Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (The Hollows, #2) by Kim Harrison

"I got a break this morning, and you're the only one I could call to capitalize on it."

A serial killer dubbed the "Witch Hunter" has made Cincinnati his latest hunting ground. Captain Edden of the FIB has asked Rachel for her help after Sara Jane, Trent Kalamack's secretary, reports her boyfriend, who fits the profile of serial killer's victims, as missing. The killer is targeting experienced ley line witches whom rumor has it may have dabbled in the black arts and simply lost control. Rachel isn't buying into that rumor, but has no idea why the witches are being targeted. Edden believes Dr. Enders, who teaches ley line magic at the local university may be their culprit and asks Rachel to pose as a student in her class thereby making herself a potential target. After Edden helped her pay the IS off so they'd leave her alone, she owes him big and feels she can't say no. When she finds he wants her to additionally help his son, Glenn, learn the ropes, she's even less happy with the situation then before.
One of the things I love about this series are the details Ms. Harrison infuses into to each of her stories. She paints such a vivid picture with her words that you can easily visualize it. She also manages to capture the dangerous politically charged atmosphere that an intermingling of different species would create. She does such a good job that if you go back and reread them for a second time, you're pretty much guaranteed to notice details you missed in your first read of them. She describes the Hollows as looking, "like everywhere else--until you noticed the runes scratched in the hop-scotch grid, and that the basketball hoop was a third again taller than NBA regulation" and "The dangerous reality of the Hollows remains carefully hidden. We know if we color too far out of humanity's self imposed lines, old fears will resurface and they will strike out at us." and  this is one that my friend and co-mod Sara pointed out that I wouldn't have otherwise have noticed, "..crushing them against the side of the pot with a clockwise--never withershins--motion. I was a white witch, after all."

The series has all the rough edges and angst you expect from an urban fantasy series teamed with humor and lovable characters all wrapped in a delightfully fun and witty package. If I had to describe Rachel to someone, I'd say picture a younger version of Samantha Stevens (from Bewitched) before she met Darrin. Take away the respectable clothing and the air of confidence. Add in a dash of vulnerability with a wish to find her place in the world. Mix in an inner strength most would envy, and you've got the making of a red headed Rachel Mariana Morgan. She tries to make the right decisions, but sometimes none of the choices have the desired outcome so she's forced to choose the best among them. In this book, I love that she's so blinded by her hate of Trent that she has a hard time realizing not every bad thing that happens in the Hollows is his fault. She has a habit of letting her emotions get the best of her, but she's the type who learns from her mistakes, admits to them, and grows a little with each book.

I confess, the serial killings are pretty gruesome in this one, but we don't witness the killer doing any of them. We just get some second hand accounts of some pretty disturbing murders that I wouldn't wish on even my worst enemy. The mystery of who is committing the murders, and how and why, took me by surprise and kept me glued to the pages. My first time through this story I read it cover to cover in one sitting, and after getting a good night's sleep, immediately picked up the next book, Every Which Way but Dead, in the morning and devoured it as well.

I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. It's filled with action, suspense, humor and phenomenal world building, I'm kicking myself for not trying this series sooner. An enchanting and extremely addictive series that I highly recommend. I've been bewitched by a book.

Order of the series:

And coming September 9th, 2014:

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