- "The magic built on the air until it pressed against me like a weight. It was hard to get a full breath. His magic rode the air, and it was strong, but uncertain. I could feel his hesitation like a touch of cold air. He would be powerful, but he was young. His magic tasted untried, undisciplined... He was a baby, a powerful baby. And he was raising his third zombie of the night. Hot damn."
- —Anita Blake[src]
Lawrence "Larry" Kirkland is initially Anita's protégé. He is an animator and his ultimate goal is to become a vampire executioner. We first see him hired in Circus of the Damned for a semester at college where he is studying preternatural biology. He later graduates with a degree in preternatural biology. His birthday is sometime in March.
He is young but strong. When we first meet him he can raise more than two zombies in a night but can't control the third. Anita trains him and he remembers all she tells him. Anita tries to protect him by keeping him away from the monsters. He does not like this but does not stay angry or hold a grudge.
Along the series, Anita and Larry drift apart over ideological differences. In Dead Ice Anita summarizes it as "He thinks I'm a cold-blooded, murdering sociopath, and I think he's a weak-willed rule lover who flinches at the hard shit." Later in the book they come to a truce for the first time in a very long time.
Larry is Anita's size or an inch or two taller, which lands him around 5'3" - 5'5". He has blue eyes, a thick sprinkling of golden freckles, milk-pale complexion, and curly orange-red hair, although in the dark his hair looks brown and his eyes grey. Anita thinks he looks like a grown-up Howdy Doody.
When we first meet Larry he hasn't yet learned not to wear white shirts to a zombie raising.
By Kiss the Dead Larry's face has gained frown lines from his stubborn cynicism.
Personal history Edit
Thanks to being short, Larry got into a lot of fights in high-school, and was beaten up for four years. Sometimes he even won the fight, although he agrees with Anita that winning isn't the important part, it's taking the beating and not giving up.
Larry still has all his family members up to grandparents among the living at the time of Circus of the Damned. His father is a doctor.
Larry's home town is small compared to St. Louis, only around fifteen hundred people, and a group of vampires murdered twelve people while he was away on his freshman year at college. He didn't know any of them closer than to say hi to, but he went to all their funerals. This experience made him anti-vampire, and because being an animator gives him some built-in resistance against vampire powers, he thinks God wants him to become a vampire hunter.
History within series Edit
We first see Larry raising his third zombie of the night, because Anita is late to her appointments due police business. He is powerful enough to manage the raising, despite this being his first night as an animator, but he loses control of the zombie and almost passes out from exhaustion. He doesn't know there's a risk that the zombie will attack people, and doesn't initially believe it when Anita tells him after taking control of the situation. Luckily it takes the zombie long enough to free itself from the grave for her to do so. Anita finds him painfully fresh and innocent, but he's too stubborn for her to talk him out of sticking his nose into dangerous stuff, and thinks she's just trying to scare him. He does feel crappy enough to need a smoke despite Anita's initial resistance to the idea, and they compromise by him smoking there out in the open as long as he doesn't do it in a car with Anita.
Larry gets his first idea of how dangerous this life can be when Humans First attack them at the cemetery after the clients have left. They get shot at and Anita shoots back, and once they get to the car she makes him almost run over one of the attackers who takes a bit long to decide whether to jump out of the way or not. Unfortunately they hit what looks like a child, but turns out to be a vampire and part of an ambush led by Alejandro. They both get hurt and Larry gets bit, and they end up in a car crash when they try to escape from the vampires, but in the end the Humans First save their lives. Larry has to explain it all to Anita, as she ends up unconscious for over an hour and the police are already there when she wakes up. As they were using Anita's car and Larry's Mazda is still safe at the cemetery, he drives her home after several hours at the emergency room where he gets three small stitches to his forehead, easily hidden by his hair. He's a bit uncertain about the whole animator business now, but all the more determined to become a vampire executioner.
Next day Anita chews Bert over for letting Larry on the field alone, but Bert has his own issues with how much of Anita's time the police take, and Larry calls them out on being used as an excuse to fight. Anita spends the night teaching Larry the ropes (he raises one zombie, she raises five, they don't have time for him to raise a second one), and gets paged once they finish. She has Larry to drive her to a phone, and then to the Circus of the Damned, taking him along because he wants to learn more about vampires.
