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The Laughing Corpse - Laurell K. Hamilton

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5 Reviews

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton / Genre: Horror / Publisher: Orbit

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    5 Reviews
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      26.02.2012 10:28
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      Very average super natural story

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      Anita Blake is an unusual lady. She works as Animator and this entails raising the dead for money. However when she and her boss are approached to raise a corpse that is nearly 300 years old she flatly refuses. This is because to raise what would be a Zombie that has been dead for so long would involve a human sacrifice and no amount of money would makes this acceptable to Anita. While she is happy to sacrifice chickens or even a goat killing an innocent human she cannot and will not do no matter what the reward is.


      Meanwhile her expertise is called upon by the Police Department. When she arrives on the murder scene she is sickened by the violence and scene that greets her. Three members of a family have been mutilated and there is blood and body parts all over the place. Anita believes this must be very powerful Zombie working on orders from a voodoo priest, the only one she knows with that amount of ability in magic turns and knowledge of this area is a lady called Dominga Salvador. She decides she must visit her and see if she knows anything before this vile Zombie strikes again and they have a serial killer on their hands.


      ==My thoughts on this novel:==


      I thought this was a disappointing piece of fiction. To begin with I thought it would mainly involve Vampires because proudly on the from page on the book it states ' An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel. However this was simply not the case, yes there where a vampire or two but that was a very minor storyline in the context of the book itself. As the story was all about Zombies and magic, which was for me a big disappointment.


      This is the second book written in this series by the American author Laurell K. Hamilton. It was written back in 1994 and forms a series of stories featuring Anita Blake that currently has 20 books within it. For me this is my second review of her works as a few weeks ago I read and was impressed with the début story in this series. However for me this was a disappointing story and I felt she has introduced too many non-human creatures into this book and I would have preferred she had concentrated on the Vampires so the reader could get to know and understand their characteristics before maybe in later books bringing in other creatures with different attributes to add a different and new slant in the stories.


      As a result of this I quite often found myself finding it difficult to believe in what I was reading and thinking the story in my eyes anyway lacked credibility. The result of this was I struggled to read the book and I found it took me a lot longer to read and my motivation to do that was low. I found I could only read the story is small sections as I was not enjoying it and getting much out of the story and certainly far less than the previous one.


      Having enjoyed her début novel there was never any question in my mind I would try and purchase this story next. The book has an intriguing title and I thought that alone sounded interesting. However in retrospect I do not think that title was appropriate at all for this book and I would have called it something different to do with crazed Zombies.

      I flicked the book over to see what it was all about and I liked what I saw. The summary was four parts long I will not call them paragraphs as they are barely two sentences in each. This for me was too short but I did like the concepts the author shared within it. Although even at this stage I wondered what this request to raise a very old body from the grave had to do with her work as a Vampire hunter.


      When I started reading the story itself I was soon getting into it as it basically began from the first page no preamble here. I liked a few of the concepts the author introduced but kept expecting more Vampire involvement and the relevance of the tittle. What was lacking was more background behind the lead character, yes she shares her thoughts and feelings I would just like to know more about her past and I feel the author so far in the series she has not addressed this.


      On the positive side the author is very good at running a few seemingly different stories within the same book. It makes you wonder if they are connected and how will they be resolved. This for me is achieved by excellent initial concepts and a well thought out story and told with clear insight into this world of the super natural that she has created. And while yes I do struggle in believing some of her ideas I am always impressed with her descriptions of these scenes.


      However as the story continued and Anita seemed to be up against the unbelievable I started to tire of the story and find it harder and harder to plough through it. The pace of the story seemed to slow and I found myself waiting for the action to start. I suppose part of my problem is we are only in book two of the series but Anita is already at the top of her profession and as a result in demand. I would have liked to see more of her early successes and a few of her failures as well.


      Although what I do like is the unexpected and this author is more than capable of surprising you with some of the unexpected twists the story takes. She is certainly very good at describing the 'gorey' bits in fights or when I dead body is found. I quite often find this a little to graphic but you certainly get a really good feel about what Anita is experiencing.


      I think my favourite part of the story was the exciting conclusion. This was a well thought out and impressed me with the depth of it. In her first book I felt it was too short and rushed at the end but this one was exactly right and full of suspense and action. Indeed right at the end of the story was a short final chapter which for my money was an epilogue and satisfied me as it allowed me to understand what happened to some of the characters as a one or two I had become quite fond of.


      The lead character Anita Blake is a very courageous and independent lady. She is very easy to like and respect and I find I appreciate the way the author shares her worries, thoughts and concerns with the reader. I however feel I need to know more about her past to truly understand her, as I find it quite odd that she will risk her life again and again for such minor rewards. I find the humour she injects into what is happening to her as refreshing and it always makes me chuckle as given a grave situation she will either say something witty or think it.

