This is the best Anita Blake book I have read since Narcissus in Chains
. And it brought in to focus for me what I really like about this series and what I really don't.
In many ways, it reminded me of Obsidian Butterfly
. It's a road trip book. Anita is working a case as a US Marshall along with Edward, and eventually Bernardo and Olaf. She's bad-ass and snarky. The other law-enforcement agents are threatened by her. (We get constant reminders that she's more of a man than most of the men.) But supernatural insights and killer skills make her uniquely qualified to solve the case. Only this time, the victims aren't humans. The Harlequin is killing off were-tigers and they're gunning for Anita... hoping to reel her in and hand her over to Marme Noir to inhabit her body.
Other reviews have likened Hit List to the "old-Anita" books. I'm not sure that's entirely how I'd characterize it. The reason boils down to one word: "metaphysical." I thought it was simply the ardeur that muddied this series for me, but almost as much, I think is all this metaphysical stuff. I like Anita solving mysteries, kicking ass... hell, I even enjoy some of the sex. But I'm getting to the point where I cringe every time I read the word "metaphysical." Just kill something, dammit.
I actually liked the new guy and her encounter with him. The problem is that now he's going back to St Louis to become another man in the harem. There are already too many to keep straight. Thank God, LKH did a recap of the bodyguards who came to help, because I would have never remembered them otherwise. (And to be honest, I still can't place Ares or Socrates. And who the hell is Dev?) The only word I hate more than "metaphysical" is "sweeties," by the way. The ardeur doesn't overwhelm this book and I'm grateful for that, but I wish we did have the frequent reminders of that Anita is boffing a 17 year-old at home. Her telling us about he wants to have sex and cuddle after homework brings the squick-factor to heights few books can accomplish.
But for the most part, I liked the book. The Edward-Anita dynamic is fantastic and it's interesting to see how his character is softening towards her. The development with Olaf was unexpected but very cool, in my opinion. And I'm glad to see the Mother of Darkness storyline finally put to bed... I hope. We'll see if the next book can hold up to the same quality, when Anita's regular dozen guys are all around and waiting to be serviced. 4 stars.