Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Harlequin--chapter four and five

Oh god I so did not want to do this. I did not want to do this. But it's here, so now I have to do this.

THREE HOURS AND some change later, I knew the movie was the new version of King Kong.
LKH fucked up and gave us something we can date. Which means I now get to go dig around and try to figure out what the blazing fuck the timeline on this series is.

There are three King Kong movies: 1933, 1976 and 2005. I'm going to assume, since we've mentioned DNA and computers a few times, that LKH means the 2005 version of King Kong. A little google-fu gives us this, and whoever put that chart together deserves fucking cookies for taking that kind of hit for us. According to the chart, Harlequin takes place in December of Year Four of this series. 05 Kong was released December 14th, 2005, which means that unless Nate bribed an art house to show a popcorn movie, this book could only take place in Dec 05, sometime after the fourteenth. If I wanted to be merciful I'd throw 06 in as a possibility, but I'm not merciful so I won't.

That means that this entire series, all of it prior to this book, takes place between July of 01 and Dec of 05.

That also means that I'm now supposed to believe that Circus of the Damned took place in October of 2001. The month after 9/11. And it never got mentioned (probably because Guilty Pleasures was published in fucking 1993.) However, that also means that Bullet, Hit List, Kiss the Dead and Affliction all take place in 2008, so it's not too late for LKH to stick to some timeline realism and start working in the Great Recession there.

My point? If you want to have a vaguely now-ish setting for a long running series, great. KEEP IT VAGUE. Don't mention new releases or say something like "X happened last week" because you can really, REALLY fuck your timeline over doing that once too often. Like LKH did just now.

 The noise died away and let me know I was alone. Long damn line. I tucked and buckled everything back into place. One of the things I liked about shoulder holsters as opposed to carrying on the hip is that you don’t run the risk of dumping the gun in the toilet. Inner pants holsters that don’t go through a belt loop are some of the most precarious for bathroom use. Guns, unlike pagers, do not float.
My dad stopped using a pager in the ninties. When he got his first cell phone. Which was roughly 2000-ish.

I'm kind of in awe of this, actually. We've finally gotten something that firmly pins the date for this series down to about three or four weeks, and now we get to see just how much of everything else LKH gets wrong.

...though I totally get the gun thing. Though guns will kind of dry out and pagers/cell phones/MP3 players...erm...won't.

 Anita comes out of the girl's room and discovers a box sitting on the counter with her name on it.

Her first assumption is that Nate snuck in and gave her something. Which, admittedly, I'll give is kind of natural, but given the LARGE number of people who have tried to kill her I'd probably call my boyfriend ON MY CELL PHONE (fuck, I had a cell phone in 05) and make sure that he gave me a thing, otherwise the thing is staying on the fucking counter until the fucking bomb squad has a go.

It's a mask. It's not from Nate. Anita doesn't figure this out until she gets out of the bathroom and he tells her he didn't give her anything.

Anita calls Jean Claude, who does not mention bomb squad (2005. 2005 and it's a random ass package. WHY WOULD YOU PICK THAT UP) but does start getting spooked when she tells him it held a white mask. He says, effectively, thank God it ain't red, now get your butt back here before somebody tries to kill it.

Anita badgers Jean Claude into telling her who the mystery giver is, and it's the Harlequin. This will probably be a mistake, given how literal cloak-and-dagger the Harlequin are in later books re: people using their name.

Meanwhile, two random humans recognise Nate as his stripper persona and go over to fangirl.  And of course these two RANDOM PEOPLE were at the club the night Anita was onstage, so they fangasm over Anita too.

I am so glad we're taking an interlude from actual plot things to fangirl over how well Anita preformed at a strip club three books ago. We totally needed this.

Random Male gets pushy and wants to know when Anita will be back at the club. At this point I'd be showing off my guns and being more than a little threatening because pushy asshole needs to go away, but Nate just smiles and gives him a fake name: Nicky.

That's precious and I'm not sure why.

Chapter five, Anita and Nate have a fight over the stage name and just about everything else. Understandable. Anita was kind of bagered into going on stage in the first place and I'd be melting into the floor if the same thing happened to me. On the other hand...that's Nate's job and he doesn't get a vacation.

Nate also drops that he's being stalked by Detective Arnet.

I love how NOBODY in this series treats being stalked as a big deal.

Arnet thinks that Nate is Anita's victim because the one night Anita was on stage she chained Nate up and whipped him with a prop. Which happens all the time at GP, apparently, but Arnet didn't know that. On the one hand, it's kind of cool that SOMEBODY in this fucking series is taking the posibility of abuse seriously. On the other hand...HOW BLEEDING STUPID DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO THINK A PORN ACT IS REAL?

And then Nate tells Anita that he gave her his porn name from back when he did movies.

PLEASE don't be talking about Rania and Marcus's snuff films, because that'd be just too freaking ick for words.

They keep fighting over how embarassed Anita is over dating a stripper, and Nate demands the next time she introduces him to people, she introduce him as an erotic dancer and not just a dancer. Okay, hunky dory, can we get back to the plot now?

He’d been out of “the life” since he was sixteen. He’d done porn, and I knew that. But I didn’t dwell on it. I assumed he’d stopped doing the movies about the same time he stopped hooking, but I wasn’t sure of that.

