The Laughing Corpse | Laurel K. Hamilton

I am hopelessly behind with reviewing the ABVH series, and at this point I probably won’t be able to catch up, given that I’ve just started an internship, and have also committed to reviewing some other books (and I have also increased my reading list by about eighty titles). That having been said, I am not behind on the reread, and so, let’s dive right into the thick of it – the laughing corpse that is.


In pretty much all my ABVH rereads I always end up glossing over it, skipping parts, and overall just not paying much attention at all, and I’ve never been quite certain why. While I love all the ABVH books, there are some I definitely like more than others. TLC is not one of them. This time I forced myself to pay attention and finally realized why – the villain is just too creepy, and too unsettling, and so he throws off the whole experience for me (kind of why I have a thing about the books that feature Olaf more heavily, actually).


It is definitely a testament to LKH’s writing genius, that she’s been able to craft a villain so incredibly upsetting that it’s stuck with me for over six years. In fact, it’s even more impressive because when I first read TLC I was a lot younger and had a much bigger tolerance for cringy stuff that I now avoid at all costs. Gaynor is absolutely deplorable. Some villains you might try to excuse, try to find a redeeming quality. He is not one of them. Echoing the disturbing portrayal of the Joker in The Killing Joke, Gaynor is, simply put, absolutely certifiably terrifying in and vile in his treatment of women, and of everyone in general, and nothing felt quite as satisfying as Anita smoothly (or not so) dispatching him at the end of the book.


The ending is actually my favorite part of TLC. Anita’s jump in powers, but also in ruthlessness and the cold calculated savagery of her actions is what hooked me on this series to begin with and this is one of her more gruesome actions. Violent and merciless, she shows once more why she will later earn herself the name “War” among preternaturals. Her cold and unbothered behaviour when questioned by Dolph and Zerbrowski is even more impressive. This is definitely not the Anita of the first book – in this Anita we already see some of Obsidian Butterfly!Anita peek through, and it’s sufficiently terrifying.


While far from my favorite in the ABVH series, The Laughing Corpse is an excellent continuation of Guilty Pleasures that will doubtless endear itself to anyone who enjoys a classic thriller with gruesome murders and an “interesting psycopath” as the main villain.


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