Katie Zerbrowski is a teacher and Detective Zerbrowski's wife. She's mentioned often when we see Zerbrowski, but we don't see her in person until The Lunatic Cafe. Anita wonders many times along the years how or why Katie married Zerbrowski in the first place. We finally hear the true story of their meeting in Dancing.
Anita also wonders from the early parts of the series how Katie allows Zerbrowski to leave the house looking so messy when she is so neat, but later comes to the conclusion that he's just that good at getting stained and rumpled after leaving home. Katie keeps everything in their house immaculate, up to and including the bedroom, and she does her best with Zerbrowski as well, although his car is his own domain and is allowed to be as messy as he wants. Katie and the kids take the minivan instead.
Given the history of Katie and Zerbrowski meeting it's not surprising that Katie does almost all of their cooking (except when something needs to be grilled), and she does it as tidily as all the other parts of her life.
Katie is a few inches shorter than Anita at about 4' 11" or 5' 0", and overall tiny. In The Lunatic Cafe Anita judges Katie to weigh less than 90 pounds after having to hold her up.
Katie's hair is dark brown and wavy, and almost reaches her waist, and it's been that long since college. Her eyes are likewise dark, and her voice is high and breathy like a little girl's. Her laughter is airy and pretty, just like the rest of her, and she's always tidy.
Personal history Edit
Katie and Zerbrowski met in college. He'd been sitting behind her in American History class for almost the whole semester, admiring her hair and trying to muster courage to strike a conversation, until one night he accidentally set his dormitory kitchen on fire trying to heat canned tomato soup. Katie had never even noticed him before, but she was coming back from a movie and saw him all sooty with hair flying every which way, carrying the fire extinguisher he used to put out the fire. She admired his calm competence and bravery among the general panic and confusion and the dorm monitor yelling for everyone to get out. Next day in class she recognized his hair and glasses, and started the conversation herself. Zerbrowski considers destroying the dorm's kitchen and nearly getting expelled a small price for that.
They may or may not have got engaged two months after their first date. The length of their engagement is also unclear, but they got married about two weeks before Christmas, ten years before the beginning of the series.
History within series Edit
In the prequel Anita threatens to tell Zerbrowski's wife that he's staring at Anita's ass and being irritating on purpose. Zerbrowski says his wife will believe Anita, knowing very well that Zerbrowski is a letch. Katie's name isn't mentioned.
Katie is mentioned briefly as someone Zerbrowski would buy a nice house with if they could afford it, and in Circus of the Damned it's confirmed that she's his wife, although Anita clearly was aware of the fact even earlier. Zerbrowski claims Katie finds his choo-choo pajamas sexy, although Katie's actual opinion on the matter is unknown.
We learn it's their tenth anniversary, and Zerbrowski isn't initially answering his pager because Katie makes him leave it at home for their night out. Her pink sweatsuit is still at the back of Zerbrowski's car at the end of the night, apparently because they had plans for exercising earlier in the day, but got derailed by other activities that make Zerbrowski blush when he's teased about it. The logistics of the exercise plans are a bit unclear since Katie (or anyone else beyond Zerbrowski) clearly hasn't ridden in the car for a long time. Regardless, the sweats are available for Anita to borrow when her own clothes get wet. The very next day we see Katie in person for the first time, when she comes to the hospital after Zerbrowski gets gutted by a shapeshifted witch. It's the second time Anita ever meets Katie. When she learns Zerbrowski is going to make it, her knees give out, and Anita carries her to Zerbrowski's room.
During this novel we again don't see Katie in person, but Zerbrowski delivers the message that Katie would like to have Anita over for a dinner in a bit over a week, and have her meet the rest of the family. Richard is invited, if he and Anita are still a thing, but Jean-Claude is not. Zerbrowski says Katie is a little nervous (possibly about vampires in general), and doesn't think she'd be up to meeting Jean-Claude. Katie is planning to make her famous mushroom chicken for the occasion.
We again see only a brief mention of Katie, when Anita asks Zerbrowski how he ever got Katie to marry him. Zerbrowski claims he got her drunk. Anita doesn't believe him and threatens to ask Katie the next time Anita is over for dinner. It's unclear if there has been more than that one dinner yet, since there's only about six weeks between the books. Zerbrowski predicts that Katie will tell Anita something romantic and stupid instead and warns her not to believe it.