      For me the length of the book was a little too long as far spells in the middle of the story little seemed to happen for me. And in many ways the Vampires in this sorry were irrelevant in the overall scheme of the novel, which was unexpected and disappointing as I was impressed by them in the first novel.

      I think I will try the next book in the series to see how it compares and I expect and hope for more Vampire involvement. In many ways with the vampires and the supernatural theme these stories seem to be similar to the Sookie Stackhouse ones. However on what I have read to far I would have to say they lack the fantastic heroin and the depth the later stories featuring Miss Stackhouse.


      ==Conclusion:==


      I thought this was a disappointing supernatural story. And as such I would not recommend it. The story while interesting to start with seemed to meander along in the middle and was only saved by an exciting ending that was well thought out and full of suspense. For me it needed more Vampire involvement and more depth and history about Anita Blake the stories lead character.


      ==Other Information:==


      Pages: 368
      Price: 5.00 New at Amazon
      Publisher: Headline
      ISBN-13: 978-0755355303
      Year first published: 1994
      More about the author: www.laurellkhamilton.org


      Thanks for reading my review.


      This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.


      © CPTDANIELS February 2012

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      • More +
        01.05.2010 21:56
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        Highly Recommended

        The Laughing Corpse is a book by Laurell K Hamilton. I got my copy from Amazon for just under £5, which I guess is reasonable. I think I've gotten a bit too accustomed to buying them cheaply from the Book People of late. In fairness, the RRP is £7.99 and that's what they retail for instore at our local WH Smiths, so I can't really complain to have paid the price I did.

        This book is the second in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. Now don't be put off into thinking "oh no, not another vampire series" until you've read on just a little. The Anita Blake series is more than just about vampires, as Anita herself is actually an Animator - a person with an afinity with the dead which means she can raise zombies from their graves. This proves useful to the local police in solving crimes, and useful to her money-mad boss in charging for her services to raise relatives etc in return for obscene amounts of money. The reasons for raising zombies seem to stretch from telling people where the safe deposit key is hidden to accepting an apology to giving the police important information about who murdered them!

        The trouble with these zombies is that their brains fry quite quickly after being raised, and that can lead to chaos. Certain kinds of zombies are flesh eating, and others are too distressed through the way in which they died to remember anything about who they were. All zombies decay very quickly, and that means that even those whose minds are still there initially will go crazy and need to be put back in the ground sooner rather than later. Until they do completely loose their minds, they're easily manipulated and controlled by humans - especially those who've raised them from their grave.

        In this book, there are a few crazy zombies on the loose - and they all seem to have been programmed to go after Anita. But why?

        Well, Anita has refused to raise a certain zombie. One which is over a hundred years old, and thus requires an unusually large sacrifice - a human life. A private client wants her to do the ceremony badly enough to send all sorts after Anita, from millions of dollars to brutal thugs to crazy zombies in a bid to get her to use her power to raise this ancient zombie. Anita's not having any of it, but will she be persuaded in the end?

        You'll have to read the book to find out! What's great about Hamilton's writing is that she doesn't just lay the plot out in a manner that you'd automatically expect. For instance, the ending isn't what you'd see coming. How the story pans out is not black or white, it's an interesting, swirly shade of grey. There are some interesting sub-plots in this book too, including Jean-Claude becoming the new master of the city (head vampire in town) and wanting to make Anita his human servant.

        This book is really well written and it flows easily with lots of action in every chapter. I wouldn't rate this particular story as highly as the first, Guilty Pleasures, but I definitely enjoyed it enough to want to move onto book number three. There are a couple of places in the book which drag a little, and some pointless sarcasm in places which just feel like they're stating the obvious. But over all this is a four star book which was worth a read. I'll definitely be starting on book number three in the series very soon.

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        18.03.2010 18:05
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        a really great book based on supernatural, 2nd book in the series

        I HAD to get this sequel since I had already read the first book in this amazing series! As soon as I opened the parcel that contained this book (which I currently did not know until I actually opened the parcel), I screamed my head off, as I so could not wait to actually open the pages and start reading. The book is written by Laurell K. Hamilton.

        I had never heard of Laurell K. Hamilton before I read the first book (look for my review of the book: "Guilty Pleasures" by Laurell K. Hamilton), and I'm usually pretty wary of starting new authors, I don't really know exactly why, I think I start a new author every month, so I should be used to it, I think I'm just scared that if I stagger across an author I hate, then I'm going to stop reading, which would be incredibly stupid, as I enjoy reading loads, as you may already be aware of. All of the books Laurell K. Hamilton has written appear in my wish list. As she is a good author, which is obvious, as this sequel is just as good as the 1st book.

