Fine. Let's get on with this.
I started re-reading this for the purposes of this review, and was admittedly pleased at how refreshing the earlier books are in their ... I don't know, potential? Like, the train hasn't slammed into the sedan yet, and Bobby Junior did not have his braces melt to the back of the seat in the flaming wreckage (a la Fight Club), but knowing that this horrible hot mess is coming makes the whole affair reek of a doomed kind of solace. And really, it's much too soon to even consider re-reading these books. So I'm cheating and using this summary as a guide, because they do all start to blend together in their awfulness.
There are a couple of different plot branches in this one that naturally end up all being interrelated and relevant by the end (get used to this formula, she uses it a lot.) And you'd think that since this is the second book in the series, we'd be out of the woods as far as obnoxious introductory stuff, but YOU WOULD BE WRONG. So just assume that as I'm going through this, we are spoken to frequently of her endless polo shirts, stuffed penguins, affinity for guns, and "witty repartee" - direct quote.
SO. We kick off with a Scary Rich Dude who wants to hire Blake to raise some super crazy old zombie (Remember? When she took a break from having sex with creatures and raised zombies from time to time?), which of course would require a human sacrifice and he's all 'I got this, yo' and she's all 'Fuck you, pal, you ain't killing no bitches on my watch.' and she, you know, storms out all indignant and he's all rageface.
While Scary Rich Dude is presumably off plotting all sorts of Scary Rich Dude things to persuade Blake to help, she gets called off by the fuzz to go look at some grisly crime scenes (and these grisly crime scenes are the driving forces of pretty much every book, so please enjoy the nuance of her descriptions of such this time, because you will soon want to drag a rake through your eyes every time she gets a beep [yes! beepers!] from DOLPH, the police ... guy ... who's name will always be in caps because it needs to be yelled in your head). Some sweet little family was all butchered, and we are treated to three pages of her talking about whether or not she will puke, what the implications of her puking would be, and what she is wearing that will either impact her puking or not. She gets all EXPERT at the scene and decides it's a flesh-eating zombie doing all this nasty damage, even though we have been told that zombies don't eat people on more than one occasion (get used to this as well - I'm sure it's written with the intent of being SHOCKING, but it feels more like waffling to me)
So she takes one her partners, who you feel is going to be relevant throughout the series but pretty much disappears after Book 4 (and in my head he is Don Sanchez from Assy McGee, but that's neither here nor there), goes to meet with a voodoo priestess who's all Looks Like Grandma, Acts Like The DEVIL and finds out some stuff, like it was probably her who set this murderous rampaging creature loose because that's what she does. For fun. And somehow Blake pisses her off and starts some vendetta. Because that's what SHE does. For fun.
Later we get introduced John Burke ... and I don't know why I'm telling you this, because he is another "totally will be relevant!" character, you think, but ... not so much. He is IN the later books, kind of, in an irrelevant way. BUT he's some big shot zombie raiser from New Orleans who was a suspect for maybe 30 seconds before that plot choked on its own bullshit and died. Moving on.
Later still, two Hell Grandma zombies break into Blake's apartment and try to eat her face, which we assume is retribution for offending her by standing in her basement and passing judgment on her soul zombies. Because I'm sure the most badass voodoo queen in like the whole fucking world is totally affected by what Anita Blake thinks of her. Sufffice to say, Blake kills the zombies and fucks up her penguins with zombie gore and we are treated to another three pages of the implications this mess will have on her lease, and how DOES one get blood out of a stuffed animal. Apparently you shouldn't use the bathtub. WHO KNEW.
We circle back to the original plot of Scary Rich Dude, and finally get to hang out with Jean-Claude some more and ... you know what? I can't even type "Jean-Claude" without cringing. He will heretofore be known as JC, like jesus, because he might as well be. Anyway, she needs a bodyguard (??) to go talk to a prostitute named WHEELCHAIR WANDA (that is her name, really) because she used to date Scary Rich Dude, who evidently has a hard-on for cripples, and will have information on how super sinister he is. JC is all, to Blake, YOU HAVE MY MARKS BE MY SEX SLAVE I AM WEARING VERY TIGHT PANTS and she's all "No" but she totally wants to do him like right there. Oh, and this is happening at ... wait for it ... The Laughing Corpse! Which is a comedy club! Owned by JC and operated by vampires! GET IT? Titular line! Clever, amirite?!
She finds out Scary Rich Dude wants to raise a dead family member for some kind of treasure, or something, as revenge, or something, and the details don't matter. Oh, and he is trying to kill Blake, too. Of course. Because no one in this universe can just accept a polite refusal of an offer without MURDEROUS RAGE.My chronology is fucked, but this also doesn't matter. At some point we learn that the flesh-eating zombie that is killing families is a relative of Scary Rich Dude, and was raised by Hell Grandma, who is working for Scary Rich Dude, but apparently fucked this up hardcore and now he's all YOU'RE FIRED, even though she's not (again, ??). The flesh-eater was, in life, a necromancer, which apparently pre-disposes you to kill families when you become a zombie? I guess? And Blake discovers all this on an epic flesh-eating zombie hunt at another crime scene, when she is struck by the brilliant idea that our flesh-eater hides ... in a fucking trash can. Not like, a dumpster. A trash can, that you put in front of your house for sanitation workers. Like, this was her A-HA moment. Because it's plausible, you guys!
Her and the fuzz kill the flesh-eater, and she goes to the hospital for whatever reason, zombie vaccines or something, and then gets abducted - along with Wheelchair Wanda - by Scary Rich Dude. Who is hanging out with Hell Grandma, because clearly he has not learned his lesson. He still needs his zombie raised god-fucking-damnit, and he will rape/maim/torture to get it. And he has provided Wheelchair Wanda as the human sacrifice needed to raise this zombie! How economical of him!
End scene has all the happy band of freaks in this cemetery, where Blake uses her amazing MacGyver skills to get her ass out of every impossible predicament and kills Scary Rich Dudes two bodyguard-goons instead of Wanda, which is OMG TWO SACRIFICES, and apparently that kind of craziness is enough to raise THE WHOLE CEMETERY and then she sets off her pack of now killer zombies (because you can do that, LKH forgot to mention before, when she was changing the rules again) and takes out Scary Rich Dude and Hell Grandma, who went down surprisingly easily considering she just spent the whole book making her as practically immortal with her badassness.
This whole scene is enough to make JC go "You are scary, bitch, but I still want to fuck you" and she is all "No, still" and OMG I AM TOTALLY A NECROMANCER TOO! This is the first instance of GUESS WHAT ELSE I AM, YOU GUYS that is prevalent throughout the series (honestly, by book 9, she's pretty much confessed to being everything amazing that ever existed as a means to explain unnecessary plot points). Oh, and she can technically be put to death by the law for killing people with "magic" regardless of whether or not it was in self-defense so let's not tell anyone about that whole Slaughter In The Cemetery thing.
If you have read this book, you are already tits deep in the fire, but you can still turn back! If you haven't ... oh, why am I bothering. Here is a link to buy it, but I recommend borrowing/pirating/stealing, because please don't give this woman any of your money.