Holjo's Reviews > The Good, the Bad, and the Undead

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison
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Aug 08, 2011

it was amazing
Read in August, 2011

Book 2 in Hollows Series opens with a flurry of action as we find Rachel retrieving a stolen fish in order to complete a job for her new detective agency. The agency, named Vampiric Charms, is owned by Rachel (witch), Ivy (vampire) and Jenks (pixy), and is in its infant stages of operation. Basically, Rachel will take just about any job she can find in order to pay her rent at the church, buy her witchy supplies, and save for a car.

It is this sense of desperation that causes Rachel to take a job for the FIB (Federal Inderlander Bureau) investigating the disappearance of a student Ley line witch. She has valid reasons to be concerned about this particular case. The woman who reported the missing witch happens to be the secretary to Trent Kalamack – the very man who held Rachel captive as a mink in the first book. Furthermore, the witch’s disappearance also seems to be tied to a string of murdered Ley line witches in Cinncinati.

Rachel is assigned to work undercover at the local university as a ley line student, thus getting her closer to the next likely targets. However, Rachel is convinced from the start that Trent Kalamack is the man behind the murders. Her unrelenting pursuit of Trent gets her into a few messy situations, but she also learns a lot more about who and what Trent is.

To further complicate her life, Rachel discovers that her boyfriend Nick has been dabbling in Demon summoning. After almost dying at the hand of Algaliarept in book one, and gaining a demon mark in exchange for her survival, Rachel is mortified that Nick is being so stupid.

While the first book left me a little confused about where the series would eventually lead, book 2 has given me a much better sense of direction. This book has sucked me in to Rachel’s world and left me wanting more.

Diving into Trent’s storyline was the clincher for me. I have such a love-hate relationship with his character right now. He has been set up as the worst kind of bad guy and is certainly doing his best to earn that reputation, but Kim Harrison surrounds him in enough mystery to make me wonder… could he possibly turn out to be a good guy in the end? My favorite male characters are always the reformed bad boys, so I’m holding out hope for Trent.

I have to admit that I’m also loving the demon character, Algaliarept. His presence in the story leads to enormous temptation and even greater danger. But he also creates debt, meaning that everyone who summons him and survives, owes him something. This opens up all kinds of possibilities for the future books in the series because we know he will eventually come to collect his payments.

Ivy is another character that I have a love-hate relationship with. I still can’t quite figure out why Rachel remains loyal to her and tries so hard to make things work between them. Ivy is dangerous - as in life-changing/life-risking dangerous. She has a hard enough time controlling her bloodlust, and her physical attraction to Rachel isn’t making that any easier. It makes me wonder if Rachel’s connection to Ivy could be her downfall in the future.

Rachel’s boyfriend Nick is a total wildcard in this book. He has done nothing to betray Rachel yet, but he is foolishly tampering with a demon. I don’t believe that he can remain his simple self for much longer. We know he is a survivor after his months living as a rat, and that makes me think he is more devious that what we have seen so far. I suspect his storyline will take a twist in the near future into something a little darker. Rarely is a character only what they seem to be. There must be more to him.

All of the things above are the reasons why this book so much fun to read. Rachel is our constant in the story, but everyone else is completely up for grabs. You will want to like characters that you shouldn’t like. You’ll want to be suspicious of characters that you are supposed to like. You’ll get mad at Rachel’s choices sometimes. And lastly, you’ll have a tough time deciding who to trust, and as soon as you make a decision, you’ll keep changing your mind!

Besides the great characters, this book also has a solid storyline. It is believable, the resolution is believable, and we readers are kept in the dark until the very end. And as usual, Rachel makes just as many wrong assumptions as we do.

Recommended for fans of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Thrillers. There is a nice element of mystery to these books. The romance is pretty bland so far, but I’m hoping it will pick up in future installments.

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