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The Laughing Corpse (1994)

by Laurell K. Hamilton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (2)

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6,051801,455 (3.89)71
The early Anita Blake novels find new life in trade paperback-as perfect collectibles for long-time fans or as great ways for new readers to sink their teeth into the series. In The Laughing Corpse, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead...  … (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before, absolutely loved it! I was waffling between a 4 and 5 star for most of the read, but the ending! Jean-Claude! Like many a teen girl, I had a thing for vampires back in the day. I've read and watched a lot of vampire stories and Jean-Claude has to be the best vampire in vampire history. I sped through this audiobook in two days and the voice acting was phenomenal. ma petite, Jean Claude's nickname for Anita, sounded like a come on every time he said it. I've never been a big fan of slow burn romances or enemies to lovers tropes, but this one works so much for me. Anita and JC are more frenemies than enemies. Anita has really sensible character-driven reasons for not engaging in a romance with him and JC has very sensible political reasons for wanting Anita in his corner/bed. So the tension between them makes sense.

Anita is so incredibly flawed that it's actually amazing that I find her so likeable. Anita is way too concerned about being "one of the guys," she always believes the ends justify the means, she's a black-and-white thinker, and a total prude. It's easy to see that Hamilton is setting Anita up for big character growth in some or possibly all of these areas throughout the rest of her series. This book in particular deals with Anita getting a better grip on her own identity. Is Anita a monster or not? We don't get a simple answer to that question. But in this book Anita psychology abuses a mentally ill clairvoyant, absolutely terrifies a disabled prostitute, and kills three humans. Several times in this book Anita is asked or asks herself "would you have really pulled the trigger? could you really kill me? could I be pushed to kill her?" Anita is pushed to wonder if she's a good guy or a bad guy and eventually she has to realize she's something in between, which would break her black-and-white view of the world.

Thematically, I found this book interesting. In particular there was a conversation between Anita and a necromancer who committed human sacrifice. Anita is trying to understand how someone so good could be pushed to kill. And it made me wonder if we're all capable of killing, but each of us has our own specific level of a metaphorical push needed to get there. While most of us need an incredibly hard and persistent shove to get there, Anita seems to only need a brush of the shoulder.

As much as I found this an entertaining ride, I'm also interested in it from a craft perspective. The Anita Blake is such a long-running best-seller series, that it's actually fascinating to see how Hamilton set it up. I love that she pushed romance to the background and gave Anita so many ways in which to grow and mature. There are always a few different plots or cases going on to keep things moving quickly and big life/death themes are touched on but never hamfisted into the story. It's just really solid storytelling. ( )
  tanyaferrell | Dec 30, 2022 |
I still think Anita Blake is a bitch but I like her a little more than I did in the first book…not much, just a little. She is just too tough and opinionated for me. She makes inappropriate jokes at crime scenes that involve murdered infants and children just to prove that she is a hardass to the other cops on the scene. She seems to have a bad opinion of everyone she knows because they are not 5’3 and 105 pounds like her wonderful self, the woman who all the men want because she is so hot and badass. Gag! I looked up the author and she looks like what I would imagine she wrote Anita Blake to look like but for some reason when I picture Anita in my head she looks like the mother of the lead character on Grimm, the television show, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. I don’t want to offend that actress but she is really mean looking and looks like a tough old bird, a little too thin and a little too used up. (I'd add a photo but I don't know how)

The storyline and plot building in this series is damn good though so I have been able to look beyond the lead characters narcissism and bigotry. She hates vampires, overweight people – basically, anyone who isn’t just like her except for zombies. She seems to like them.

In this book, Anita is offered a million dollars to raise a 300 year old zombie but in order to raise a zombie who has been dead that long, there would have to be a human sacrifice. Anita refuses but Harold Gaynor, the rich man who wants the zombie raised is determined to get his way. He starts sending his thugs to try to scare Anita into helping him. Of course, Anita kicks their butts each time but she knows that they will get lucky one of these days and she could lose her life.

