Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows No.1) – Kim Harrison
When a genetically engineered virus kills off a quarter of the human race, the truth comes out: humanity is only the tip of the iceberg. Now everything that once lived in the shadows, from pixies to witches to vampires, is out in the open and that means a brave new world of bureaucracy. Rachel Morgan is a witch and an IS runner, tasked with apprehending the ‘Inderlanders’ who break the law. Unpopular with her boss, she’s hit a career dead end and decides to go freelance. The only problem with that is, IS runners who leave the department tend to meet literal dead ends. She’ll need a lot of leverage, and even more luck, just to make it through the week – and that’s if her terrifying new housemate doesn’t get her first.
This is the kind of fast-paced, sarcastic urban fantasy that I like. Rachel’s chaotic yet capable style made her a fun protagonist and the dysfunctional family vibe she developed with her housemates was a delight. The world-building was engaging and nuanced, even though the writing was occasionally clunky (‘Oriental’, for instance, is not a good word for describing a person’s looks). Being the first in the Hollows series, Dead Witch Walking sets more plot points up than it resolves, but it’s an interesting set-up. The story continues with The Good, the Bad and the Undead.