This novel again only mentions Katie briefly, when Anita wonders why such a neat, orderly sort of person lets Zerbrowski leave the house looking like a disaster. Anita figures Katie may have just given up the battle after some years of fighting against Zerbrowski's natural tendencies.
Here Katie is mentioned several times. There is some wondering on how Zerbrowski managed to nab her, and again how she can possibly let him out of the house looking like a disaster. It's also mentioned that Zerbrowski's curls are messy again, so Katie will likely make him get a haircut soon. When Anita pushes Zerbrowski about not being invited to his promotion party he claims that Katie has given him strict orders to invite Anita and Micah over to dinner; Anita doesn't know if it really did come from Katie (even if it seems likely she would offer such invitation) or was only Zerborwski's peace offering, but accepts anyway. It's mentioned that Zerbrowski and Katie have met in college. Later we learn that Katie makes Zerbrowski carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in his pocket. Towards the end of the book when Zerbrowski uses word "arcane" Anita teases him by asking if Katie has been reading big grown-up books to him again.
Katie again gets several separate mentions in this novel. Anita again threatens to tell on Zerbrowski for leering at her dress, and he again retaliates that Katie knows he's a lech. Later at a crime scene Anita thinks that at 6:30 am Zerbrowski's chances at making it home in time to hug Katie and the kids before leave for the day are slim to none. Even later Anita drops Zerbrowski into mud for complimenting her backside and he threatens to tell Katie that Anita has been mean to him. Anita points out that Katie would be on Anita's side for something that rude. At a scene at Zerbrowski's car we learn that however tidy Katie insist on keeping their house all the way to an immaculate bedroom, the car is Zerbrowski's domain and she won't interfere with that. She and the kids use their minivan. Later we learn that Katie has revealed to Anita that Zerbrowski majored in law enforcement and philosophy. Even later Zerbrowski reports that according to Katie Detective Arnet was pretty pissed off at Anita after the wedding, and tries to figure out what happened. Finally Anita says "Fuck you" to Zerbrowski, and he teases back that he'd agree but what would Katie say?
Katie is only mentioned twice, once for her neatness and for a second time for not being as open about her feelings in public as Nathaniel is with Anita.
Katie is mentioned multiple times, many of them in the common themes along the lines of her neatness, how Zerbrowski ever scored a shot with her, and so on. Zerbrowski calls her after there's a shoot-out that makes the news; Katie hasn't seen it, the kids have. Anita uses Katie and Zerbrowski as an example of a successful relationship for Smith who is struggling with his own and suspects Katie must be a saint. Anita agrees that Katie is indeed pretty perfect but definitely not a saint, they just work together really well as a couple. Smith points out in turn that Zerbrowski and Dolph are the only guys in the squad who aren't divorced. We learn that both Natihaniel and Micah were invited to a RPIT cookout last summer. Later on Zerbrowski expects to be in the doghouse with Katie, and even later he jokes that Katie has been reading her psychology books at him. He declares that he likes being in love with her. Apparently her love wasn't always easy for Katie to figure out, though, since he has flirted as easily as he breathes, but when they first met she was the only girl he never flirted with. The barbecues and dinners are brought up again at the end of the novel, and we learn that while Katie isn't comfortable with Jean-Claude she's perfectly willing to go toe to toe with cops when it comes to Micah and Nathaniel, to the point where she invites the cops in question to leave if they can't deal with Anita's sweeties.
At the time of this eShort Katie is finishing her second master's degree. She has been married to Zerbrowski for almost twenty years, but they are still crazy for each other. For their latest anniversary Zerbrowski bought her diamond earrings, and for their thirteenth anniversary he gifted her with ballroom dancing lessons. They dance well together, as we get to see at the end of the annual barbecue party they throw for the local cops. She gets Nathaniel to help with the food, and is dismayed when some of the guests ogle him like a piece of meat without feelings. We learn that Katie is the kind of person who doesn't want to listen to juicy gossip about randy bachelorette parties, and she's shocked when she realizes Nathaniel is the leading start in one of the stories that have been inflicted on her regardless. It takes her a while to regain her composure even after the story is set straight. She also doesn't really understand how Anita can be in love with more than one person, but is a good sport about it.
In this novel we learn that Katie would likely throw away any humorous shirts Zerbrowski might buy and is living in hope that she might weed his wardrobe into a state where any combination would look good together, although Anita doubts it will ever happen. Katie hasn't got rid of his train pajamas, though, and Zerbrowski again claims that she likes them. We don't see her in person.