Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Incubus Dreams--46-47

So we are FINALLY at the plot, a little past the halfway mark. I do not have high hopes for this to last, but who knows? We might get lucky.

...LKH has a bad habit of losing track of what her sentences are about halfway through.

I actually had to park in the lot of the nearest club, the Jazz Baby, live music, and live entertainment. What could be better?
Yeah, the previous paragraph was about how the real cops took all the parking spaces, so Anita has to park one strip club over. We go from that to an add for the Jazz Baby, which actually sounds like a classy name for a strip club. My vote is for a Great Gatsby themed burlesque joint. Sadly, nothing in this book would even get THAT cool.

Anita then goes off AGAIN on how inappropriate her clothes are, as in they are cold. Also, Her shirt got all bloody so she had to borrow a white one, and her black bra can be seen, and she had to borrow Byron's jacket again. Hey, Anita? you know what would work even better? Dressing professional in the first place. Women should by god be allowed to wear whatever they want to, but if you're wearing heels, a thong and a mini skirt to a crime scene in October, expect no sympathy from me when things start going wrong. And If you're borrowing the male stripper's underwear, is there a reason why you can't also borrow their pants? "Hey, Bryon/Nathanial/Requiem/Asher/Jean Claude/Gregory/Random Male X, I have to go to a crime scene. Since we just fucked do you think I can borrow a pair of black slacks?"

Ooooh, but we get a whole paragraph dedicated to this thong. Jean Claude found it. It's made of T-shirts.

When I got up to the line, the officer closest to me didn’t really look at me. He saw a woman in boots and a short skirt and a leather jacket and said, “Club’s closed for the night, you won’t be working.”

Thank you Captain Obvious. Bonus Points: I think he knows exactly who she is, and he's trying to give her a hint that maybe she should have brought, IDK, PANTS.

Random Cop doesn't believe that Anita is a marshal. She is wearing knee-high boots, thigh-high stockings, A mini skirt, a thong, a leather jacket, and she probably looks like she just had sex and then a hasty shower because, you know, she just did. I know we're supposed to go "Random cop is a prudey prude bad guy" but I do not think Random Cop's perceptions are at fault here.

Seriously. We give freaking Power Girl a hard time for her boob window and we're supposed to take Anita Blake seriously? For not having the forethought to borrow a pair of jeans from Nathanial on her way out the door? She's basically comic nerd fan service. WHY IS SHE NOT WEARING PANTS. 

 Pissing contest, cops come in flavors again, basically Anita's is bigger than yours, Mr. Cop, step aside and let her at that dead body.

Of course, if I’d been a big, strapping guy, he wouldn’t have-had a problem with it.

If you were a big, strapping guy and you were dressed like Nathanial was when he left the house earlier? He'd probably have the same problem. Which is not your gender. It's the fact that you cannot do your job in a thong and a mini. I mean, you do know cops have to bend over and look at evidence a lot, right? They have to kneel in things that you probably don't want to kneel in? They have to climb through thorn bushes and barbed wire and used condoms/needles/razor blades, then handle body parts and blood containing god only knows what kind of disease? You cannot do surgery without rubber gloves, you should not be wandering around a crime scene effectively naked from the knees to the belly button.

Anita has to deal with cat calls. These are not cool and not good and nobody should ever be doing them. They are not her fault. But, you know. PANTS.

Besides, I’d learned the hard way that the more attention you pay to shit like that, the more you have to shovel.

Yep. Uh huh. Yeah. The cops are sexist assholes. You still really should be wearing pants. Sexism on their part does not excuse this. This is not a club, this is not a party, this is not a statement of feminine idealism, this is a murder scene and your skirt is so short you were complaining about getting goosebumps on your labia when you were at your other job. I am sure one of the forensics trucks have a pair of plastic painters pants you can borrow until you're done.

 They go inside the club, and the lead detective finally says what we're all thinking:

“You know, if you don’t want people thinking you’re a stripper, you should dress better, miss.”

You know, the whole "Strippers don't have a uniform" arguement actually makes Anita's clothing worse. See, even this book says that the dancers come in wearing street clothes and leave wearing street clothes. Anita is not dressed like a stripper. She's dressed how an idiot preppie 21 year old clubber  thinks a stripper would dress, ie in catastrophically stupid stereotypical clothing that no human being on earth would ever wear to a crime scene. I am not thinking "Ew what a (insert slur here)" I am thinking "Hepatitis B on broken glass".


Zerbowski ends the pissing contest and drags Anita into the club. The vampires there freak out, and oh, one of them is a deacon in the Church of Eternal Life.

Anita asks to know who they fed on, and this kicks off another pissing contest. Eventually she gets a vamp to tell her who was feeding on whom, and it was basically "All the dancers".

There is something sleezy about a strip club letting vamps feed on the dancers. Just sayin.

And you know, it's been so long since the actual murder I forgot the victim was fed on by a vamp, hence the need to know who fed on whom tonight.

The victim is in the bottom of a large hole in an abandoned construction site. Anita has to climb into the hole full of potentially rusted metal, bits of broken glass, abandoned tools and bent nails. 

I shook my head. “How messy is it down in the hole?” 
“Let’s see, it’s rained, it’s frozen, it’s thawed, and it’s rained some more.”


