Whilst perusing the sci-fi/fantasy section of my library, I stumbled across the 2nd book in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series. Absentmindedly, I was half way through it before realizing it wasn’t the introductory book. As reading more books is a better move for any cannonball participant, I switched over to Dead Witch Walking ASAP.
We’re introduced to a leather clad Rachel Morgan on a Leprechaun stake out in a seedy Cincinnati bar. She’s a white earth witch who relies on her wits and if all else fails her splat gun containing pre-stirred non-lethal spells. She’s begin assigned this mark by the I.S., Inderland Security, a sort of supernatural FBI in this world where magic and monsters were outed a few decades before when a tomato plague decimated the US. Lately, her boss Denon has been giving her all the shit jobs and promoting every yahoo idiot except her. So instead of turning in her magical perp, she takes the Leprechaun’s bribe of 3 wishes for not turning her in. Rachel shares the wishes with Jenks, her pixie backup, and a living vampire named Ivy. Together they drunkenly plot how to quit the I.S. and go independent contractor. What could go wrong?
ALOT. Quitting the I.S. apparently is a big no-no. Last guy, supposedly turned up dead. Rachel ends up using her wish just to stay alive after her boss puts out a death warrant on her. He rightfully blames her for Ivy quitting, who happens to be local vamp royalty and one of his best agents. Assassins follow her home and put death spells on almost everything in her apartment. She luckily manages to escape (thanks to that wish) and hole up with Ivy in an old church out in the Hollows, the supernatural ghetto. Jenks also moves into their garden with his brood of children. His gardening and fighting skills prove valuable when he protects them from a midnight fairy attack later in the book. Living with a death warrant and hiding out in the church isn’t a long term plan for Rachel. She boldly decides to bag Trent Kalamack, a clean cut business man and philanthropist on the surface, but evil pharmaceutical drug pin behind closed doors. He’s untouchable so getting hard evidence on him has to count for something to the I.S. Only problem is spying on Trent turns out to be also dangerous to her health. Rachel is forced to delve into blacker magic and tactics than she is accustomed to in order to best him at his own game.
I really enjoyed the supernatural world of Dead Witch Walking. After reading the entire Sookie Stackhouse series, I was glad to immerse myself in a gritty metropolitan city with a fresh take on the paranormal romance genre. Even though the stakes are high from the outset, Harrison writes with a more darkly comedic tone that I took to easily. I’d highly recommend this for fans of Lillith Saintcrow and the Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells.
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