(2006 UK edition) Kim Harrison, Harper Voyager, £6.99, 502pp, ISBN 0-00-723612-3
Part of a series first published in the US, this book follows on from Kim Harrison's last novel, The Good the Bad and the Undead and features former bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan, who has set up an independent runner agency with her housemates Ivy and Jenks. The book is set in present-day US America with werewolves, witches, pixies and vampires forming part of the population and where Rachel is trying to conduct a normal life but in her world, nothing goes quite according to plan...
The story starts with Rachel once more encountering the demon, Al, and rescuing an elf Al has enslaved by the name of Ceri. This does not go down well with Al who is intent on revenge and ensnaring Rachel's soul, making her life more complicated than ever. This time her investigations lead her to a world of gambling and shady dealing as well as an underworld power struggle. She is assisted by David, a were insurance adjuster who wants her assistance in clearing a case - as does the assistant of Trent Kalamack, a dealer in brimstone whose business is being threatened by another drug lord who is threatening to flood the market with tainted substances.
This book could be described as a supernatural drama with action and adventure thrown on. Once again, it is written from the first person perspective in a conversational manner from Rachel Morgan's point of view and also makes reference to her unusual past, through memories from her childhood and the disappearance of her father.
Once again, things are as complicated as ever for Rachel, and the book follows on nicely from the previous instalment as events develop for the principal characters and the world they inhabit is examined in greater detail. I liked the varied way that Rachel's use of magic is handled - not only does it save her from certain doom, she uses it to help her in every day matters such as looking after her appearance and at times it goes awry - in this respect, it is a very natural use of mystical arts.
For a different take on the series see Tony's review of Dead Witch Walking. See also A Fistful of Charms and The Good The Bad And The Undead.
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