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"The Laughing Corpse" is the second in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, although the focus is much more on her job as an Animator than as the person the vampires call The Executioner. Once again the title is taken the name of a St. Louis hangout for those who like to visit the dark side, in this case a comedy club (helpful hint: zombies do not like to be the butt of jokes). This time around Anita is in way over her head with a whole bunch of serious problems. A lord of the underworld wants to pay her big time bucks to raise someone who has been dead for a couple of hundred years and does not like it that Anita has refused because the only way to do so required a human sacrifice. Her friend Catharine is getting married and wants Anita to be a bridesmaid, which involves wearing a pink gown that has to be altered to cover all of her scars. The voodoo priestess for the entire Midwest has learned how to put a person's soul back in their dead body, which stops the zombies from decaying, and Anita refuses to help her raise more zombies for profit. Meanwhile, Jean-Claude, the Master Vampire of St. Louis who has already put two of his marks upon our heroine, demands Anita start acting like his human servant. But the case Anita is trying to focus regards a savage zombie that is going around murdering families in their home, making her problems with three powerful people who refuse to take "No" for an answer rather inconsequential. Like it says on the coffee mug her boss would not let her have at the office, "It's a dirty job and I get to do it."
I was surprised to decide at the end of "The Laughing Corpse" that it was not only an improvement over the first book in the series, but one of the best horror stories I have ever read (and I read a lot of horror novels). There is a lot going on her, but Hamilton weaves the various cases, most of which would have sustained an entire novel, into a coherent narrative. I really was surprised when everything came together in the end. Hamilton has a much surer sense of her character this time around. The first half-dozen books in the Anita Blake series offer some of the most horrific endings you are ever going to find. Then there is the train wreck that is Anita's love life, which picks up more and more speed as we go merrily along (and the sexual content of these books becomes more and more prominent).
Big Time Warning: this is a gruesome book. Younger readers of "The Laughing Corpse" are going to be upset by several of the scenes, especially when Anita investigates the bloody crime scenes and the climatic encounter which I think is the high point of the entire series. I read these sections in the light of day and they were still disturbing. Those who come to this series because of their love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer need to be told that this is a much darker world where the violence is brutally horrific and not beautifully choreographed. These books are much more intense. If they made this into a film it would give "The Exorcist" a run for its money and it would be rated NC-17. Remember, you were given fair warning.
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on 4 October 2006
Enter the world of Anita Blake, licensed vampire executioner and necromancer of mixed Anglo/Mexican heritage. In this second installment of the series, she is bombarded with mystery, violence, blood and sex. Anita has a talent for the dead which she became aware of at the age of 13 when her dog died--and then showed up a week later curled up in Anita's bed. Her Mexican grandmother was a voudun practitioner and was able to teach Anita to control her ability. As an adult, Anita uses her power over the dead as a business to help people who have unfinished business with the dead.

Anita is investigating some very gory murders and she suspects the local voudun master, Dominga Salvador. In the process of the investigation she discovers a grisly plot to exploit the dead as well as a twisted financiers unscrupulous plan to profit from human sacrifice. Anita is also attempting to dodge the new vampire Master, Jean Claude, the most powerful and sexy vampire in the city, who is determined to court Anita. He has a strange power over Anita which she is not prepared to acknowledge.

Hamilton delivers a paranormal thriller drenched with violence and gore, and hinting at twisted sex. The character of Anita is charming and appealing. She has a taste for weapons, coffee and straight talk, as well as a mordant sense of humor. Hamilton maintains a nice degree of suspense which keep the pages turning! Highly recommended.
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on 22 July 2011
Anita Blake returns in the second instalment of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, The Laughing Corpse. After completing the first instalment I could hardly wait to read this one. I had high hopes for the series and I hoped this book would be just as good as the first.

The Laughing Corpse is told from the first person perspective of Anita Blake. Anita is a animator and makes her living raising the dead. She also aids the police with their cases related to all things supernatural. If this wasn't enough, she has gained a reputation with the vampires as 'The Executioner' from killing vampires on the side.

Alike to the predecessor book Guilty Pleasures, Anita's story begins with her and her boss Bert Vaughn meeting with a perspective client. This time the client is Harold Gaynor, a wheelchair bound billionaire. Harold wants to raise a three hundred year old corpse and he wants Anita to be the one to do it and he's willing to pay a million dollars. However, the first rule when raising the dead is; the older the corpse, the bigger the sacrifice needed. In other words, in order to do what the client wanted, Anita would have to perform a human sacrifice. Anita might be dubbed 'The Executioner' but no amount of money would persuade her to kill a human.

