The Lunatic Cafe (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter)

The Lunatic Cafe - Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake has a new case brought to her through several angles – shapeshifters are going missing, disappearing without a trace. And when you’re a person who can change into a vicious predator with a grip that can rip a person in half, it’s difficult it disappear without a trace.The police also have a man, a human, who has been savaged by a massive, wild animal with human intelligence. Unfortunately the shapeshifters and police aren’t sharing information, leaving Anita to work both sides as best she canBut there’s also Anita’s love life. Her relationship with Richard has depend but she has her own doubts about settling down – and, the more she learns about lycanthropes, even more doubts about being with Richard at all. And that’s without the complication of Jean-Claude, master vampire of the city who is determined to win Anita’s affections one way or the other; Gretchen, a vicious vampire who is besotted with Jean-Claude and determined to remove the competition and, of course, Marcus – Richard’s packleader who would love to see his second in command deadI love how the story works in this book. We think it’s answered – but no, there’s more! And there’s more! Ok maybe 3 is a bit of a stretch for coincidence, but I like that there isn’t just one pat answer. That just because you’re working on one dramatic mystery doesn’t mean that the whole world will now centre on that mystery to the exclusion of everything else and not everything has a single, simple, clean answer.And, again, it’s paced well – with enough twists and revelations to keep things interesting without it being convoluted. We have side-plots but they all come elegantly together. We also, unfortunately, have the Gretchen storyline that adds nothing – I think it’s a clumsy insert to drag Jean-Claude into the story somehow rather than serving any story purpose. Still, despite that the story flows, is never boring, is coherent and keeps you reading without pause.I love the world still and there’s some wonderful development into the nature of shapeshifters and shape shifting – the many methods and what each means. We continue to have suggestions of supernatural creatures from around the world, from every culture and every mythology, albeit we still have a western focus on the dominant characters. In all it’s broad and it’s exciting.I’m increasingly clinging to Ronnie as a character in these books because Anita is surrounded by a lot of men. Lots and lots of men. Lots and lots and lots of men. Other than Ronnie and bit parts, the only other women we saw in this book were Raina (evil and tangentially attached to Anita’s man) and Gretchen (unstable and jealous of Anita’s man). Admittedly part of this stems from already having read the series and knowing what’s coming so I can see the early pattern emerging - but here is the foreshadowing of the future women of Anita Blake’s world.Read More