Oh sweet bleeding Jesus, that means that Nate's porn career was from before he was sixteen. Which means the name he gave her is...yeah, my brain just broke. MOVING ON.

I still remembered the woman. She’d been slender and elegant and old enough to be Nathaniel’s mother. Thanks to Jean-Claude I knew clothes, and she’d been wearing expensive ones. The jewelry had been understated, but very nice. She was one of those women who headed charity balls and sat on committees for the art museum, and she’d been hiring male prostitutes young enough to be her son.

Also: the purer-than-thou game is freaking old. YOU ARE DATING SIX MEN, ANITA. STOP IT AND GROW UP.

And oh goody, now we're infodumping about Richard.

He’d broken up with me when he couldn’t handle that I was more comfortable with the monsters than he was.

OR, he broke up with Anita when SHE RAPED HIM.

He was shopping for a completely human woman to replace me in the part of his life where he was a mild-mannered junior high science teacher.

See, here's another special batch of judgemental bullshit. Maybe Richard is looking for a mentally healthy mate. Maybe he's trying to find somebody who won't RAPE HIM so that he can have a healthy lifestyle. Maybe he hopes that by dating a normal person he can pull back from Jean Claude's rape-a-thon lifestyle and Anita's continual abuse. But because it's not Anita, it's got to be bad bad evil evil evil. Because GOD FORBID you try to seek out a safe and healthy lifestyle when aspects of your life are nuts.

I cursed and braked too hard in the thin snow.

I've been to Missouri in December (Springfeild, not St. Louis, but still) "thin" is not the word I'd use to describe that snow. "Two Feet" is a little closer.

They're still arguing over Anita being embarissed by Nate. It continues until Nate drops an ultimatum: Tie him up and abuse him during sex, or else let him find someone else who will.

I think LKH fails to understand that BDSM sex is a game. Am I wrong in thinking that the word "abuse" should be NOWHERE NEAR the concept of consensual bondage?

And of course Anita freaks out over the idea of sharing Nate with somebody else. Because it's not like Nate and, say, Asher couldn't just book out a Thursday or anything.

The chapter ends with the dubious duo walking to the Circus, and Anita worrying about sharing Nate with another woman.

Because of course it'd be another woman.


  1. ...huh. In Kiss the Dead, we get a big fat detour too about how Anita performed so great as "Nikki" the stripper and everyone loved her, and the idea that Arnet is also 'stalking" Nathaniel and wants to save him is dropped in too, though nothing comes with it.

    Lady is clearly running out of ideas.

    ...Nathaniel had an older brother named Nicky. Nicky protected Nathaniel at first from their abusive guardian, but also died when Nathaniel was quite young, at which point Nathaniel ran away and became a street prostitute. AND NATE USED HIS NAME FOR PORN? SRSLY LKH?

    ...what does a pager even do? I'm serious.

    1. If I remember right, you could call it and it would beep and tell the person wearing it that you had called. And that's it. It let you know that you either needed to get to a phone RIGHT NOW or that you needed to go in to work/home as quickly as humanly possible. dad lived with one of those until they got cell phones. We hated it.

  2. Doctors and nurses in hospitals still use pagers. Pagers do one thing and one thing only, but they do it well. They can't be turned down, or used to play music or games, and they never make any noise other than their alert-beep, which means they are hard to ignore when they do go off.

    And yeah, writing a series set in some sort of eternal now is tricky. Saying that a movie is the latest attempt to revive the giant monster genre is a lot better than saying that it's the latest King Kong or whatever. But even then some phrases or references will end up dating the book. Or just the lack of cell phones and media players.

    1. I think what irks me about the King Kong reference is that it goes so hard against the absence of cell phones and modern tech that it totally breaks the book. Seriously, up until now I've been thinking this entire thing is somewhere in the late ninties. 95-99. It just fit the way people treat technology. LKH ought to have picked a decade (ninties!) and stuck with it. Nothing from before, say, 1992, nothing after August 2001. You got this nice block of time to play with where technology is kind of there, but not completely. You can have personal computers and laptops and cell phones and a little bit of the internet.

      And then all of a sudden LKH decides to update the series with a then-current pop culture reference (This book came out in 07) and everything goes to shit. This series ISN'T set in 2005. There is no way that it's early ohs. There is no way in FUCK the third book of this series took place the month after nine eleven, especially given that the damn thing came out in the mid ninties, but the King Kong reference sticks it there. Suspension of disbelief is totally out the window. It's like watching a TV series that all of a sudden starts insisting we have a black president when three episodes ago it had fucking Bill Clinton in the white house. No. Sorry. You cannot ret-con that hard. You want to have modern stuff? Give Anita the fourth fucking mark so that she's immortal and fast-forward to 2014. You can have all the modern shit you want.

      It's just such an unnecessary breaking of the series, it makes no sense to me why LKH would do that. (Unless she just doesn't give a fuck.)

  3. I had a pager early on when I was on my agency's emergency response team. But because I was on the team and went into some dangerous areas of Philly and its suburbs I also had a cellphone in about '94. I paid for it myself. Our agency didn't get cellphones until about '99 and it was an enormous deal. As in they tracked the usage viciously.