Bitten: Ambush (Chapter 17)

We are at the 50% mark, and we’ve got a plot, after a fashion! So of course we’re immediately derailed by Clay entering a “battle of wills” with Elena’s CAR. For chrissakes.

When it hesitated, Clay rammed the gas pedal to the floor, revved the engine into the red zone, then slammed the gearshift into reverse, ignoring the clanking sounds coming from under the hood.

Elena closes her eyes, though she doesn’t admit to being afraid of Clay’s driving. I have been reading the Parasitology books by Mira Grant recently, and one of the things I like is that the main character has a crippling fear of car rides stemming from a bad car accident. Throughout the books, her boyfriend does his best to put her at ease while they’re forced to drive around during the apocalypse, knowing this is awful for her but unable to sheild her from it. It’s actually really sweet.

Clay,  of course, doesn’t give a shit how Elena feels about his abuse of her car.

[Clay] whipped into the lots, circled around sharp enough to induce whiplash, and tore out again.

Seriously…. I’m not getting a sense of urgency so much as a sense of “what an asshole”.

Stealing was the number one occupation among mutts. Their lifestyle didn’t encourage them to stay in one town long enough to settle into a job. Even if they were inclined to lay down roots, it wouldn’t last. The Pack routinely rousted mutts who seemed to be settling into a non-nomadic lifestyle.

So all mutts are thieves and therefore bad people. They are all thieves because they’re shiftless, nomadic types who would never settle down. They don’t settle down because if they tried, the Pack would roust them. Am I supposed to be seeing a connection between mutts and Travellers and therefore feeling bad for the mutts who likely didn’t ask for this life any more than Elena did? Because that’s totally a thing.

They find Peter dead and Jeremy bleeding from a bad attack, being bandaged by Antonio, who wasn’t there when they were jumped. Apparently the mutts used a knife, which is weird for werewolves.

The killer this time was apparently Daniel, who grew up at the same time Nick and Clay did. He’d hated Clay from the start, and therefore Clay’s arrival split up him and Nick from being best friends.

The precipitating event seemed to have occurred when Daniel eavesdropped on Nick and Clay’s conversation and raced off to regale the pack with the story of Clay’s expulsion from kindergarten, which had something to do with dissecting the class guinea pig to see how it worked.

Clay insists the pet was already dead before he began taking it apart, which would make this a cute story about a curious boy who would probably grow up to be a biologist or a doctor or something if we didn’t already know how incredibly violent Clay can be and how he bullies people to get what he wants, something I doubt is new. It takes a lot to get expelled from kindergarten, but threatening other students will do it in a hurry, and I suspect there’s a lot more going on here than just misaligned morals regarding dead pets. Apparently Clay hates Daniel because the story upset Jeremy, and not just for tattling on him. Sure. Whatever. That had to be at least twenty years ago.

Daniel and Clay fought for supreme position among the younger generation. Or, I should say, Daniel fought for it. Clay simply assumed it was his and squashed Daniel’s aspirations with the lazy contempt of someone batting away a mosquito.

You see! That there. That’s what I mean. Apparently Clay killed Daniel’s brother when Jeremy took over the pack, which caused Daniel to leave.

Oh jesus christ I’m done with this book:

After I came along, things got even worse. Daniel decided he absolutely had to have me, if only because I “belonged” to his archrival.

Nope. Not a single likeable werewolf in the whole goddamn book.

When I got to [Daniel’s] apartment, I caught him trying to hide a woman in the closet. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the woman was still alive. Apparently, she had been, right up until I rang the doorbell, upon which Daniel snapped her neck and tried to stuff her into a closet so I wouldn’t find him with someone.

Can we talk for a minute about the tone of this chapter? I feel like the genre is slowly sliding into “Horror via Gossip”: we’re hearing about all these horrific events as though we were standing by the water cooler gossipping with Elena about a new coworker. Which, she’d be good at it, she knows how to turn a phrase and drop revelation after revelation, but it feels almost disrespectful when the revelation is “So A killed C, and then B killed A, and then C’s brother went on a rampage and killed 15 women, and there were body parts stuffed into refrigerators, can you even imagine!”

Anyway. Apparently Jeremy became a doctor because Clay, as usual, fucked everything up. In this instance he broke his leg and the hospital ran blood tests and apparently that’s a big no-no for werewolves, so they had to kill the doctor and steal the file, and Jeremy decided the Pack needed a doctor of its own. Elena has to sew Jeremy up, but she’s bad at home ec! I’m really not amused by the book’s attempts at levity here.

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4 Responses to Bitten: Ambush (Chapter 17)

  1. Firedrake says:

    Things Women Apparently Like, part 47: men with poor impulse control and a taste for violence. Who knew?

    The way I read that scene in the alley with Jeremy… “Oh, I was the only guy to survive this ambush and now my good friend is dead. It was that bad guy who killed him, yeah, really it was.” Not suspicious at all. But if Jeremy were really the big bad of the book, the commune would have fallen apart way sooner.

    Now tell me Kid Clay wet his bed later than usual, and liked to start fires. Go on, book. I’ve read Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives. I know what that means.

    I can’t help noticing that Daniel is pretty much Clay’s mirror. One of these two violent sociopaths has found a place to take him in and use him, the other one hasn’t. And one of them has the author on his side, while the other one doesn’t. I certainly don’t see much to choose between them.

    I take your point on the tone; I’m reading it as a defence mechanism.

  2. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for February 13, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

  3. Only Some Stardust says:

    I am pretty sure the bed wetting thing is actually a myth, but yeah… you don’t really need any more signs here to know this fellow is psychopathic.

    Wow, they couldn’t, like, swear the doctor to silence, claim religious prohibition against getting blood tested, or just corrupt the blood results / replace with dummy blood, could they? Killing a doctor just for potentially knowing too much, that’s pretty damn evil in my book.

    And frankly, that should have backfired on them. There easily could have (should have) been computer files documenting that shit, in which case once the police started investigating there would be no way the whole werewolf killer thing wouldn’t get mass media coverage. unless the government decided to cover it up… yup, that’s my new head canon.

    I mean, when you want to keep a secret, killing people is exactly the best way to draw attention.

    • Firedrake says:

      Yeah, if Lab Tech sees a blood result and thinks it looks weird, he’s going to talk to Other Lab Tech and Doctor and so on before they call the patient. And when the werewolves “solve the problem” by their usual means, you’ve got the Great Hospital Massacre.

      For that matter, if the blood is so darn distinctive, the DNA probably ought to be as well. The DNA that’ll be found in hair roots left at the site of any kill.

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