        The plot is pretty simple. Anita Blake is called to a police investigation where a family have been killed, well more like slaughtered! Anita has to name a list of possible people who could have done this. But she keeps 1 name away. This person is a witch and she is extremely powerful. She wants Anita's help, but will Anita really want to help her? But who could be so mean to kill a whole human family? And what does this witch want with Anita? And, more precisely why?

        If you are a little confused right now, which I expect a few of you might be, I clearly recommend that you look up "Guilty Pleasures" by Laurell K. Hamilton so that everything will make sense, hopefully.

        This book is in the genre of horror/thriller/supernatural. This is probably why I really enjoyed this series (well the 2 books I have read so far!) But I think that that can not possibly be the only reason, as the writer's ability and creativeness of their writing is another aspect which draws me in, and this is brilliantly written, so I don't know how I cannot enjoy this book! So what types of books are comparable to this then? Well to be totally honest this book is in a league of its own, well actually I should really say that the whole series is in a league of their own, however I have only read the 1st 2 books and therefore I cannot really judge the whole series.

        As you may be obviously aware of is that I fully enjoyed this book. And I reckon that is because of Laurell K. Hamilton's brilliant writing that makes this book very gripping. It was deadly interesting and I really couldn't stop reading, I was ultimately gripped. I also found that the ending was brilliant even though it was very shocking, and it just proves what a GREAT author Laurell K. Hamilton is because of the fact that the ending shocked me and to have been able to create such an ending is very surprising, and I hope many of the other books have a great ending like this one has. I'd definitely re-read this book given the chance; it truly was, this amazing!

        If you like Vampires, ghosts, shape shifters, werewolves etc., this is definitely the book for you, well actually this would actually be the right series for you, and I totally recommend you to go out to Waterstones or some other book store and search frantically for the first book in the series. For those of you who cannot be bothered or feel that there's no point in doing so, then you can easily use the internet on places such as Amzon.co.uk, or play.com, though if you're not prepared to go out looking for it then why bother? If you do not like all things Supernatural, this might even be for you, surprisingly, you may be petrified here and there but comedy runs through-out this book along with reality and every thing else such as crime, and detective, and history. Though in a way they are very minor aspects of the book and even though they flow through-out the book, they are very visible. And I'd hate you to miss your chance on buying this because you don't think this is the right book for you, even though you may be completely wrong.

        The book is in adult fiction, which I am slowly feeling more and more comfortable reading now. I would be personally added under the young adult fiction, at my current age of 17, and I totally advise that this book shouldn't be given to 10 year olds or less, as they may be a little surprised. But who am I to judge what age people should read types of books, as a parent it is their job to decide, though to be totally honest I think my guidelines are pretty accurate, as I remember what it was like to read horror fiction back then, which is easier for me to remember as it was only 7 years ago + more.

        I have given this book a 5 out of 5 stars rating, as it is really interesting and has a brilliant ending, and the rest of the book is just as good. It was totally amazing and I do totally recommend that you should really go and buy it or if you have yet to read the first book, I totally advise you to buy that before hand, you will seriously be shocked at the fact that you will enjoy it!

        Thanks for reading and I sure hope I have been a big help to you lot!

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          30.01.2010 11:50
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          See review.

          I have really got back into my stride with my newest vampire reads of choice, the Anita Blake series of books, with this the second book in the series being the subject of this review.

          The book I will now review is - "The laughing corpse by Laurell K Hamilton".

          Anita Blake is an animator/necromancer. This in a nutshell means that she has an affinity with the dead, that is her specialist subject so to speak, not only that but she is one of the best known in her business, this being raising the dead, usually to clear up their murder, find out where there will was kept in life to save a lengthy court case and even at a therapists instruction, nothing compares with facing your demons head on!

          As her reputation amongst the living increases, with her services being requested much more often and for older corpses (many can only raise two corpses a night and not much older than 50 years deceased, Anita can managed 5 and increasingly older ages), her services are being in bigger demand from her admirer and now (unofficially) her vampire master, who has (unbeknown to Anita, and against her wishes) has marked her twice, twice more and she will live indefinitely at her "masters" side, not a thought she relishes due to her being a part time vampire hunter, earning her the name of "the executioner".

          After a meeting with a so called client, she refuses a job to raise a corpse that is well in excess of 100 years old, due to her refusing it she has unwittingly put her life at risk, the millionaire cripple Harold Gaynor doesn't like not being able to buy people!

          At the same time, and due to her being on a retainer with the local supernatural squad, as their local expert on vamp's, Anita is drawn into a serial killer with a difference, it looks as though someone has raised a zombie and it has escaped butchering whole families on it's travels.

          Will Anita be able to stay alive long enough to help solve the crime, or will she become of the serial killers victims?

