This is a review of “The Lunatic Cafe” by Laurell K. Hamilton. it is the 4th novel in The Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series.
“The Lunatic Cafe” follows on from “Circus of the Damned“.
Anita is interviewing a new client as the novel begins. George Smitz has come to Anita because his wife is missing. Anita informs him that she is not a P.I and tells him to go to the police. George is afraid that by going to the police, it will be made public that his wife Peggy is a lycanthrope, and her chosen profession would be placed under scrutiny and may suffer. She refers him to her friend Ronnie, who is a P.I.
Anita is also going on a date with new beau Richard Zeeman. They hit it off in some ways (he likes musicals like she does) but Anita is a bit uncomfortable with the fact that he is a werewolf. Their date is interrupted intentionally by Jean Claude, Master Vampire of the city. He reveals that Richard is an alpha werewolf. This means that he is currently involved in a deadly and lengthy battle for control of the local werewolf pack. Anita is not too thrilled about this, and is thankful to get a call from Dolph, who needs her preternatural expertise on a case.
Anita is then confronted by Gretchen, an old vamp who has a major crush on Jean Claude. Gretchen is marking her territory and warns Anita to back off.
The crime scene is a weird one (are they ever not for Anita?) and the local sheriff and his men aren’t making the investigation easy for Dolph. The locals believe it was a bear attack, but Anita thinks it is the work of a shapeshifter.
Anita is contacted by her reporter friend Irving, who is a werewolf. He enlightens her to his situation (which is very rock and a hard place) Marcus (pack leader) has ordered him to ask Anita to meet with him, while Richard has ordered him not to. Not knowing what to do, Irving asks for Anita’s protection. Anita decides to meet with Marcus anyway and heads down to the Lunatic Cafe.
Things get a little out of control at the cafe, but during the chaos, a folder is passed on to Anita. This folder tells Anita that seven other lycanthropes are missing on addition to Peggy Smitz. Anita contacts her assassin buddy Edward (who she saw at the cafe) to ask him if he is responsible for any of the disappearances.
It’s back to work at the Animating Firm for Anita. She has two clients. Elvira Drew, an author wanting. An interview with a wererat for her novel on shapeshifters, and Kaspar, from the Lunatic Cafe, sent by Marcus to ask for Anita’s assistance is solving the missing persons case.
Edward brings to Anita’s attention a snuff film made by local shapeshifters. He has been contracted by the girl’s (whom does in the film) father to kill everyone involve in the making of the video.
Can Anita locate the seven missing shapeshifters? Can she also help Dolph solve the other murder mystery? Will Edward bring the snuff film makers to justice? And what is she going to do about Richard and Jean Claude? And her new love-nemesis Gretchen?
Anita is as busy as ever, this novel has a LOT of plot lines. I did like it, but there was a bit too much going on for me.