I'm at the point in the Anita Blake series (which with this current book, Hit List, numbers 20 books) where I'm reading more for the characters than I am for the plot. Which is a good thing, because the past few books have set up to be serial killer mysteries, but in the end, the solving of the mystery and the capture of the villains takes a backseat to the goings on in Anita's life. And that is okay with me, although I might feel differently if I'd come to this series later and read through all the books in quick succession. I've been with this series since the first book came out back in 1993, and I've been reading each one as it has been published (with occasional rereads to refresh my memory) ever since.
In this installment the dreaded Harlequin of an earlier book are running amok killing people, and Anita and Edward are in the Pacific northwest trying to stop them. It is difficult because she cannot discuss the Harliquin with the police who are working on the case, and the deaths keep piling up. Anita is, for the most part in this book, away from her support structure in St. Louis, and that makes things feel all the more tense as the plot progresses.
There are things I love about this series. I love the character development, particularly the depth of Anita's portrayal and the way her experiences have changed her throughout the course of these books. I love how compassionate she is, despite the hardships she's endured, and the way she struggles so fiercely to find the right thing to do when there is no true right thing. The world-building is skillful and thorough, the relationships between the characters are wonderfully portrayed, and the dialogue and pacing are always solid. Sometimes Hamilton dwells on minute bits of description that leave me wondering what her fascination is with characters' heights or haircuts or clothes, and she has a way of replaying certain scenarios from book to book that make certain things a bit too repetitive. For example, there is often a cop or someone with whom Anita must work professionally, and this person gives her no end of grief and makes her life difficult. And there is always a needy, hurt, and sweet man who needs Anita to take him under her wing. She's accumulated quite a few of those, and I'm not complaining, really. There's just a bit of an "oh, this again?" feeling as I read.
I'm a little tired of the big bad that Anita's been fighting these past several books, and I'm hoping that there will be new and interesting antagonists for her to come up against in future volumes. It's strange that for a series with so many books, the new ones still manage to remain fresh, and they definitely hold my attention. Anita is an admirable heroine, and I look forward to reading about more of her adventures.
Books in the Anita Blake series:
1. Guilty Pleasures
2. The Laughing Corpse
3. Circus of the Damned
4. The Lunatic Cafe
5. Bloody Bones
6. The Killing Dance
7. Burnt Offerings
8. Blue Moon
9. Obsidian Butterfly
10. Narcissus in Chains
11. Cerulean Sins
12. Incubus Dreams
14. Danse Macabre
15. The Harlequin
16. Blood Noir
17. Skin Trade
20. Hit List
Hit List (#20 in the Anita Blake series) by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley Books, 2011)
Also reviewed at:
Bitten by Books: "I have to admit, even though the series is into book 20, I still never get tired of Anita Blake. I think the only disappointing thing to me in Hit List is that most of the regulars are missing."
Book Series Reviews: "It was an enjoyable book, a nice change of pace, and I look forward to seeing Anita back in St Louis again for the next book."
Anastacia Knits Designs: "I did enjoy the book, it was a light, fun, fast read. I give the book 3 stars because the book of course did have some problems/issues, but it was still worth reading..."