Someone has raised a zombie who is killing and eating families. Usually zombies don’t eat people but someone raised this one and either got away or someone is ordering it to kill. Zombies follow orders and do kill. They are super strong and can rip a human apart in minutes. Anita goes to the Voodoo Queen, Dominga Salvador, of St. Louis to get help with the zombie problem but offends the woman by refusing to help her raise zombies who have their soul intact so she can make money off of them, selling them to people as slaves. Zombies with souls do not rot. Zombies have no rights so people want to start using them for slave labor. Up until now, it didn’t work out well because they all end up rotting. The smell alone is not worth it. Anita wants to start legislation to give zombies some basic rights so people cannot use them.

Anita believes that Senora Salvador may be involved in raising the zombie who is killing people. Because Anita offended the Voodoo Queen, she tells her she will send something deadly to her that will crawl through her window. Now, Anita has two psychos after her.

These books aren’t romances but there is an underlying attraction between Anita and Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire of the city. She acts like he is the most repulsive and evil thing around because he is a vampire yet when she needs his help, she runs to him and he does her bidding because he is so attracted to her. She is so rude to him. Actually, she is rude to everyone. There are times she thinks that doing or saying something would not be the polite thing to do but she is always saying and doing rude things. I don’t know how anyone can stand her or would want to be her friend. I guess she is so pretty and so amazing, everyone wants her.

I can’t get enough of this series though. What is wrong with me? I like the storyline and I’m secretly hoping she starts being more likeable, laugh at herself a little, cut off her penis and start being more feminine and maybe wear cute clothes. Some of her outfits sound hideous; jogging shorts with socks that sound suspiciously like tube socks, polo shirts, windbreakers, pantyhose and purple dress suits. And since I’m a hopeless romantic, I’m cheering for Anita to fall in love with Jean-Claude.