          Until trying to write a brief synopsis on this book, I hadn't realised just how involved these books actually are!

          These books, are much more menacing and gory than any vampire book I have read before, though these are not solely vampire books, but tend to involve any supernatural being you can imagine (and a few you can't!), the gore in this book is actually quite disturbing at times, so this is not a book to read in bed!

          The murder scenes are descriptive and detailed, with I have to say many nice touches from the author about not only the scenes and what happened to the victims, but also how the investigators and detectives react to the gruesome finds, this makes the characters much more real to the reader.

          As with the previous book there seems to be always more than one storyline on the go, usually revolving around Anita's police work and her involvement with the vampire community.

          I have to say so far there has been no real sexual elements to the book, but as I have actually read one of the later books in the series a while ago, I know that the sexual content will rise dramatically in the book, though the graphic death content in the book is surely enough to state that these books should be read by adults only.

          Pricewise these are available for £4.98 from www.amazon.co.uk, pus P&P.

          For more information visit - www.orbitbooks.co.uk

          This is a fantastic, if somewhat gruesome book, recommended if you are into that genre.

          Thanks for reading x

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            25.04.2008 14:31
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            Subtle rather than simple...

            "...If it was, there would be a hell of a population drop." ~Anita

            Anita Blake is the official Vampire Executioner for the state of Missouri. She is also the Preternatural Expert for the local team of law enforcement that deals with all cases where a non-human is suspected of being involved. These are her jobs, she takes pride in doing them well, and she feels useful to her fellow citizens when she's doing her job. But Anita was born an animator; a natural born charmer of the undead, a Zombie Queen who calls the dead from their graves.

            So, you'd think that she'd have a clue as to what undead creature has begun literally tearing apart innocent citizens, families, in her hometown, right? "Had to see. Had to look. Might find a clue. Sure, and pigs could fu@#$ing fly. But still, maybe, there would be a clue. Maybe. Hope is a lying b!@ch." So, where can she go for advice? Anita finds herself setting up a time and place to have a sit down with Dominga Salvador, big bad voodoo priestess. Yeah, it's a date she'd rather not keep, but she'd also like to be able to sleep at night without seeing all that blood.

            Besides, anything has got to be easier than dealing with the fact that she's halfway to becoming the human servant of Jean Claude, poster-boy for hot dead guys and, most recently, vampiric Master of the City... Right? "Casual lust is easily defeated. What we have is not casual, ma petite. Not lust, but desire." Yeah, definitely no help there!

            Will Anita end this monster's horrific killing spree? Is Harold Gaynor and his million dollar offer to anyone willing to attempt raising a 300 year old corpse somehow responsible for these deaths? Will Anita evade the powerful magic of the vengeful and proud Dominga Salvador if... OK when she takes insult at something that falls out of Anita's mouth?

            Can Anita accept her natural talents, and come into her own? Will she find a way to slip the servant's marks that Jean Claude has placed upon her? Perhaps the most frightening question of all is... does she want to be free of him? As Anita says, "People are supposed to fear the unknown, but ignorance is bliss when knowledge is so damn frightening." Who will have the last laugh?

            My Thoughts:

            Book two of Laurell K. Hamilton's supernatural series deepens our understanding of Anita as she begins to come to terms with who she is and who she wants to become. This book contains some of the most gruesome scenes of graphic violence I've read, which is a trademark of the series. Anita herself struggles with this aspect of her life in much the same way as EMT workers and homicide detectives do. Violence defines Anita as much as love, but it's easy to see which is more familiar to her!

            Not a "halfway" person in either her career or any of her other passions, it's only a matter of time before Jean Claude presses his suite as either lover or preternatural Master. She's reawakening to the truth that knowledge is power in a very personal way, and as someone born to reanimate the dead this makes for a powerful and unique read. The supporting cast is still relatively small at this point and we seldom get this close a look at the animator facet of Anita's character later in the series without someone or some event becoming a distraction.

            Entertaining, a good developmental piece, Laughing Corpse supports the rest of the series by forming the other half of the framework provided by the first book, Guilty Pleasures. After this, Anita's life becomes even less boring, dangerously so in fact, and new characters lives' begin to rapidly entwine with her life.

            Laughing Corpse manages to tell a great story while evolving the main characters and the world they live in; subtle rather than simple with plenty of action to keep Anita's mind off of her personal life. Gritty, witty, bursting with creation and death, we are drawn further into her dynamic world that cannot help but be flavored by her own dominant nature.

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          • Product Details

            Since the Supreme Court granted the undead equal rights, most people think that vampires are simply ordinary folk with fangs. Anita the vampire hunter has worse problems than vampires when she takes on a hell-raiser who wakes up more than just the dead. The older the zombie, the bigger the death needed to raise is. 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 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.