Dead Witch Walking

Last night, a book that once started was impossible to put down. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. Since I lost sleep over it, you get to read a review. I don’t read often enough to give reviews well or regularly, so here’s the short skinny: if Anita Blake was written by Dashiell Hammett, who it turned out was secretly alive and female, and just starting her career, this might be the book.
OK, so I’ve read a bit of Gentry and Blake, but it didn’t really grab me. Those gals seem to live in a world that you might want to fetishize into rpg canon. There is a certain underlying vibe of fantasy immersion in those stories.
Rachel Morgan does not have a life you would want. Her world is not nice. Her prospects are rather dim. Rachel is under a threat of assassination by the time the first few chapters roll past. The contract on her life is put out by folks she used to work for.
The Good Guys.
Now she’s an independant consultant. Y’see the Good Guys aren’t really so good, just in charge of enforcing the rules. The Bad Guys are really, really bad. Black. Twisted. Slimy. So the Good Guys hunt the Bad Guys down because everyone has to play by some rules or there is just chaos, dontchaknow. Rachel is a low ranking white witch who used to help drag the Bad off the streets.
But Kim Harrison doesn’t slow down much to give you all this, she tells the story and lets you take it in Zelazny style.
All that being said, there is nobility, humor, surprises, and more than a few neat characters in the journey. There are ugly moments and a villain that you can respect even as you hope he gets the ‘smackdown’.
Important to me, there is a team of folks who decide to line up with Rachel. They know she’s getting a bad deal and they think she’s worth fighting for. As a reader I found the NPCs of this story very interesting and far from cliche. The more I appreciated them, the more I admired the author’s willingness to let Rachel reveal slowly; even stubbornly.
Best of all, there are more tales from Kim about Rachel Morgan. There are lots of things we want to know more about. There is a world here that doesn’t seem shallow or rushed in execution.
But don’t take it to bed with you.
Consider yourself warned.
Here are additional titles (and yes, they’re too cute and media savvy, but the stories are NOT):
Rachel 2 The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
Rachel 3 Every Which Way But Dead
Let’s hope that the followups are developed as well.



  1. I thought I bought book two last Feb, and it turns out I didn’t. But I bought book three last week, and will be picking up book two and reading both of those soon. I’m looking forward to it.
    I think the book had some stumbling blocks (to me, but then, I think I read it when I was doing a lot of writing crits so I noticed them more) but was a lot lot lot of fun.

  2. And see… I can’t get into Blake as easily as I devour the Gentry books. They’re like chocolate dipped pretzels. Sweet and delicious covering hard salty bits. I’ll admit I think of them as my version of Lintra’s Harlequin romances.

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