Friday, May 30, 2014

Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1) by Kim Harrison

Title: Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, Book 1)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Rachel Morgan 1
Format: Paperback; 432 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (October 2, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0007236093
ISBN-13: 978-0007236091
Author's Website:
Notes: I bought this one.

Almost forty years ago, a quarter of the human population died from a mutated virus named the T4 Angel. The virus was tracked back to an Arctic lab, where the lethal chain of DNA escaped by way of a bioengineered tomato which found its way to store shelves. Most Inderland species were resistant to the Angel virus. With so many humans dead, the supernatural community decided it was time to make their presence known. With the virus' apparent preference for humans, some believed, incorrectly, that the supernatural community had engineered it. The Turn, as it came to be called, changed the world irrevocably. Humans attempted unsuccessfully to rid themselves of supernaturals, but slowly the realization came that they weren't going anywhere. From the dust, the Federal Inderland Bureau, aka FIB, emerged. It replaced the local US law enforcement and was created to police Inderlander activities. The Inderlanders, in turn, created their own law enforcement agency, Inderland Security, aka IS.

Rachel Morgan has worked for the past three years as an IS agent, and was in training for four years prior to that. For the past several years Rachel has gotten the jobs nobody else would want in league with what would be given to an intern. While attempting to take in a tax evading leprechaun, a tempting offer is made. The leprechaun will give Rachel three wishes in exchange for its freedom. Rachel sees this as an opportunity to quit the agency and not get caught letting the leprechaun go. What she didn't take into account is that the IS is the sort of place you can't leave. If you try, you're a dead witch (or other supernatural) walking. She'll have to brew up something quick to get them off her back.
Kim Harrison has created a wonderful world with delightful characters. Rachel is a very likable witch with a heart of gold who seems to attract all sorts of trouble and danger. Her boss hated her and, as we find out when she gives her notice, did everything in his power to thwart her missions. When she leaves the IS she planned on doing it alone, but two of her coworkers end up joining her and they start their own agency. Her former boss is not pleased and vows she'll not have long to enjoy her new found freedom.

Ivy is a nonpracticing vampire. She still drinks blood, just not directly from the vein. She's been vein free for several years, but once a vampire, always a vampire and the temptation to indulge is always there. She comes from a prominent vampire family and was born a vampire, she wasn't made one. What makes Ivy a fun addition to the book is that she's attracted to Rachel, but Rachel doesn't swing that way. Vampires by nature have sort of compulsion which makes them virtually irresistible to those around them, It's that attraction which tugs at Rachel when she realizes Ivy is interested in her. While nothing much scares Rachel, the compulsion induced attraction paired with the thought of a vampire biting her and drinking her blood disturbs her beyond words. She may like and respect Ivy, but being anyone's snack is not something she wants any part of.

Jenks is a pint sized (truth be told he's tinier) pixie with a huge attitude and sense of humor that rivals any regular sized human's. While he might be easily overlooked, his personality more than makes up for the height he's lacking. The image of him swinging on Rachel's hoop earrings and grumbling about something or teasing Rachel about something she said or did immediately endeared the little fellow to me. Add in that his devotion to his wife and kids and I admit to being a fan.

While Rachel is under a death threat when she leaves the agency, Ivy is able to avoid the threat because of her family's political ties and their social standing and by forfeiting her substantial inheritance to the IS. That leaves Rachel with the dilemma of trying to figure out a way to rid herself of her threat. While her boss truly wanted her to leave, taking Ivy with her brought out his fury. I'd love to know the reason for the man's hatred of her. It seems like there must be a story behind it. Rachel's plan to rid her self of the IS death threat is to take down someone the IS has been gunning for for some time--Trent Kalamack. If Rachel has her way, she'll get her man and embarrass the IS in the process by doing something they couldn't.

Trent Kalamack is a good looking man who oozes power and wealth. The IS believes he creates and distributes an illegal drugs. One of the most interesting things about Trent is that everyone knows there's something not quite normal about him, but nobody can figure out what type of supernatural being he is and they're all puzzled. While Trent may be a despicable character, we see the sparks of what will soon become Trent and Rachel's ongoing love/hate relationship. 

The whole tomato incident reminded me of the movie attack of the killer tomatoes and I laughed so hard at the whole scenario even though the tomatoes didn't come to life in this story. Plus, once upon a time tomatoes were feared to be poisonous. In the 18th century the tomato species was named Lycopersicon esculentum, which literally means, "edible wolf peach". I kind of liked that Ms. Harrison picked the tomato to be the carrier of the virus. It has history. It should be noted that the series debuted prior to the real life tomato salmonella scare of 2008.

Cleverly written and interspersed with laughable moments, witty banter, and compelling characters I couldn't help but give this book 5 out of 5 roses. All the elements combined enchantingly together to create a bewitching tale. I highly recommend this book and series and I can honestly say this was a full and utter book seduction for me. 

P.S. A friend, Sara, and I are reading this series together and have only just finished the first book. If you'd like to join us, we plan to read books three or four books in June and attempt to read all twelve previously published books prior to the thirteenth (I love the fact the author's leaving off on the thirteenth book) and final book, The Witch With No Name, is released in September. We plan on tracking down the paths of everything leading up to the end. Sara is a veteran to the series and has read all the books and novellas while I'm still somewhat of a newbie having only read books one - four and the twelfth in the series. Yes, I'm a series jumper and proud of it. lol  If you'd like to join us, we'll be doing our buddy series read in the Goodreads group Who's Your Author?  Here's the link to the first three discussions (just click on the name--it's linked): 

Order of the series:

And coming September 9th, 2014:

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