Saturday, April 27, 2013

Skin Trade, Laurell K. Hamilton

Remember those vampires in Incubus Dreams killing the strippers? Remember how they got away? Not this time, beotch!

Anita is back on the case and headed (no pun intended – wait for it…) to Las Vegas. She heads (keep waiting…) to Vegas after receiving a severed head in the mail (NOW you get it) postmarked Vegas. She calls the cops there and it turns out the head belongs to a cop that was killed by the vamps during the attempt to execute them. A few cops died, but more have gone into a mysterious sleep. Not a coma, they're asleep and can't be woken. I'll give you three guesses as to how they're supposed to be woken up........Did you guess? That's right, sleeping beauty, Love's Kiss. No. Really. It doesn't have to be romantic love, just love. One victim doesn't have any family, so his dog does the trick. Adorable, right?

The men are barely in this one at all. Well, her lovers anyway. Edward, Bernardo, and Olaf, who we first met in Obsidian Butterfly, are back together again. Jean-Claude makes a phone appearance and is NOT happy with Anita. Really, he's just afraid for her, but we all know sometimes the easiest thing to do when you're afraid is be angry. Anita knows this especially well. They go hand and hand. Anita did run off without waiting for JC to wake up, but that was because she wanted to try to take Vittorio and his gang of bad guys during the day. It's a good reason.

Richard's not in it all, except maybe his name comes up once or twice. Same for Micah and Nathaniel. Really, the only one who's in it is Crispin, the weretiger from Jason's Book, Blood Noir. She adds as the book goes on (including the Wicked Truth), but it's very light on the sex, surprisingly. She ends up taking Crispin and one other tiger, Domino, back home with her. A third wants to go, but he's 16. Yup, you heard that right, six-fucking-teen.

"How did that happen?" you might ask. Well, Vittotio and Mommie Dearest, the mother of all vampires, have a history. They were both some of the first monsters. She's the Mother of Darkness; he's the Father of the Day, a day-walker. She visits Anita via dream, but he takes it over. During the dream, a bomb goes off where Mommie's body is and she dies. Unfortunately that means Daddy's calling the shots. He calls a bunch of different tigers to Anita and forces an orgy. Sort of like what Mommie did in Blood Noir. Unfortunately, the only blue tiger (yup, blue) is the kid. Turns out that 16 is legal in Vegas, which totally creeps me out IRL. Anita is equally horrified when she finally comes to. Still, she manages to keep him in Vegas when she leaves.

Other interesting developments: Olaf continues to be creep-tacular. Not sure what her actions in this book make him think about her. He's doing his normal serial killer act, but at the end…well, I'm just not sure. I'd almost say he's reconsidering his decision to try to have sex with her without killing her. I think she may be back on the "victims only" list. We'll see. Frankly, I'd like him dead. *shiver*

Also, Anita signs an affidavit that keeps a bunch of vampires from being executed. Vittorio rolls and  forces a group of vamps with no connection to him or each other to take hostages in a strip club. He tries to get Anita to come with him and when she narrowly escapes and he has to go on his way, he releases them. They've been rolled like human, but where a human would at most have to go through a trial, the law says they get executed. Period. The SWAT team, some of whom are psychics, don't want to do that. Anita agrees. So, they try the affidavit – and it works. This is where I think Olaf might have changed his mind. He wasn't happy with her decision. 

Have you missed Feminist's Corner? I haven't talked much about the feminist feel in the books for a while, but this one was strong to that end. Probably because it was so heavy on the police work. That's not to say that cops are inherently sexist, don't misunderstand. But the police work, a typically male profession, provides a backdrop.  I think what struck me here was: One, that a lot of the male characters felt that because she was sleeping with some men, then a) she was sleeping with every man, and b) if she wasn't sleeping with you, then you had a right to her. No man would have been treated like that. One of the cops, the boss of course, had his wife leave him for a shifter, so he obviously feels he can take it out on Anita – and does. It just wouldn't have happened if Anita was male. You can say that it's because a man wouldn't remind him of his wife, but a man sleeping with anyone, let alone 6 beautiful women, would have been cause for congratulations and celebration, not interrogation. Interrogation is exactly what happened.

Two, was the idea that having sex somehow made Anita less good at her job. The argument can be made that it wasn't sex, but sex with "monsters" that make it so. I don't believe that. For example, they're arresting weretigers who fit a certain criteria because they know one of them is working with Vittorio. The first arrest they make, the tiger is being very cooperative and says to Anita, "I would have just opened the door for you, little queen." The head of SWAT gets all pissed because he thinks little queen is a term of endearment. No matter what Anita, the tiger, and the tiger's king say, the cop still won't believe it. He thinks she must be sleeping with the tiger and the king and lying. She explains that "little queen" is a title of sorts, and still, nothing. Powerful women are either bitches or sluts: we either fuck people over to get to the top, or fuck to the top. SMH

Overall, really enjoyable. Glad to see Anita back in action and to get closure on the serial killers from Incubus Dreams.

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