Sometimes, the Sony eReader Library has books available to download for free. At some point earlier this year, Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking was available. I downloaded it and put it in my “To Be Read” folder, and forgot about it. Last week, in the hustle of semester-end details, such as grading final essays and reading dozens of excuses for late papers, and advising, etc., I went on a reading binge (sometimes I do this; it’s good for my soul and my relationships since it keeps me sane). On this particular binge, I read myself out of books I had purchased for my eReader, and I began the free ones.
I don’t know exactly what I expected, but this wasn’t it. If I’d had any idea that the book was good, I’d of read it much sooner. And, it was good. The author’s website describes the book, “Dead Witch Walking is the first of Rachel Morgan’s stories. It was released late April 2004 through HarperTorch. It has since been awarded Romantic Times’s Best Fantasy novel 2004 and P.E.A.R.L’s (Paranormal Excellence Award for Romantic Literature) Best Science Fiction novel of 2004. PEARL also granted [Kim Harrison] their title of Best New Author for that same year.” It is book one of the paranormal Hollows series, which to date has 8 books and four shorts published (again according to the author’s website).
The product description reads: “All the creatures of the night gather in ‘the Hollows’ of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party … and to feed. Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining — and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized. A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead … or undead.”
At first, Rachel appears to be the equivalent of a paranormal Stephanie Plum, the inept bounty hunter starring in the Janet Evanovich Plum series. Like Stephanie, Rachel can’t seem to bring anyone in without serious mishap. When she quits her job to go into business herself (with a vampire and a pixie for partners), she learns that she really wasn’t inept; she was being purposely undermined by her boss. Unfortunately, when Rachel quits, she isn’t able to buy her contract out or bribe anyone so a hit is put out on her. The book focuses on her trying to win a big score (a bounty of sorts) to bribe her way out of the mess she is in. With Ivy the vamp and Jenks the Pixie on her side, Rachel makes her way through caper after caper. Eventually, she makes an unique partnership / consulting deal that foreshadows a series in the making!
The book had very funny moments. It also appealed to me because living less than two hours from the real Cincinnati, I was intrigued by the setting. In addition, the homoerotic relationship between Rachel and Ivy was totally unexpected and quite interesting. I’m not a huge fan of vampire stories , so I’m not up on my vampire lore and didn’t consider that vamps would be attracted regardless of gender/sex. Actually, there are tons of things I hadn’t considered in the world of vamps or witches, and that makes it an exciting read. And giving it away free was an excellent marketing idea. Now that I am hooked, I will have to buy the other seven. They will be making money off of me.