seem to have been known even before that, yet the police (INCLUDING RIPT, who specifically deal with these things) need Anita to hold their hands when it comes to supernatural crimes. It’s just….*flails* Seriously. I don’t think LKH understands that the police (in the US, at least) now generally need at least college to even get into a uniform; it’s past absurd that the university system wouldn’t have even the most basic classes on “How to deal with vampires” or “Weres 101.”

    Also, your posts need more Black Books gifs. Maybe Bernard just screaming at Manny through the locked door would do.

  3. Seriously, the vampires have to be the ones running things. It’s the only logical explanation for why the cops whose whole job is to deal with supernatural creatures are so utterly incapable of doing their job. And Anita keeps getting called in because JC keeps pulling strings for her.

  4. Re Larry’s injuries – maybe the poor bastard doesn’t have adequate health insurance. Once A&E are done he just gets kicked out.

    I ❤ the NHS. (Which I don't usually get to say when I've had any actual contact with it!)

    If he can't afford health insurance this may also explain why he couldn't afford a taxi home.

    I really have no idea why I'm making justifications for this book.

    • You’d think Vampire Executioner would be one of those jobs with adequate health insurance, considering how dangerous the job is.

      Although being a Vampire Executioner is very lucrative, considering how much money Anita has compared with how little work she does.

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