Review: ‘Every Which Way But Dead’ by Kim Harrison (audio)

Beware spoilers. I try to keep major ones from slipping, but it’s difficult to talk about the story in a series such as this as it gets more involved and the plot deepens without letting a few tidbits slip. Consider yourself warned. ;o)

Book #3 of Kim Harrison’s best-selling Hollows series is Every Which Way But Dead and it takes place a mere three months after the end of Book #2, The Good, The Bad and The Undead. It’s winter in Cincinnati and the story starts off with a bang as Rachel stands in the snowy graveyard behind her and Ivy’s church, preparing to finagle her way out of the deal that the demon Algaliarept thinks she made with him.

The teaser from

Some days, you just can’t win. Witch and former bounty hunter Rachel Morgan has 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. 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.

I first listened to this series in its entirety before the release of Black Magic Sanction, about a year ago. Time has since blurred the events of each book into one long story in my mind. Thinking back on the whole story, I sometimes have difficulty determining which events had taken place in which book and listening to this book made me recall that it is one of my favorites. Despite my sad at the state of Rachel and Nick’s relationship as the story begins, I absolutely thrilled at the many adrenaline-fueled events of this book from Rachel’s date with Kisten to her plunge in the river with Trent.

We meet so many new characters in this book, it’s amazing. There’s Ceri, Al’s former familiar who has a great deal in common with Trent Kalamack and his crew; David Hue, the werewolf insurance adjuster; Ivy’s sister and father as well as Skimmer, her former roommate and lover; Stanley Saladan, yet another crime lord type who happens to be a former friend of Trent and has some very interesting traits, as does Rachel; Takata, the quirky yet wildly popular Inderlander musician; Ellasbeth, Trent’s snotty fiance; and finally, as though there aren’t enough bat-shit crazy people that Rachel has to worry about, an insane female demon, Newt.

All in all, that’s a whole bucketful of new faces, or in the case of the audio book, new voices to get to know which spices the story up a bit. Not that this story needed spicing, what with the ley line magic stuff, the demon magic stuff, the crime lord rivalry, a regrettable estrangement and a revelation about Rachel’s father, not to mention the emotional conflict that Rachel experiences with Nick and then Kisten… and dare I say, Trent? Oh, did I forget to mention the ooh-la-la, oh-so-racy scene that Marguerite Gavin reads so fantastically? Whew, there’s a good scene to rewind and listen to a few times!

Fast-paced and captivating, this third installment of the series is worth many an hour of fun, action-packed excitement and at this point in my re-listen, it’s my favorite. The main characters are developing immensely at this point and while the major plot point is wrapped up for the time as the book ends, there are continuing plot threads that will make you want to snatch the next book right off the shelf and begin reading it as soon as you close this book. So make sure you have it on hand, I know I do!