Anita manages to keep Larry from the meeting with the Master of the City, but in the meantime Yasmeen attacks Larry's group, and upon coming back Anita finds him being molested by Yasmeen's human servant. Larry ends up learning who the Master is anyway, and his life is threatened again. He's crying by the time they get out, and is more shaken than after the previous night's attack, because back then he could understand their goals and this was just needless perversion and cruelty. He's still determined to hunt vampires, though, and finally confesses to Anita his real reason for it (see Personal history). Then he drives her back home again.
The next evening it's Halloween and Larry is wearing a Huck Finn costume for his raisings (as encouraged by Bert). They've both raised one zombie, and Larry has one to go (Anita has three), when she gets paged again, this time by Dolph. Larry stops them at McDonald's and goes to fetch himself a coke while Anita calls Dolph back. She learns that Mr. Oliver and Alejandro had played her, and they end up rushing back to the Circus of the Damned since Larry refuses to be left behind. She does manage to leave him behind the railing for the main show, since he's unarmed and untrained, although he doesn't like it. Presumably he doesn't join the fight, as after that moment he's only mentioned briefly in the last chapter as staying on the job and learning to hunt vampires.
This book continues Larry's training as an animator and a vampire hunter. He's still in college, and working weekends for Animators, Inc. until he graduates later that spring. He still makes rookie mistakes, and isn't quite up to speed yet as far as Bert is concerned (and Anita doesn't argue), but Larry is learning fast. He has taken to pretty much memorizing everything Anita says or does, which is a bit unnerving to her but also something she has learned to rely on. He misses a lot of things along the book, but he's also undeniably helpful.
Anita takes Larry along to Branson, both in the name of education and with the possibility that they can share their power for the raisings. Larry enjoys the opportunity to see Anita outside of her element (i.e. in a helicopter), and is also as always eager to learn more about animating. Over 200-hundred-year-old corpses are a new experience for him, and he's not familiar with the concept of sharing power beforehand. Anita also shows him how to walk a cemetery, something that she has been practicing a lot lately herself. Having Larry join her quadruples the power she's using. Magnus says Larry isn't a necromancer, but he's something.
When Anita is called into a murder scene and takes Larry along, he's excited and a bit nervous, as he's never seen a freshly dead body before. The scene is messy, and he ends up throwing up nearby, which makes him less eager to join to the second murder scene later in the book. Once he learns that Anita won't give him another chance if she feels he isn't cut out for the work, he braces himself and comes along. The second scene isn't messy, but it does involve a mostly naked teenage girl, and Larry stays as far away from the body as he can.
After Anita determines that the vampire may still be around in the woods, they collect a group to go after it. It's Larry's first vampire hunt, and his cross saves him when they are ambushed. He shoots and presumably hits at least one assailant, presumably vampire, but it doesn't die and Anita never sees it as it's behind her at the time. The shot does drive it away from her.
Anita learns anew how stubborn Larry is, and gives up on trying to keep him from the rough stuff. Thus he gets taken along to meet the Master of Branson, Serephina. There Larry gets his first entry into the mix-up of theatrics, dress-up, torture, and sex that official vampire meetings often turn into, and consequently almost ends up whipped, kills his first vampire, and later in the book gets sliced several times with vampire powers as an initiative for Anita to do what Serephina wants.
Along the book Anita and Larry clash on several moral issues. One of the main ones is when Larry is worried that Anita might try to kill Serephina without a court order. Another bigger one is later when Larry isn't willing to let Anita kill anyone with zombies, even after those same people have tried to kill them both, and Mr. Stirling is still pointing a gun at Larry. He also isn't willing to let Mr. Stirling be killed by vampires, even after he's proven himself willing to turn Anita over to cops with an accusation that would lead to her death sentence. He keeps Anita on the straight and narrow a bit more than she would like, and a part of her is grateful for it, while another part is annoyed and frustrated by his blue-eyed idealism. His moral compass does allow him to withhold information from cops, though, which she's grateful about.