Jun 2 2011 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Hit List (June 7, 2011)

Hit List by Laurell K. HamiltonLaurell K. Hamilton’s Hit List starts with Anita back to her roots as a US Marshal (Paranormal Division) out on a hunt with Edward. Someone is brutally killing were-tigers all across the country. The local police suspect it’s a serial killer—aka a “monster”—but Anita and Edward know different, the Harlequin are back. Anita can’t mention anything to the local police, so it’s up to her and Edward to fight this monster.

(Warning—there might be spoilers ahead.—H&H)

They are so dark, the Harlequin, that even mentioning their name will earn your death. They are nameless, faceless monsters from the depths of your worst nightmare and they work for the queen of darkness. The Harlequin serve the Mother of All Darkness (the first vampire), who is supposed to be dead. Alas, she isn’t. Her soul is out there and she wants Anita’s body, and will stop at nothing to get it.

I have to admit it; I was surprised by Hit List. No, not in a bad way either. I actually enjoyed it, and I can’t remember the last time I said I enjoyed an Anita Blake Novel. I honestly can’t tell you the last book I really liked, but I can tell you Hit List is up there on the list now. (Read more about why Natasha still reads every book in the Anita Blake series.)

Hit List is a return to the Anita of old, not the stable of men around her normally. I was surprised to find there was only ONE sex scene and it was a one-on-one. I know, color me shell-shocked!  Yes, it’s a new male, but even then the sex was tame in comparison to what’s become the norm.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t action, because there is a ton of it. We have the whole creepy US Marshal team together again, Bernardo, Edward and creeptastic Otto/Olaf. He hasn’t tamed down one bit and it’s scarier with him around. I can’t wait to see how LKH spins his character to this whole new level of crazy he has going on. *shudder*

Edward seems to have changed a bit as well. I think being a family man is really doing a number on him, so much so he seems to have lost a little bit of his menacing edge. But rest assured, he isn’t wimpy by any means, he’s still got those cold dead eyes that will make even the craziest killer call for their mommy.

There is also some new characters, one that Anita adopts and a few that show Anita has grown. Seriously, she has grown! She is still a hardcore killer, but just a little bit of her has a new sense of self that improves her character. I was getting a little bit on the sick of her whining side of things, so it was nice to see her help someone. Especially since Anita seems to never ever like other females. I never liked that she didn’t have a single female friend and felt the need to bash other females, which she still does in Hit List but not as bad as in previous novels in the series.

Another thing I liked about Hit List was that it centered on plot and hardly on Anita’s relationship with the men that usually surround her. No Richard, no Jean Claude, no Asher. There were parts with Nicky (Anita’s bride) and Domino, but they act as bodyguards and not as bedmates for the most part. No kinky sex, no orgy just action that didn’t take place in a bed. Hallelujah!

The biggest issue I have was the quick wrap up at the end of the plotline with the Mother of All Darkness. I felt it was wrapped up to quickly; after all these years I wanted a bigger showdown and wasn’t happy with the neat little bow it got wrapped in. I wanted a bit more interaction between Anita and the Mother of All Darkness; alas it wasn’t mean to be.

Now please excuse me while I get a drink, I’m still in a state of shock at the fact I liked this book.


Natasha Carty reviews Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy on her website Wicked Little Pixie and lives in Toronto, Canada, with her cat, Seamus.

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Gabrielle Thomas
1. GabrielleThomas
Wow. I never thought I'd read a review that would ruin the whole book for me. Thanks a lot.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
@GabrielleThomas--can you explain why the post ruins the book? It sounds as though Natasha liked the book, and explains why; did you feel there were spoilers? Or something else was the problem? We want to hear your comments, but can't respond properly if we don't know the specific reason.
(Megan, Community Manager at H&H)
3. torifl
Fab post Nat. Ok. You've convinced me. I will give this one a read thru. I like that this is showing some of the old Anita. I have missed her.

And I don't think you runined anything.
4. Scooper
I swore I'd never buy another Anita Blake book, but you've got me wanting to borrow Hit List from the library.After the orgies in the last book and the girl-girl action, I'd decided to call it quits. Actually I'm going to put a hold on it right now. I promise not to complain if I hate it.
5. MistyH.
I don't see that it gives the book away, but I can see where Gabrielle would feel that there are spoilers. I think for some Hamilton readers, the relationships are more important than the mystery plot, and the review gives away quite the fact that there is very little to the main characters ir Jean-Claude et all in the book. Also the Mother of Darkness has been a plot building for years, and the mention that it was wrapped quickly removes some of the anticipation for that battle. I will read the book, a review doesn't ruin it for me.
Natasha Carty
6. WickedLilPixie
@Gabrielle - I'm sorry if I have spoilt anything for you. @Tori - Thanks! It's really worth the read @Scooper - If you hate it, come to me ;) @Misty - Thanks for explaining, I see what you mean & we've added a spoiler warning just in case.
7. Torin
I have been a die hard Anita reader since 1997. I love the series, even when it turned to softcore I still loved it because it was part of the development of the character. the Arduer, her nemisis and powerful weapon; is a key to it. It made her stronger and is part of her ties to the vampires.

I also have to comment that Mommie dearest wasn't the original Vampire, The Day Walking, Tiger calling, Djinn summoning Father Day was the first as revealled in Skin Trade.

