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Tell me when the exciting part starts
on June 7, 2011
Remember how in "Bullet," Laurell K. Hamilton set up a thrilling, exciting plotline... and then just stuffed it into a single "here's what we did" sentence in the last chapter?
Well, her twentieth Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novel "Hit List" attempts to be what "Bullet" wasn't -- an edgy, gritty thriller about serial-killings by vampire spies. It's not. Hamilton has toned down the plotless sex, but it's replaced with an endless stream of really boring conversations, weapons porn, weretiger politics, and Anita waving her imaginary penis at her superiors.
Edward and Anita are called to Twilightland (aka the Pacific Northwest) to investigate a bunch of weretigers who are being killed, probably by the Harlequin. And after a bizarre fight breaks out at the local weretiger.... place, Anita realizes that the Mother Of All Darkness is scheming to steal Anita's body and make it her own. You know, the same dastardly plot as the last several books.
However, Anita's attempts to root out the Harlequin are foiled by a minor arm injury. So she drops the real federal marshals, and joins forces with Bernardo, Olaf, and some minor were-bodyguards. Can they finally stop talking long enough to catch the Harlequin? Will Anita pull a new magic power out of her butt to wrap up the worst-written subplot in the whole series?
"Hit List" is boring. Painfully boring. Hamilton has toned down the sex/politics considerably, but about 90% of this book is made up of dull, repetitive conversation. If you chopped out the subplots that go nowhere (Marshal Raborn) and the dialogue that adds nothing, the entire simplistic plot would be about thirty pages long.
And about halfway through the book, Hamilton gets bored with writing lots of human characters, so she sweeps them away and bring in the serial killers and "anime-haired" werethugs. The writing is Hamilton's usual hackneyed mixture of casual sexism, weapons porn ("Light anti-tank weapon." "It's a LAW"), and Anita posturing and posing as the Greatest of Experts and the Baddest Of Assassins.
The flimsy plot does become more exciting at the very end of the book, but it also becomes hilariously silly -- one of the bad guys randomly turns good, and Anita pulls another Deus Ex Machina power out of her butt.
As for Anita, she's typically horrible. When she isn't being arrogant and bossing people around, she's huddling in a corner crying because another marshal said something mean to her. Edward has transformed into a creepy pervert who is always trying to get Anita to feed the ardeur, even letting a strange weretiger crawl into bed naked with her WHILE SHE'S UNCONSCIOUS.
Even worse, Hamilton lays out plenty of groundwork for Anita to sleep with both Edward AND serial killer Olaf, and she adds yet another traumatized were to Anita's enormous harem. None of the other main characters make even a cameo appearance, so don't expect to see any favorites here.
"Hit List" is like swimming through sludge -- slow, boring, clammy and unpleasant. It's thankfully low on sexual content, but the endless posturing and boring conversations make it a chore to read.