Anita pokes around the body, and we get an awful, awful lot of "ew this mud is really icky, eww I have to kneel in it, ewwww it's really cold and yucky and my thigh-highs are no protection"


Oh, and Anita's high heeled boots are giving her concern. Because, you know, she's climbing around in the mud in an abandoned construction site with a dead body at the bottom. In knee-high leather boots with (I assume) stiletto heels.

Anita gaurentees that it isn't Jean Claude's people doing this, which would be worth exactly "Jack" and "Shit" if I were Zerbowski, but apparently they're willing to roll with it. Jean Claude is in Anita's head. She tells Zerbowski that she found out from the Church of Eternal Life dudes that the CoEL has stopped doing the blood oath thing that would keep JC's people from doing this shit, and Jean Claude freaks the fuck out inside her head, cussing in french while she tries to keep talking to Zerbowski.

...if Jean Claude is in her head, wouldn't she get the literal meanings of the french word? Merde might look nice, but shit is shit no matter what language you say it in.

Anita says that it's bad and that she'd rather kill the vamps then endure the danger they put the world in, which makes Jean Claude freak out more because they might have to kill the entire CoEL and hey, there's a typo! Cool.It's "theirs" not "Their's", Laurel.

The chapter closes with Jean Claude deciding to go visit the CoEL, Anita cussing out the universe, and Zerbowski staring directly up Anita's miniskirt.


  1. Ok. I prefer skirts to pants, but good God. I'd have borrowed anyone's pants and rolled the legs up so I'd be covered if I was going to a crime scene. (Though as I'm a larger woman, it might be hard to find pants to fit, but --- good golly. Think!) As I've mentioned before to friends, after re-reading the first book in the series, THAT Anita would kill the current Anita, set the body on fire, scatter the ashes in the ocean, and then start in on Jean-Claude and a few other imbeciles. These books are a betrayal of that original character, who wasn't perfect, but who at least had ideals and was pro-active. And didn't slut around and rape people.

    1. There's even a passage where Zerbowski says, very politely, "Why don't you pack those overalls you used to pack so you could have something to wear to a crime scene?" and Anita is all like "Well, I accidentally wore them to my other job and there was blood on them and a woman freaked out."

      Which has nothing to do with Zerbowski's question and everything to do with how Anita fails at BOTH planning and laundry.

      The entire character arc is seriously like watching a best friend descend into addiction. First they party, then they use every day, then they start stealing from you and you have to distance yourself for your own protection.

  2. "I actually had to park in the lot of the nearest club, the Jazz Baby, live music, and live entertainment. What could be better?"

    Well, E for effort! There's clearly an attempt at snark here, even if it's pointless and ruins the sentence and you have to squint sideways to see the snark and it doesn't really belong here. But you tried, Laurel! You tried!

    *gold star*

    Oh also, your attempts to portray Anita as an edgy tough girl who is willing to tackle hard work no matter what outfit she's wearing? They fail. She clearly knows what equipment and outfits she needs to do her job, and she has the resources to afford that gear. All you've done is portray Anita as a person who doesn't take her work seriously and can't plan for her own life.

    1. That's the problem with the mini-skirt. It's not that it's slutty and hooker-wear (Something I elect to make no judgement on because hey, maybe it's a really pretty mini skirt). It's that it not only actively gets in the way of her doing her job, it puts both the case AND Anita in danger. Same goes for those fucking boots. She needs to be wearing little plastic shower booties so that she isn't contaminating the crime scene, and because those have the traction of engine grease on a tile floor, she needs to be wearing sensible shoes so she doesn't break her neck. All it would take is one torqued ankle on that ladder and Anita falls on top of Zerbowski.

      And I get the feeling the ENTIRE scene was there so that Zerbowski could look up Anita's skirt.

  3. I don't think it's incompatible with feminism to suggest a person dress appropriately to their job. This isn't a situation where her outfit doesn't matter either way and the men are just being dicks for the sake of it. You actually can't walk on to a crime scene like this. At a proper scene people working it are actually passed by a checkpoint where their presence is recorded, and they're wearing items appropriate to the scene because investigators leaving misleading evidence from their own bodies is a problem.

    1. There is a time and a place for self expression and statements. I'd have the same issues if Anita were head to toe in wool. My favorite crime series is probably the Lincolin Rhyme series. One of the things in it is the insistance that crime scene techs/Amelia Sachs wear rubber bands on her feet so that her footprints would be easily identifiable.

      It took me several years to understand why this would be problematic to a crime scene. (mostly because Lincolin Rhyme is very well published and the rubber-band-on-the-shoes trick is probably something he's lectured about many times)

      The goal of any forensic investigator is to not exist while they are investigating a crime scene. You CANNOT shed skin cells, blood, hair, or fibers from your clothing. We're talking surgical scrub level clean. There is no way in FUCK anybody let Anita go onto a real crime scene with that much leg exposed. FUCK sexuality, that's three feet of skin, blood and hair that could contaminate any evidence the killer may have left behind. That is all a defense attorney needs to argue Believable Doubt.

      Anita should be wearing a shower cap on her head and both feet, and plastic painter's pants, a hooded plastic shirt, and a mask over her face. Anything less puts the entire chain of custody at risk.

      Frankly, I think Anita has this whole trail of defense attorneys begging to represent the defendents on any case she works on. She's an ambulance chaser's dream.