I am eagerly anticipating tuesday and being able to read the book, and am glad we get more plot this go round. I think Micah was the last time it was more plot than porn.
Carmen Pinzon
8. bungluna
Good review. I can't wait for it. This month has turned out great for new books but bad for my family. I can foresee another day of take out for them next Tuesday!
9. LindaR
I haven't read any Anita Blake books since...I don't even remember, but it still makes me sad that there's no Jean Claude in this book!
Natasha Carty
10. WickedLilPixie
@Torin - Oh yeah, I forgot about Father Day! @Bungluna - LOL I feel the release day lack of movement @Linda - It's hard to explain why there's lack of JC in the book without spoiling it.
11. Darkraven
I used to LOVE the Anita Blake series, but this one sounds so dull to me. To be honest, I want hot vampires, not serial killers. Without Jean-Claude there's just no point. I couldn't care less about tough guy Edward and super creepy Otto. I usually find the U.S. Marshall parts boring. Weretigers aren't my thing either -- I like werewolves much better.

Anyway, thanks for the review. I've decided to skip this one. I miss Jean-Claude!
hrönn ingvarsdottir
12. hronni
I have loved the Anita Blakes series from the beginning and am not ashamed to say I still do. Have even got four people around me to love them as well. We are always waiting for the next book and every time we look into a bookstore, she is always the one we are looking for to begin with. But anyway, love the books. Greetings from Iceland
Natasha Carty
13. WickedLilPixie
@Darkraven - You're most welcome! @hronni - Thanks for stopping by!
14. Jen at Red Hot Books
I'm one of those people who is unhappy with the direction this series has gone in, but I still read, due to my inability to let the characters go. I'm on the wait list for this at the library and I'm happy to hear that this one isn't simply a porn fest. But at the same time, I am disappointed that Anita's single sexual encounter isn't with one of the many men in her already extensive stable. Thanks for the review, Nat... it gave me all the info I was looking for.
15. Sarah K
I've fallen a couple of books behind with Anita, but your review gives me hope. I've read the series since I found a paperback copy of Lunatic Cafe in the library and was hooked ever since. Definitely can't wait to read this one! Thanks for the great review.
Cheryl Hollingsworth
Thanks for the review. I posted a comment on your other entry, but I'll say it again: I'm going to read "Hit List" now based on your review... you better be right.. ;) (Would you agree that "Narcissus" was probably the worst, or is it "Incubus Dreams"... Does it really matter? ;)
The first book I read was Micah. I then went back to the beginning. I have LOVED her series since. Yes, it can be a little much with the sex scenes. But, I am following Anita. She is evolving and I can't wait to see what is going to happen next. I am on pins and needles. :)
18. LV Wench
I thought your review was spot on. It's truely a shame that even though people are literate, they still don't read everything and only see what they want to see. What part of (Warning—there might be spoilers ahead.—H&H) is so hard to understand? I've been massively dissapointed in the Anita series since around Narcissus in Chains/Cerulean Sins. I kept holding out hope and I'm glad I did. I was raving about this book to my other skeptical friends who used to love Anita. They were wary at first, but I told them that this book is like the old Anita that we all fell in love with. I do hope LKH continues on this path for Anita and that the lapse was just temporary. I'm stoked to see where she goes with Olaf/Otto. That little revelation probably had me the most excite out of everything else in the book. ;)
19. vlj
I statrted reading Anita out of sequence with Narcissus in Chains an had to go back to the beginning. I've read every single book and have enjoyed them. Yes, sometimes the sex edges out the rest of the story, but they are still only one of two series that I buy new at release in hardcover.
Thanks for the review.
20. TinaW
I look forward to the book and am glad a lot of the soft (sometimes Hard) porn is gone. Got to admit that is not what I enjoy reading and just skim until its over. Not a prude but just too much sex. That is not what I read the series for. Will miss Jean Claude however as he and Anita are meant for each other.
21. Scarlett
@Miss G. Thomas: I'm a little confused on how the review ruined the book also, she did warn that there might be spoilers... I read every Anita B book too and I LOVE all of them but it was interesting having someone name things about the books that I simply accepted (i.e. Anita's famale-bashing, crazy sex scenes, and Anita's harem). I did like that it was Anita kicking butt as a Marshall. And yes, that whole thing with Otto had me gawking at my book. The wrap up was a bit fast, I blinked and it was over. I will be reading it again, fo' sure!
22. Heather313
Just finished Hit List and I was disappointed in it. I really missed all Anita's men, and when I finished it I wondered if there would be another with the quick demise of the MOAD. I hope the next Anita installment brings back Jean-Claude, Nathanial, Micah and the rest.
23. roger

I had given up on the series two or three books back as I had got entirely fed up of Anita who, when she wasn't screwing some guy or some group of guys, spent most of her time obsessing about how she was constantly forced into screwing some...etc. However, based on this review, I decided to give Hit List a go, and it was surprisingly readable, but totally unbelievable. At what point did Edward become a total idiot? I mean, he calls in or is working with Anita on a job, because she is the best there is apart from himself. Okay I would probably want someone a tad less self-obsessed, but I can buy it. But WHY on God's Green Earth would he call in Olaf/Otto? The guy is a !*&%ing liability. He's never done anything in the books I've read that couldn't be done by many other characters except reduce Edward's and Anita's own effectiveness because they have to keep one eye on the nutter on their own team. And then, if Edward was any kind of a professional (or LKH didn't want an easy future plot line) I cannot believe Olaf would end the book alive. Anita makes the point that he has never, to their knowledge, committed a crime in The USA, but why would that matter to a pragmatist like Edward?
Suspension of disbelief is a two way street, the author has to make the effort to keep her characters consistent for the reader to do their part, and in this case LKH failed.
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