It soon grows apparent that someone doesn't share the same morals as Anita does and as a result murderous zombies are being raised. Although this series is called "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter", vampires take a back seat in this instalment with the focus more upon the nature of zombies. Like the first instalment, this one is action-packed from beginning to end and has a lot of twists along the way. All of this action allows for a fast-paced yet understandable plot which guarantees to keep you hooked up until the last page.

Anita Blake makes an entertaining protagonist. She's tough and humorous, even when her own life is being challenged. However, as I thought after reading the first instalment, I get the impression that there's more to her than has been revealed so far. For me, she seems to have hidden depths and I look forward to finding more about her background as the series progresses.

More characters are introduced and some from the previous book are developed some more too. Anita's reluctant relationship with vampire Jean-Claude continues as well, however it doesn't take centre stage. This is one relationship I am most looking forward to reading more about and I hope I get to do so in future instalment. As she is able to raise the dead and is an experienced vampire executioner, Anita doesn't fall easily for the charms vampires attempt to use on her. Could Jean-Claude become her first weakness?

Overall, I cannot fault this book one bit. I was gripped from start to finish. The great thing about this series so far for me is that although the books are full of action, the plot is suspenseful. The conclusion doesn't become obvious until the end and I believe that is what makes them so compelling to read. A great page turner!
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on 17 March 2004
After reading the first book in this series, "Guilty Pleasures", I decided that Hamilton was a good writer, but that if somebody wanted to read novels about vampires they should try Anne Rice first. Now that I have read the second book in the series I realize that Hamilton is clearly among the best in the genre.
Anita Blake has a job unlike anyone else, she is an animator and vampire slayer. Therefore, she raises the dead and executes vampires that have broken the law (vampirism on itself is legal in USA). Anita's physical appearance is peculiar considering her job; her height is five foot three inches and she weighs a hundred and six pounds! She also has a black belt in judo and has been marked twice by the master vampire of the city, Jean Claude, who is in love with her.
In this installment of the series, Anita is offered one million dollars, by one of the most wealthy and powerful men in the city, to raise a two-hundred-and-eighty-three-year-old zombie; task that requires a human sacrifice. After she denies doing this, half of her problems begin. The other half has to do with the gruesome murder of a couple and the disappearance of their child. It is clear that the murderer is not human, but...is it a vampire, ghoul, zombie? Anita sets out to help the police in their investigation and ends up requesting the assistance of Señora Salvador, the most powerful voodoo priestess in the Midwest.
The different story lines come together to make a highly entertaining book. For those who have read the first book in the series you will also get a glimpse of some further aspects of Anita's past, like information about her mother and grandmother and some "secrets" about her tutor during her first steps as an animator. The action is fast-paced and Anita usually refreshes the mood with witty jokes and comments in situations that are definitely gruesome.
I really cannot wait to read the next book in the series, "Circus of the Damned".
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VINE VOICEon 30 December 2007
Anita Blake may be a professional zombie raiser, but the millionaire Graynor wants her to raise a very old zombie, which would require human sacrifice. Of course she declines, but he is very insistent. And to make matters worse, there's already a killer zombie on the loose, and the police get her to investigate Señora Dominga, a powerful voodoo priestess. So now Anita has got two new powerful enemies.
It's all zombies, rather than vampires, this time, although the new Master vampire, Jean-Claude, makes a few appearances, trying unsuccessfully to get Anita to acknowledge she is his human servant. Anita herself is just as competent, sassy, and put upon, and the mixture of the grisly and the comic in scenes works well. I really enjoyed the 'gross-out' contest when examining a particularly gruesomely bloody corpse; it felt to be a very real coping strategy in an otherwise almost unbearable situation.
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on 5 October 2010
I bought the abridged version by accident but I still was not disappointed, & did not feel I had missed too much before even though I have read the book a couple of times. It arrives in a cardboard box as pictured with one cardboard sleeve holding 5 discs & runs for approxiamately for six hours.The only negative I can say is that the box the discs come is not very strong & could be damaged easily if not handled with care on opening.

The Laughing Corpse is the second of a twenty book series at last count. Anita Blake is a hardboiled aninimator, which means she has the ability to raise the dead, her other talents include being a sanctioned vampire killer and working for the St Louis police force as a prenatural specialist on retainer basis.
She's sarcastic, loyal & protective of her friends she can also kick butt, protect herself & kill to survive ask questions later.

