Book 3 in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison is Every Which Way But Dead. I read this book for fun last week after purchasing it for my Sony eReader.
Some days, you just can’t win. Witch and former bounty hunter Rachel Morgan’s managed to escape her corrupt company, survive living with a vampire, start her own runner service, and face down a vampire master.
But her vampire roommate Ivy is off the wagon, her human boyfriend Nick is out of town indefinitely and doesn’t sound like he’s coming back while the far-too-seductive vampire Kisten is looking way too tempting, and there’s a turf war erupting in Cincinnati’s underworld.
And there’s a greater evil still. To put the vampire master behind bars and save her family, Rachel made a desperate bargain and now there’s hell to pay—literally. For if Rachel cannot stop him, the archdemon Algaliarept will pull her into the sorcerous ever-after to forfeit her soul as his slave. Forever.
The book opens with Rachel setting out to pay her debt to her Demon for his role in helping her put Piscary behind bars. But, in a typical Rachel fashion, she decides that she will do it her way or not at all. This attitude buys Rachel some time, but leaves her with the Demon’s last familiar Ceri to care for in her growing menage of Inderlanders or non-humans.
The book moves to Rachel’s relationship with Nick, which is continuing to deteriorate after their magical mix-up which caused Nick to become Rachel’s familiar. Every time Rachel pulls ley line magic through him, Nick is unable to respond or control his movement and actions. So, Nick disappears and Rachel is left at the (romantic) mercy of Kisten, an attractive practicing living vampire (you have to read the book to understand that line, I’m sure).
Much of the book, though, revolves around the growing unrest in the underworld now that Piscary isn’t there to hold it together. Rachel is hired by Takata to provide security at his upcoming concert to make sure that the challengers to Piscary’s power do not cause destruction and devastation. She is also hired to protect Trent when Quen feels unable to. Thus, the active conflict of the book revolves around Rachel protecting those in her sphere against the up and comer Lee, who is a witch like Rachel and shares more in common with her than anyone else she’s ever met. But, instead of being friends, these two are destined to try to kill each other and he battles for control of the underworld with the gap created by Piscary’s imprisonment and she helps both Kisten and Trent hold on to their sections of that world. And, in the chaos, a friendship is created; a friendship is shatter; a live is saved.
Part of Harrison’s talent lies in the ability to focus on relationships and the intimate details of dealing with the people in one’s life while not losing focus on the “mystery” or conflict of the book. And this book was most interesting for its relationships: Rachel’s relationship with Nick, with Kisten, with Ivy, with Trent, with her Demon, with the Were David, and with Jenks. As we watch Rachel battle Lee to protect Trent (for money) and Kisten (for love?), we see Rachel develop a romance in with Kisten in which she can be herself and a sister-like relationship with Trent (who she still sees as the enemy) and David, a Were. Rachel continues to have issues with Ivy, though not as homoerotic. And, Jenks becomes alienated despite Rachel’s best judgment. If this were not enough to keep us entertained, Rachel goes up against her Demon again and again.
This book is a seriously fast-paced action-packed story that draws the reader in from page one. I loved it.