I should preface this by saying that I fell in love with Anita Blake with the very first book, back in the early 90s. I've read them all (even the crappy ones) and I've been sad that the quality of both the stories and the writing has gone downhill so quickly since Obsidian Butterfly. Perhaps if I hadn't loved that one so much I would have been less irritated, but OB remains my favourite of all her books and so that was not to be.
The last three or four books have been painful reads, with repetitive dialogue (really? Does Anita have to have the *same* fight with every police person out there?) and an increasing habit of leaving big aspects of the plot undealt with in order for various people to have sex, resulting in random deus ex machina metaphysical powers to the rescue. I liked Blood Noir probably best out of the books since OB, but Flirt was just... ugh. And the last one, with the name that is eluding me, was just in so many ways unforgiveable. The fact that the actual writing was also going downhill was just the icing on a really infuriating cake. LKH is one of those writers (in my opinion) who needs a strong editor and who got famous enough that no one was willing to be one for her, to the detriment of ... well. Everyone, really.
So, it is safe to say that when it comes to LKH and the Anita Blake books, I am simultaneously eager to believe the best and predisposed to feel the worst, at this point, so keep that in mind.
While still not in the league of the early books, or of Obsidian Butterfly, Hit List manages to deliver a pretty complete storyline and covers most aspects of the plot, while actually showing some character growth on Anita's part. The book once again features Edward \o/ who at this point is about 90% of why I keep reading, and manages to show how he's grown and changed, too.
There's fun and gore and fighting the bad guys, random acts of violence and the political stupidity around the were world that's so typical of LKH. There's only a couple of new characters this time (thank goodness!), and she brings in some of the cooler characters from earlier stories like Bobby Lee who I realised I've missed. The cast isn't too unwieldy, and for the most part she makes good use of them. There were a few times I had to go back because someone who had been talking seemed to randomly disappear, but I found that it was simply that I'd missed them leaving the 'stage'.
The ending is a bit weak, in my opinion; it felt like she ran out of time (or interest) in the story arc and just decided to wrap it up, so it feels like a real letdown. But, still... significantly better than the last one.