Anita visits a potential client to raise a corpse with her greedy boss Bert, a million dollars is on the table. It's to raise a 300 year corpse, that would take a human sacrifice & understandably Anita says no. She's also called to visit a murder scene & it looks like a whole family have been partially eaten by a zombie, Anita visits a suspect, an evil & powerful Vaundin priestess who becomes an insurmountable nemesis. Because what she see's makes her want to vomit & she barely gets out of there alive, after seeing that kind of power Anita is scared out of her wits.
The story takes you to a powerful & violent climax & it is here that Anita gets a taste of what she really is capable of if she wanted that kind of power, so does Jean Claude......

Read by Kimberly Alexis aka Laurell K Hamilton, I was impressed, there's nothing twangy about her accent. Her intonation is clear, different character voices are individual, she tells the story only like an author can because it's her creation, she tells the tale with expression & emotion.
There's also atmospheric music & sound effects in the pertinant parts which some other audio books do not have.This only adds to the experience.

Very happy looking forward to the next audio book which is Circus of the Damned..
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on 11 September 2010
Not a lot of vampire love and/or slaying in this installment. This one is all about, yep you guessed it, zombies! My first real zombie fix to be honest. Anita is helping the police with some very gruesome murders that have been happening lately. As if being horrifically killed wasn't enough for the poor victims, it seems they have been eaten too. Seems there is a killer zombie on the loose and Anita needs to find a way to put a stop to his rampage. She needs to find out who raised the zombie and why, but more importantly she needs to get to it before it gets to another victim!

I think what's so great about the series so far is that the bad guys are truly bad! No redeeming qualities whatsoever, so it's impossible not to hate them. Definitely makes it so much more enjoyable when they meet their not-so-pretty demise when their time is up.

I like the fact that the background supernatural world was delved into more. Instead of being told how things are in Anita's world, I learned about them around the same time she did. I also really enjoyed some background character developing on Anita herself. Hamilton does really well throwing in tidbits about Anita's affinity with the dead and how her abilities are an inherited talent.

And yes, Jean-Claude is in the story, so untwist your nervous hands if you were thinking he wasn't. However, his part in the book was more a sub-plot line. He's now the master vampire of St. Louis and is still heavily pursuing Anita. Apparently though, she's been given two of the four marks that will make her Jean-Claude's human servant. But do you really think Anita wants to be someone's servant, no matter how sexy the person may be?! I think not. Although, he does seem pretty yummy...I know I'd have a more difficult time saying no to the guy, but that's a different story.

Overall, I loved The Laughing Corpse. It was different: bloody and gory and full of a great writing style
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on 16 September 2009
Anita Blake is an Animator. Anita and co. raise the dead to settle will disputes and the like, for a reasonable fee. On the side Anita is a vampire hunter -- she's been nicknamed 'the Executioner' and (obviously) isn't too keen on vampires. The new master of the city is very interested in her, much to Anita's chagrin, and is keen to make her his human servant.

Anita is all set to solve another case while she's on retainer to the police. Someone or something managed to consume a number of victims in one place... nice. Anita being the freak expert is called in to offer her expertise. The scenes are gory (as usual) and there was some great stuff with her and her police friends. There are also a few other plot threads that all converge one another pretty well. This books arc took a while for me to get into, but around halfway through I ended up really enjoying it.

The Laughing Corpse wasn't quite as good as the first book, as it lacked the emotional bitter sweetness that pervaded Guilty Pleasures. Many of the characters introduced in the previous book are back here too, except, disappointingly, Edward although I'm not sure how he would have fitted in here anyway.

Anita continues to be tough minded and sympathetic to those that deserve it. We learn a little more about her powers and the root of what Animators can do -- I thought Dominga wasn't the most interesting of antagonists but she served her purpose well.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 February 2011
Anita Blake is knee deep in blood and guts as she assists the police investigating the vicious murder of a family. She's not only hunting down a killer zombie, she's also dodging goons belonging to a man who is intent that Anita raise an ancestor; the downer is that he'll force her if necessary but will thoughtfully provide the human sacrifice required.

If Anita's life can't get any worse, she's also fighting a personal war against Dominga Salvador; probably the most powerful Voodoo priestess in the US plus she's still dealing with master vampire Jean-Claude's interest in her and her own reluctant attraction to him.

