One of the things in the gym bag that Micah was holding was a machete longer than my forearm. Even with a badge I might have had trouble getting it on the plane, except for the magical artifact law. Magical practitioners who earned their living from their magical talent could not be denied access to their magical tools....Really. Your magical training requires you to use a machete longer than your arm. Kind of like how it requires you to kill a chicken, use special ointment, and go through nine million forms of mumbo-jumbo you discarded several books ago because you found out you didn't need it. You can't, like, buy one once you get to Philly either, can you? St. Louis is the only place you can buy a machete from.
And by the way? You can bring machetes, swords, knives, clubs, baseball AND cricket bats on a plane as long as it's checked luggage. So sorry, Anita. You're not special. You just actually obeyed the fucking law for once and put the edged weapon in the cargo hold, rather than trying to bring it into the cabin.
We were introduced to everyone. I gave a special nod to the court reporter, the only other woman there. I spent a lot of time being the only woman everywhere I went. I’d begun to like having other women around. It made me feel less like a freak. The only girl in the all-boys club had begun to get a little lonely of late.Which is why you act like other women are shit every time you have to deal with one. I can count on one hand the number of positive female characters in this series, and ALL OF THEM are either Anita's teacher, or Anita's student.
...and that is extraordinarily troubling. FYI a huge red flag for a dangerous sociopath is a lack of peer-to-peer relationships. Sociopaths cannot have platonic relationships with peers. If they are a sex the sociopath is attracted to, they will either enter a romantic relationship or utterly demonize the person (or do both). If the peer is the non-attractive sex, then the sociopath will attempt to be either the teacher or the student. If they fail to acheive either role, they will demonize the peer and demand that others do the same. Sociopaths have teachers, students and sex partners in their lives. They do not allow themselves to have platonic equals. You can manipulate teachers and students and sex partners. It is much, much more difficult to manipulate a platonic equal--and having an equal will allow your students and sex partners to have someone to vent to, who could provide much needed ground control. Anita has her Wiccan teacher, there's that Marshal that gets scratched a few books ahead, the were-rat who takes care of her, and her leopards. In each case Anita is either in a superior or subordinate role. The people that she called her peers early in the series--like Ronnie and Tammy--she's pushed away and demonized.
I'd say "Good on LKH for characterization" but I really don't think this is intentional. It doesn't make enough sense in the context of the story.
The defense hates Anita because she's going to resurrect a prime witness. We get that. They immediately start rehashing the "inadmissible evidence" arguement that probably got squashed long before anybody called St. Louis. The loudest of them is Salvia, an Italian lawyer that sounds vaguely familar to Anita. So this *coughMOBcough* lawyer starts screaming that any evidence delivered by the zombie will be tainted, and decides the best way to prove this is have Anita walk him through every step of her zombie-raising process.
Rather than just bloody doing it, Anita balks at explaining why a circle of protection might be necessary.
This is like a surgeon refusing to explain why disinfecting the table and tools might be a good idea. Not only is it kind of self-explianatory once the basic concept (germs and/or magical contamination) is grasped, it's kind of magic/medicine 101 and not explaining it just makes you look dumb.
Of course, Anita refusing to explain how zombie-raising works to the court system drags this scene out for several pages, which was probably the general idea.
Eventually--and you have no idea how long it takes to get to this point--it boils down to Salvia wanting to question her methods the way he would a DNA expert, and all of a sudden Anita really knows crime scene protocol (which is why she wore a miniskirt, skimpy blouse, heels, a thong and nothing else to a crime scene last book. Because making a statement of girl power is more important than keeping a crime scene secure and avoiding hepatitis, AIDS and tetanus.) and can bat with the big boys. She says that her methods are not open to interpretation because unlike DNA and fingerprints, where fucking up could alter the results (and thus fuck up a case) she either will raise a zombie or she won't, and that's it. No more questions.
Salvia is not happy about this, but the judge just wants to go home, so he lets it fly. Salvia goes back to questioning her about why she needs a protective circle. Anita, meanwhile, is having so much trouble with her superpowers that she has to snuggle with Micah in public.
And then Salvia says that since the dead guy was a good Christian, painting him up with blood should be bad. And Anita's reply is kind of priceless:
“Besides, Mr. Salvia, are you implying that you can’t be a good Christian if you sacrifice a few chickens and raise a few zombies?”
Yeah, because it's not like Laurel K. Hamilton didn't spend the last two books shitting all over Christianity in general and Tammy and Franklin AKA the declared Christians in particular. If you want Christianity to be the big bad awful religion of the masses that's fine. Go right on ahead. But don't make your mouthpiece character one of them. It makes them look like a hypocrite and you look like a fucking idiot. It's one thing when you're trying to show the difference between awful, abusive organized religion (which exists) and the individual follower (Mercedes Lackley did this beautifully in one of the Bedlam Bard books) but this reads less as "SOME Christians are good!" and more like "OH FUCK I FORGOT, ONE OF HER DEFINING TRAITS IS THAT SHE'S EPISCOPALIAN."
The judge starts asking Anita if she wants to be held in contempt. Probably because she's doing this:
I grabbed on to him and pressed as much of him against me as I could, so that we were plastered against each other, as close as we could get with clothes on. I buried my face against the side of his neck, drawing in the warm, sweet scent of his skin. Soap, the slight sweetness of his cologne, and underneath that the scent of his skin. The scent of Micah. And underneath that, that faint, neck-ruffling scent of leopard. The moment I smelled it, I felt better. That musky, almost-sharp scent of leopard helped chase back the almost-voices of the dead.
Anita. You're in public. This is not a rave. This is not a dance. This is not a romantic night out. This is business. Knock it off.
Finally, Micah asks the judge if Anita can put up her sheild for her own protection, because her magic is haywire and she's losing control. Salvia objects, but that's pretty much his entire defining character trait.
Micah, however, figures that he's stalling for a reason, and that right there has "assassination attempt" written all over it, but Anita is all "Gee, I wonder what he could be waiting for?" and she insists on going ahead with things.
They spend several pages taking off Micah's jacket and clearing up the legal red tape that apparently is needed before Anita can cut into Micah...and the chapter closes with her doing just that.
Seventy percent of this novel is gone. HELP.