Even more so than the other books in the series so far, this one was intense. It really stretched the limits of the kinds of things that Hamilton had included in the books up until now, including things like a teenage girl opting into becoming a vampire, her parents wanting Anita to stake her before she “rose”, an ages-old pedophile vampire, and weird fairy mythology and magic. Not to mention the mass graveyard that’s the premise of the story to begin with.
Unlike the previous novels in the series, The Lunatic Cafe moves quite a bit away from the vampires and starts to focus on the werewolf pack in the city. It also focuses on Anita’s relationship with Richard, really the first romantic relationship in the series.
I really liked the progression of the characters in this book, as we get to know a bit more about Jean-Claude and Richard. In particular, the relationship between Anita and Jean-Claude works through a lot of the tension in this novel, finally allowing them to find some common ground and stop threatening to kill each other quite so often by the end.
To be honest, this book was the one that really got me interested in continuing to read the series, more than the first. I felt like there was more going on in The Laughing Corpse, more nuance to the characters, and definitely more interesting things happening with Anita and her necromancer abilities.
I’ve been following Hamilton on Twitter for a few years now, even though I’d never read any of her books. I’d heard lots about them, especially in recent years when they shifted more towards … well, when their focus shifted off of so much mystery and crime-fighting and into more of the erotica genre. But I always found reasons not to get around to reading the books. I always figured that I would eventually, but never seemed to get there.