"The Laughing Corpse" has a slick, action packed plot plus Anita, her amazingly smart mouth and an attitude to back it is a great character. Yet there is no disguising that there are some gory and incredibly violent scenes in this book. The deaths are not glossed over at all and a warning to the squeamish, the descriptions of the brutal life threatening and life ending injuries sustained by victims are extensive.
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on 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"Death didn't bother me much. Strong Christian and all that. Method of death did. Being eaten alive. One of my top three ways not to go out."
Anita Blake, The Laughing Corpse, Laurel K. Hamilton

The Laughing Corpse is the second book in the An Anita Black, Vampire Hunter, Novel series. I borrowed this book from the library as soon as I had finished the first book in the series, Guilty Pleasures. After waiting a week to visit the library I wasn't overly eager to pick it up again, although I did want to read it. My pace quickened as I started to read though and I finished it within a few days.

The Laughing Corpse continues the story of Anita Blake. Some time has passed since the ending of the first book, Guilty Pleasures. From what I can tell, it's not a huge amount of time, maybe a few weeks at most has passed. The book opens with Anita and her boss visiting a potential new client, Harold Gaynor. Harold Gaynor has an unusual request; for Anita to raise a zombie over two centuries old in return for over one million dollars. Anita refuses and leaves. Why? Because this would require a human sacrifice and Anita won't commit murder. Harold Gaynor isn't a man who hears "no" though and he sends his bodyguards to threaten Anita. She has to look over her shoulder for most of the book. It looks likely that the bodyguards will kill Anita if she doesn't do what Harold Gaynor wants. To make things worse, Anita is trying to locate a Zombie with a violent streak. She visits a crime scene where only body parts remain. She visits a vundun priestess, named Dominga Salvador, who is very powerful. While questioning her, Anita offends the priestess by vowing to kill her to put a stop to her evil plan. She promises to send something slithering through Anita's window that night. Dominga is true to her word. Will Anita be able to survive the monstrous things Dominga sends her way? Then there's Jean Claude, the new Master Vampire of the city. He wants to give Anita the last two marks to make her his human servant. Anita would rather die, but Jean Claude has no choice if he is to reinforce his new position of power and appear strong to everyone else. Will Anita become Jean-Claude's human servant or will she chose to die?

I really enjoy reading books with strong female characters. Anita is probably one of the strongest, although at times, I do think she acts a little stupidly as her mouth runs away with her. I admire Anita's ability to carry on despite all the people who want her dead in this book. At one point, her friend, Manny, asks Anita why she isn't more frightened after seeing Dominga? Anita shrugs and asks Manny what he would have her do, cry? Anita is frightened, but she manages to carry on and fight because she wants to live. I also enjoy Anita's wit and sass. She has the audacity to tell the Master Vampire of the city to leave her alone, and later in the book, that she is leaving because she is fed up of waiting for him.

So far, I am really enjoying the series. The more I read, the darker the content seems to become. Several times I shuddered because of the monstrous things Dominga sent Anita's way. I hate the thought of waking up to a monster in my bedroom at night and Hamilton really brings the reader into the story. I still shudder if I think about Dominga sending something my way during the night! Dominga herself is also terrifying. She has a presence throughout the book, yet Anita only meets with her three times. She is a significant character, but she isn't in the book often. I admire Hamilton's ability to develop a character with such depth. I imagine that Hamilton could write a whole spin off on Dominga, not that I think she'd be very relatable or likable. She'd be interesting though! On top of all this, the police scenes where Anita is investigating the zombie killer that leaves body parts scattered around different rooms is awful. The victims even include young children! I feel as sick as Anita does, and I am glad that Anita isn't able to handle the situation very well, and the Police Officers don't do any better. This gives the book a more realistic feel.

I thought the ending of the book was brilliant. I was surprised by Anita's actions. She does what she has to. I don't know if I could do it if I were in her position. We also learn something crucial about Anita. As the book progressed it was obvious that there was more to Anita than just an animator. Dominga's interest in Anita's power, plus Anita's ability is much more advanced than all the other animators where she works, were all obvious indicators. I didn't figure out exactly what this meant until the ending, and it was spectacular. I am keen to see how this develops in the coming books. I tried to get hold of the third book in the series, Circus of the Damned, straight away. It is out on loan at the library though! I will have to wait until after Christmas to get a hold of this book.

Final Verdict: The more I read of this series, the more I like it. It is the best Vampire series that I have read so far.
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