A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Cerulean Sins’ chapter fifty three

Head’s up – there are going to be some bloody images in the post.

I’d expected the scene to be bad, because the last scene had been bad. But I hadn’t expected this. Either our rapist murderer had moved to the bathroom for his second kill, or we had a whole new killer. I’d smelled the same hamburger smell as I walked through the house. Zerbrowski had given me little plastic booties to put over my Nikes, and handed me the box of gloves. He’d said something about the floor being messy. I’d never thought of Zerbrowksi as a master of understatement.

Here’s the problem I have every time Anita goes to a crime scene: it’s coached in this childish oh-so coy language. For all the fans go on about how extreme and gory and scary this stuff it, it’s very blank, emotionless, and described in such little-girl language that I don’t get a sense of horror or devastation. I don’t get a sense of anything, other than LKH saying how totally extreme this all is without providing much proof of why. I’m not saying that I could do any better – I hope I could – but it’s very detached. I get no sense of what the scene is like. There is no sensory reaction other than a vague idea about burgers, which does nothing to me except make me think the place smells like McDonald’s.

And it all reads as being very incompetent. Anita should be looking like this –

– not just skipping daintily through all the blood in her street clothes. For all those cop friends LKH boasts of, she appears to know nothing.

The room was red. Red, as if someone had painted all the walls crimson, but it wasn’t an even job of painting. It wasn’t just red, or crimson, but scarlet, ruby, brick red where it had begun to dry, a color so dark it was almost black, but it sparked red like a dark garnet.

Red, red, red, like shiny gems. Wow so hardcore. *rolls eyes*

Anita, who sees shit like this ALL THE GODDAMNED TIME, gets all emotional and runs around in the blood which is everywhere. She runs out to the bathroom and thinks about how big it is compared to her bathroom back home because… that is add something, I guess. Anyway, the bathroom is full of blood too and Anita gets all faint and fluttery.

I leaned on the cool tile sink and ran cold water over my hand. When it was cold enough I splashed it on my face. There was no hand towel, probably it had been bagged and sent to the lab, where it would be checked for hair and fiber and stuff.

‘And stuff’. Clearly, Anita Blake is the consummate professional.

I untucked my T-shirt from my jeans and wiped my face dry. I came away with a few dark stains. The remnants of last night’s makeup. I looked into the wide shining mirror, glaring bright in the overhead lights. I had dark smudges of mascara and eyeliner under my eyes. Waterproof really isn’t. It’s more like water tough, but not proof. I used the hem of my T-shirt to dab at the black marks, but got most of it. I also ended up with black stuff on my shirt, but it didn’t seem to matter.

‘Black stuff’. None of this had to be included. You don’t need to walk me through every single step of what your character is doing. There’s a point where you need to STOP showing me because it takes up space that could be used for more important things.

Zerbrowski comes in and, seeing that Anita is emotionally distressed from walking through the crime scene, immediately makes jokes about how the whole of RPIT are betting on which woman friend Anita is fucking.

fuck you


He finally realises something is wrong and they exchange mutual observances that the crime scene is totes bad. This goes on for about a page and then Anita asks who was killed and how many. For some reason, this is a bad thing to ask and Zerbrowski goes on about how she’s ‘such a fucking pain in the ass’.

Well, yes, she is, but not when she’s trying to be competent for once.

We stood in the doorway and smiled at each other. Nothing had changed in that small horror chamber. There wasn’t a drop less of blood, or an inch less of gory bits plastered to the walls, but we bother felt better.

Yeah, he demeaned and dehumanised you, but yeah, you feel just so much better!

Anita and Zerbrowski enter a debate on how many people have been killed. This debate involves Anita noticing that the bathtub is full because it doesn’t have that ‘little hole that stops it from overflowing’. Um, aren’t you going to mention that the human body only has so much blood in it and there’s clearly more blood than one would expect from bleeding out one body? But, nope, we’re talking about bathtub holes. *throws hands in air*

Zerbrowski decides to be an ASSHOLE (lol surprise) and Anita must engage in a question and answer game to find out about the crime scene so she can do her fucking job.

What does this add? Why is this here? Is it meant to be funny? Because I don’t find it funny, I find it makes me want to beat Zerbrowksi in the head with a shovel for being a sexist, patronising asshole.

They head on over to the last part of the house. Thrilling.


2 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Cerulean Sins’ chapter fifty three

  1. It sounds to me like she just contaminated the crime scene. Running through the blood, running water in the sink. And she’s still in her street clothes, so she’s getting fibres everywhere. I really hope that everyone has collected all the evidence they need.

    Also, in a lot of her crime scenes she goes on about it smelling of hamburger. Hamburger really doesn’t have that strong a smell. Raw meat would be a more evocative image, but I would think sewage, if they’re disembowelling people, or that cloying, metallic, taste-it-in-the-back-of-your-throat copper when there’s a lot of blood. The strongest images in your description of the crime scene shouldn’t make me think of McDonalds and home decorating.

    • She might have well just jumped into the bloodpool and make a little blood angel.

      Raw meat is a more effective image. I have no idea why she talks about hamburgers. I guess she’s never smelt raw meat or large amounts of blood?

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