Laurell K. Hamilton
The amazon.com product description:
The early Anita Blake novels find new life in trade paperback-as perfect collectibles for long-time fans or as great ways for new readers to sink their teeth into the series.The Laughing Corpse is the sequel to Guilty Pleasures, and picks up right where that one left off.
In The Laughing Corpse, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead...
I'm enjoying the re-read, although it's been long enough that I can't even really call it a re-read any more. To be honest, it's as though I've never read the early Anita Blake books as I certainly don't remember much of anything about the plot or the characters at this point.
Anita Blake is quite the character though. Stubborn, sure of herself, and determined to do the right thing. She's not about to wait around for someone else to take on the tough tasks. Or for someone else to do the unpleasant jobs - and there are a few of those in this book. Instead, if that's what she's got to deal with, she's going to do so - and do it to the best of her ability - even if that scares her.
One amusing thing about this series as far as I recall - at least up to Narcissus In Chains and maybe a book or so after that is that the title for each book is that of a business within the story. For the first book, it was Guilty Pleasures, a vampire strip club. In this one, the Laughing Corpse is a comedy club. One where the comedians are part of the supernatural. Within the story we see a vampire comedian and a comedian who uses zombies as part of his act. Which all play into the minor plot point of rumors of increasing regulations surrounding the use of zombies.
There are quite a few things going on in the story at this point, some of which are evolving from the previous book, and some which are specific to this one. Evolving relationships are one thing, especially when you're not sure about what they are or should be. Adding in some evolving self-discovery too... well, that makes for a completely different story. All of which is on top of a series of very gruesome murders...
Well, all of it together adds up to a book I had a hard time putting down. Over fifteen years and this is a series that's still going strong. Very strong. There's nothing particularly dated about it I'm finding, and I'm most definitely looking forward to starting the next book: Circus of the Damned.