Friday, August 5, 2011
Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton
Hit List is the latest (is it 19 or 20?) in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. I have to say that I enjoyed this one a bit more than recent books in the series, as it actually managed to go over 100 pages before the first, and only, sex scene. There was way more old-fashioned monster hunting action here, as well as some great scenes with Edward, Anita's old bounty hunter friend, and Olaf and Bernardo Spotted Horse get drafted in the last half of the book, as well.
There has been a series of preternatural murders around the country that Edward and Anita are called in to investigate, and they reluctantly come to the conclusion that the ancient, mysterious and deadly organization called The Harlequin are behind them, instigated by the MOther of All Darkness, who wants to possess Anita's body, so she can bring on another reign of terror on the world. The Harlequin are meaner, tougher and faster than most vampires and weres around today, and it's obviously going to be touch and go for Anita and Edward to catch and kill them before they catch and capture Anita.
So, Hamilton falls back on some of her old standard schtick in a few places. There's the obligatory pissing contest with the federal marshall in charge of the Seattle area, Raborne. There's the very very strange sexual tension between Anita and Olaf, the obsessive serial killer who wants to "date" her - if you call torturing her and wallowing in her blood a date. Hamilton brings out the fact that Anita is healing far faster than ordinary humans, due to her pan-were infections, which makes for an interesting setup, I think, to just how much torture she'll be able to recover from when Olaf finally gets his hands on her one day.
Perhaps there's a bit of subtle propaganda about how we treat people with infectious diseases, such as AIDS, when one of the other female federal marshalls is attacked and infected with the wolf strain, and Anita encourages her, sets her family straight, and hooks her up with the Furry Coalition for further counseling. Maybe there's even some thoughts about how minorities discriminate against other minorities within their own group who are different in some way, as reflected in the were-lions' treatment of Ethan, who has the strains of four different colors of lion in his bloodlines.
One of the downsides to this book was that it spent a lot of time building up the conflict, then, in my opinion, resolved the whole mess in about twenty pages towards the end. Seemed just a touch anticlimactic to me. Not that there's usually any shortage of climaxes around Anita Blake. With any luck at all, Hamilton is getting back to the type of story she used to tell in the early novels. I suggest that those of you who have become disillusioned with her work give this one a try, and perhaps it will encourage her to write more of these, and less paranormal romance.