The Lunatic Cafe - Laurell K. Hamilton This book begins where the previous left off so your best bet is to read these in order so you can figure out how these tangled relationships develop into the mess that becomes Anita’s love life. Anita, Animator of the Dead, is seriously dating Richard the werewolf and is beginning to realize the perils of dating a “monster”. Jean Claude her other would-be beau is sticking his nose in their business because he’s a jealous little vampire-man and hasn’t been able to woo Anita with his vampire charms and sea blue orbs of promised delight. I’m not a real big fan of the Jean Claude here. He does his best to ruin things for Richard and comes across as a bit of a mean-spirited brat. I was rooting for Richard in this book. His feelings seemed more real and I wanted him to have Anita, his teaching job and a peaceful normal life. If you hope for that too you may not want to read too much further along in this series.

Anita is still raising zombies and helping out the spook squad but I noticed she begins to spend more time with the monsters and their politics here than in any of the previous books. She encounters evil vamp Gretchen as well as enters into the midst of the lycanthrope pack where she meets sadistic Marcus and Raina and sees first hand what the lycanthropes are capable of underneath all of the beauty. We also get more glimpses of hard-ass “I don’t bluff” Anita who refuses to back down from any big boy. It gets a little annoying in later books but here it still works, she’s still got shit to prove. Edward, AKA Death, plays a big role in this one and he’s always an enigmatic character who keeps my interest high.

On the downside, we are once again inundated with endless boring descriptions of the hidden guns and the Nike swish color (mine is silver by the way in case you’re dying to know). Are you one of those freaks who will spend a sleepless night if you don’t have the most insignificant of details about Dolph’s wardrobe? Not to worry, here you go:

”His hands were plunged into pockets of a long black trench coat. The coat looked too thin for the weather but maybe it was lined, though he was a little bit too bulky to leave room for him and a lining in the same coat.”

I don’t know about you but I wasn’t holding my breath wondering if Dolph wore a lined coat or not. Sheesh. Tell me something interesting and relevant to the story, like the fit of his undies or the secret spot he applies his cologne and I may finally stop complaining about these details.

Seriously though, I like this book a whole bunch and think it is a solid entry in the series. Its old school Anita and her conflicted feelings about her two sexy men way back before she was uber powerful and attractive to every male in sight. Here she is still human with benefits just starting to make an appearance. She is vulnerable and I can relate to her need to be a tough girl. There are several subplots (but not enough to hurt my brain), lots of paranormal action and a whole lot of gore along with that slow burning sexual tension between the characters that I remember so well. I’m having a lot of fun revisiting this series and the imaginative world Laurell K. Hamilton built a decade or so ago.