Yes, I know it has been a million years since I did one of these, but can you really blame me?
We're back to the hired goons following Anita and she has another one of her stunning insights where she tells us it's better to know than not know when you are being followed.
Endless fucking nattering about Asher, and how much she would prefer to believe that the feelings she has for him are manufactured by his evil vampire powers. Once again Anita finds it more comforting to have her consent be disregarded, and yet I have no clue why this grown ass woman would have this opinion. I know I have been complaining about this point for years but I just do not understand what happened to damage her personality to funhouse mirror levels like it is portrayed in these 'novels.'
Anita has a brief flash of self-insight where she talks about how she doesn't know if she's right anymore, and without her sense of righteousness she doesn't know who she is. Funny, because I have no clue who she is either, other than being an absolutely detestable set of highly undesirable traits in a poorly stitched together human suit. She is a thousand cockroaches in a gunny sack, a Fear Factor tank full of greasy bilge rats. The only thing consistent about her is that she is so loathsome I can't read more than one chapter of this drivel at a time.
Well, I'm about to wither away to nothing, then. I feel the need to complain about this some more; Anita talks like a twelve-year-old, except when she's talking like a made for TV movie about the Tudors. Oh, and then other times she says police-y things, whilst being so stupid as to not understand how glass falls when someone breaks a window, or how it looks when a shapeshifter claws something. I mean?
At least JC is consistent.
Sidenote: I googled "bad renfaire" to see if I could find a worthy picture to illustrate Anita's verily thou personality, but seriously all of these people are classier and are also having more fun:
Anita then wonders about the cost of doing business and admits she's killed a good half of her wererat bodyguards (or rather, gotten them killed). Apparently, there is also now a plan wherein they are going to surround the bad guys and try to talk them out of being bad guys. The rats she has left might as well do up the zip on their own body bags at this point.
So I have long believed that from the outside, Anita and her friends are actually the villains of this series. Imagine being a young were-animal and seeing this shit go down. Imagine being a fledgling vampire and watching this unholy grouping of individuals ruin your town on every level.
A bit about how Anita isn't okay with this plan but can't drive aggressively enough to block off a bunch of enemy cars. WAIT hang on, so the plan is to cause a fake accident to make the bad guys stop long enough to be interrogated? Oh my good lord a plan this bad has all the charm and usefulness of an antibiotic-resistant staph infection. Literally, Anita is one of the most recognizable, famous people in all of St. Louis (gag), accompanied by people like Claudia who is like 6'4 and built. And they're going to cause a fake accident. In front of others. I grant you this book is set (I think?) before filming things on your phone was as common, but still.
"What I didn't trust was the bad guys. They were bad guys, so you couldn't trust them to be anything but unpredictable and dangerous."
This attitude is what's dangerous. I do get annoyed when people harp on and on about how your antagonists should have like fifty thousand motivations and believe they are in the right, and have Depth and Goals blah blah blah. I don't always write antagonists that way because some people simply enjoy causing harm and they can't be changed. It does happen. But, the reductive, black and white notion that everyone in opposition to Anita is a Bad Guy is fucked. Notice how dehumanizing this logic is. Suddenly, they have no traits beyond unpredictable and dangerous. Not to be dramatic, but this is literally part of the reason disabled people and people of color are gunned down in the streets whilst going about their business like anyone would.
Anita actually realizes how utterly ridiculous this plan is and wants to put a stop to it, but doesn't because then people would realize she isn't right one thousand percent of the time.
So they get into the staged car accident and it's super confusing, but from what I gather the wererats have blocked off all the escape routes around the Circus. Suddenly everyone has guns in their hands because why not I guess. Anita is all, we formed a circle but not really because then we would shoot each other but it's a good metaphor lolololol. These are the things that make me think LKH turns in her first drafts.
The thing about this is, the second people see an accident they call the police. Often multiple people do. Given that I just can't get over how bad this plan is. Anita orders the wererats to menace the "bad guys" still in the car. This is honestly a terrible idea. I think the most famous example of how this can backfire is the Branch Davidian situation, where the authorities chose to menace them and thereby caused quite a few deaths that likely could have been avoided with a different, less hostile approach.
Blah blah we are very badass put your hands where we can see them whatever whatever. There's a guy in a hat and a blond dude. Anita goes so far as to have Claudia press her gun to the passenger side window. Claudia asks if she gets to kill him and Anita tells her "we only need one of them to question."
YOU DON'T KNOW WHICH ONE KNOWS WHAT. Oh my GOD. You have NO IDEA who will be more useful for your purposes! Okay fine maybe she's saying it to intimidate them but it's so ridiculous AAAH I CAN'T.
Anita is all "put your hands up" and this dude just won't do it, which is fucking hilarious considering how Anita thinks she is the biggest sociopath badass that has ever badassed.
Then the most idiotic exchange ever takes place:
Anita: "Bobby Lee, does anyone have our backs?"
Bobby Lee: "You mean backup?"
BOBBY LEE NO, YOU WERE ONE OF THE GOOD ONES.
You think it can't get worse? It can!
"The only real danger would be if someone had a rifle and scope. There was really nothing we could do about snipers, and because there was nothing we could do about it, we had to let it go, pretend it couldn't happen, and take care of what was happening."
WHERE TO BEGIN. 1) there are a lot of things you can do about snipers, LIKE NOT PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE OPEN, TRAPPED BY A CAR ACCIDENT OF YOUR OWN MAKING. 2) This is happening, while we deal with what happened, and other things could happen while this is happening so we have to deal with what could happen."
There are several paragraphs dedicated to the dudes in the car rolling down their car window.
I was going to make a really silly joke by just posting an engineering guide to literal riveting, but I decided to be more accessible. I'm hilarious.
So the blond guy is German, or at the very least has a German accent. Turns out the white side of Anita's family is German.
Anita is all, you are going to get slowly out of the car and I will kill you if you make a move as you get SLOWLY out of the CAR I only need one of you to question so GET. SLOWLY. OUT. OF. THE. CAR. Can I just re-iterate that they have just CAUSED AN ACCIDENT and yet there are absolutely no sensory details about the unfolding consequences. They might as well be having this conversation in a completely bare room where their conversation is producing the only sound.
Here come some sirens, at least. What the hell are all the other people on the road doing? I mean, imagine you're just driving to your Starbucks job and all of a sudden there's a six car pile up and people get out brandishing guns.
The guys in the car are calling Anita's bluff so she pulls out her badge and is all, police? I AM the police!
You know what? This is bascally police brutality, right? This is the kind of pro-cop propoganda we have all been conditioned to enjoy. Okay I get it, in the Anita-verse you get some really wild powers when you become a federal marshall and to some degree that is justified within the scope of Anita's world. But this? Causing an accident that could have killed bystanders, and probably did hurt at least one or two? All because these guys are just...following her?
I know the wererats blocked off this road but still, it's just such an awful way to deal with this and if Anita and her guys didn't have +1000000 plot armor so much could have gone wrong.
Anita placates the cops that show up with her federal marshall badge because it's like free cocaine, a blowjob, and a juicy ham sandwhich all at once in terms of persuasion powers.
She talks to the car dudes like hey it's a bad idea to follow around a federal marshall, and they're like oh we didn't know you were a marshall.
What? Anita is the most famous fucking person in St. Louis aside from maybe J.C. and these goons don't know she has magical cop powers?
"Your intel sucks."
For once, Anita and I agree.