Kim Harrison,
Every Which Way But Dead
(HarperTorch, 2005)

Kim Harrison didn't have to convince me; I already knew I liked her Rachel Morgan series about a witch/bounty hunter and her partners -- a vampire and a pixie -- in post-Turn Cincinnati. But Every Which Way But Dead, the third book in the series, cranks everything up a few notches and turns a good series into a "wow" series.

Harrison nearly lost me when she -- or, more likely, her publisher -- opted to quote author Diana Gabaldon on the book's cover. The quote -- "Great sex, and an even better plot!" -- kept me from starting this book for a few weeks, at least. You're not going to woo me between your covers with that kind of marketing, Kim. I want a good story with strong characters, which you provide in abundance; Gabaldon's praise indicates a swing to the steamy romance section that had me worried.

Fortunately, Harrison knows what she's doing, and Rachel Morgan's adventures in Every Which Way exceed the excitement of the previous two books combined. There are some great fights with witches and vampires, some high-stakes gambling, an exploding boat, a pissed-off pixie, a little family drama, a hint or two of high fashion, a turf war and some seriously witchy butt-kicking. The subplot with Rachel's demon master -- that's a long story, so just read about it in the book -- could have carried the novel on its own, particularly a pair of no-holds-barred brawls that practically tore through the pages of my paperback.

Oh, there was a pretty good sex scene, too.

[ visit the author's website ]

review by
Tom Knapp

12 May 2007

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