I’ve already started reading the next book, Circus of the Damned.
www.paranormalromanceslut.com ( )
  dragonlion | Jul 30, 2022 |
Synopsis: 'Anita and her manager, Bert Vaughn, visit local millionaire Harold Gaynor who explains that he wishes to animate and question a 300 year old corpse, and that he will pay millions of dollars for this job, as well as supplying the "white goat" necessary to accomplish the task. Although Bert hates the idea of giving up so lucrative a job, when Anita explains that the "white goat" is a euphemism for the human sacrifice necessary to animate a corpse that old, Bert refuses the offer.
While trying on bridesmaid's outfits for her friend Catherine's wedding, Anita receives a call from Dolph, the head of the area's supernatural crimes unit. She visits the murder scene, and sees the remnants of a family, which she deduces was torn apart by an undead creature of some sort, possibly a flesh-eating zombie. One of the children is missing and possibly alive. In Anita's opinion, there are only two local people powerful enough to raise and command a flesh-eating zombie - herself and vaundun priestess Dominga Salvador. A third candidate, Peter Burke, recently died. Anita agrees to set up a meeting with Salvador to sound her out on the crime.
Salvador is a very evil and powerful vaundun priestess, and reveals that Manny was once a vaundun priest and Salvador's lover, and that Manny has committed human sacrifices. In return for Salvador's promise to investigate who is behind the murders, Anita agrees to view a demonstration of Salvador's technique for capturing the souls of the dead and installing them in zombies, preventing the zombies from degrading and allowing further punishment of the dead. Salvador proposes that Anita become her partner, and that they create ensouled zombies for profit.
That night, Anita wakes to find two zombies in her apartment, apparently sent by Dominga Salvador. She is able to fight off the zombies, but she and her apartment are both damaged. The next day, the threats on her life continue, as two thugs attempt to kidnap Anita and her friend, investigator Ronnie Sims. They question the thugs and deduce that they are working for Gaynor.
Dolph authorizes Anita to show John Burke his brother Peter's effects, in an effort to question Burke further about his possible involvement in the murders. Burke and Anita find a magical gris-gris in Peter's possessions, as well as a charm from the charm bracelet Anita found at the mystery gravesite. Burke explains that the gris-gris was made by a powerful vaundun practitioner, that it involved a human sacrifice, and that it contained a portion of the maker's own power and would increase the power of any animator who possessed it.
Anita, John Burke, and the police confront Dominga Salvador with the gris-gris, which crawls towards her of its own power. Salvador refuses to admit that the charm is hers until Burke points out that if she does not, it will become his property because it was found in his brother's effects, and that he can use it to take a portion of her power for himself. At that point, she admits that the charm is hers, but absorbs it bodily without warning or ritual, which frightens Burke, who did not believe that it was possible. Salvador's grandson, Antonio, then confesses his role to the police, apparently because he was supposed to have taken the charm from Burke after his death and fears Salvador's revenge for failing in his mission. On the strength of the confession and a videotape of the events relating to the charm, the police arrest Salvador.
Gaynor and Salvador (who has been granted bail by a judge under her influence) tell Anita that they intend to force her to raise another relative of Gaynor's, and that Wanda will be the sacrifice. When Anita refuses to assist willingly, Salvador leaves her zombie chimera to guard Anita and Wanda and begins a spell to compel Anita to obey her orders.
Anita tells Gaynor and Salvador what she has deduced - that Gaynor wished to raise one of his ancestors to find the treasure, but that Salvador, unwilling to perform a human sacrifice in front of witnesses, instead created a gris-gris that allowed Peter Burke to raise Gaynor's ancestor. However, because Gaynor's ancestor was an animator, he rose as an uncontrollable flesh-eating zombie.
Although Salvador is angry that Gaynor didn't tell her that his ancestor was an animator, she continues with the plan. With Enzo and Bruno holding Wanda ready for the sacrifice, Salvador then commands Anita to "raise the dead." Anita follows that command literally, taking the offered machete and killing Enzo and Bruno instead of Wanda. The power released by two human deaths, combined with Anita's own power, allows Anita to raise and control every corpse in the cemetery. She orders the zombies to kill both Salvador and Gaynor, then lays the zombies to rest. Jean-Claude arrives, and explains that, as the undead himself, he felt Anita's power, but remained at a distance until she interred the zombies, apparently out of prudence in case Anita decided to use the zombies to kill him and free herself of her status as his human servant.

Review: This was another page-turner. I'm beginning to really like Jean-Claude. ( )
  DrLed | Nov 15, 2021 |
I really loved Laurell K. Hamilton's early Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series books but I did feel like she lost the thread a bit in the middle of the series. I am glad to say that it seems like she is focusing more on the story line and less on the sex of late which makes the books better in my opinion. I think Anita is a great character and Laurell K. Hamilton can write a great plot but her overly complicated sex scenes can somewhat take away from the book. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
animator re-animated becomes super killer zombie
  ritaer | Jun 12, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurell K. Hamiltonprimary authorall editionscalculated
White, CraigCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Ricia Mainhardt, my agent: beautiful, intelligent, confident, and honest. What more could any writer ask for?
To everyone who bought this book years ago,
because if you had not,
all those who recently found it
would never have had the chance
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Harold Gaynor's house sat in the middle of intense green lawn and the graceful sweep of trees.
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The early Anita Blake novels find new life in trade paperback-as perfect collectibles for long-time fans or as great ways for new readers to sink their teeth into the series. In The Laughing Corpse, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead...  

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After a few centuries, the only death "big enough" is a human sacrifice. I know, because I'm an animator. My name is Anita Blake.

Working for Animators, Inc., is just a job--like selling insurance. But all the money in the world wasn't enough for me to take on the particular job Harold Gaynor was offering.

Somebody else did, though--a rogue animator. Now he's not just raising the dead... he's raising Hell.

And it's up to me to stop it...
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