Dead Witch Walking (Hollows Series #1)

Dead Witch Walking (Hollows Series #1)

4.2 1666
by Kim Harrison

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All the creatures of the night gather in "the Hollows" of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party . . . and to feed.

Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining—and it's Rachel Morgan's job to keep that world civilized.

A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she

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All the creatures of the night gather in "the Hollows" of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party . . . and to feed.

Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining—and it's Rachel Morgan's job to keep that world civilized.

A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she'll bring 'em back alive, dead . . . or undead.

Editorial Reviews

Fantasy & Science Fiction
“Fast-paced and loads of fun—the perfect read when you just want to get away from things fora bit.”
Charlaine Harris
“You’ll love this bounty-hunter team. … A fun-fair ride through a fascinating version of our world.”
Kelley Armstrong
“A wonderfully fun romp through the supernatural world, a spellbinding blend of sharp wit and vivid imagination.”
Jim Butcher
“Blends the best qualities of Anita Blake and Stephanie Plum… Kim Harrison carries it off with style.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
In the vein of blockbuster supernatural thrillers like Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake sequence and Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire saga comes Kim Harrison's debut novel, Dead Witch Walking, about a sexy witch and bounty hunter who will do anything to bring criminals to justice.

Set in and around an alternate Cincinnati where Inderlanders (witches, vampires, werewolves, faeries, etc.) have officially been recognized, the novel begins with Harrison's leather-loving hero, Rachel Morgan, quitting her job as a runner (a kind of supernatural bounty hunter) for Inderland Security. The only problem is that no one walks away from Inderland Security -- and lives. Her boss, an ill-tempered ghoul named Denon, immediately puts out a contract on her, and within a matter of hours, her life is officially forfeit. She finds herself evicted from her apartment and almost assassinated on a city bus.

Thank God for friends. With the help of Ivy Tamwood, a non-practicing vampire, and Jenks, a temperamental pixie, Rachel tries to begin a new life by starting an independent investigation service based in an old church in an area called the Hollows. But first she must survive the week! While Dead Witch Walking doesn't have the overt sexuality of an Anita Blake novel or the clever sense of humor of a Sookie Stackhouse tale, Kim Harrison's new saga -- powered by her intelligently crafted characters and tightly knit plotlines -- will undoubtedly find a place of its own in this burgeoning hybrid genre that blurs the lines between fantasy, mystery, horror, and romance. Paul Goat Allen

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Hollows Series, #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.08(d)

Read an Excerpt

Dead Witch Walking

By Harrison, Kim


ISBN: 0060572965

Chapter One

I stood in the shadows of a deserted shop front across from The Blood and Brew Pub, trying not to be obvious as I tugged my black leather pants back up where they belonged. This is pathetic, I thought, eyeing the rain-emptied street. I was way too good for this.

Apprehending unlicensed and black-art witches was my usual line of work, as it takes a witch to catch a witch. But the streets were quieter than usual this week. Everyone who could make it was at the West Coast for our yearly convention, leaving me with this gem of a run. A simple snag and drag. It was just the luck of the Turn that had put me here in the dark and rain.

"Who am I kidding?" I whispered, pulling the strap of my bag farther up my shoulder. I hadn't been sent to tag a witch in a month: unlicensed, white, dark, or otherwise. Bringing the mayor's son in for Wereing outside of a full moon probably hadn't been the best idea.

A sleek car turned the corner, looking black in the buzz of the mercury street lamp. This was its third time around the block. A grimace tightened my face as it approached, slowing. "Damn it," I whispered. "I need a darker door front."

"He thinks you're a hooker, Rachel," my backup snickered into my ear. "I told you the red halter was slutty."

"Anyone ever tell you that you smell like a drunk bat, Jenks?" I muttered, my lips barely moving. Backup was un-settlingly close tonight, having perched himself on my earring. Big dangling thing -- the earring, not the pixy. I'd found Jenks to be a pretentious snot with a bad attitude and a temper to match. But he knew what side of the garden his nectar came from. And apparently pixies were the best they'd let me take out since the frog incident. I would have sworn fairies were too big to fit into a frog's mouth.

I eased forward to the curb as the car squished to a wet-asphalt halt. There was the whine of an automatic window as the tinted glass dropped. I leaned down, smiling my prettiest as I flashed my work ID. Mr. One Eyebrow's leer vanished and his face went ashen. The car lurched into motion with a tiny squeak of tires. "Day-tripper," I said in disdain. No, I thought in a flash of chastisement. He was a norm, a human. Even if they were accurate, the terms daytripper, domestic, squish, off-the-rack, and my personal favorite, snack, were politically frowned upon. But if he was picking strays up off the sidewalk in the Hollows, one might call him dead.

The car never slowed as it went through a red light, and I turned at the catcalls from the hookers I had displaced about sunset. They weren't happy, standing brazenly on the corner across from me. I gave them a little wave, and the tallest flipped me off before spinning to show me her tiny, spellenhanced rear. The hooker and her distinctly husky-looking "friend" talked loudly as they tried to hide the cigarette they were passing between each other. It didn't smell like your usual tobacco. Not my problem, tonight, I thought, moving back into my shadow.

I leaned against the cold stone of the building, my gaze lingering on the red taillights of the car as it braked. Brow furrowed, I glanced at myself. I was tall for a woman -- about five-eight -- but not nearly as leggy as the hooker in the next puddle of light over. I wasn't wearing as much makeup as she was, either. Narrow hips and a chest that was almost flat didn't exactly make me streetwalker material.

Before I found the leprechaun outlets, I had shopped in the "your first bra" aisle. It's hard finding something without hearts and unicorns on it there.

My ancestors had immigrated to the good old U.S. of A. in the 1800s. Somehow through the generations, the women all managed to retain the distinct red hair and green eyes of our Irish homeland. My freckles, though, are hidden under a spell my dad bought me for my thirteenth birthday. He had the tiny amulet put into a pinky ring. I never leave home without it.

A sigh slipped from me as I tugged my bag back up onto my shoulder. The leather pants, red ankle boots, and the spaghetti strap halter weren't too far from what I usually wore on casual Fridays to tick off my boss, but put them on a street corner at night ... "Crap," I muttered to Jenks. "I look like a hooker."

His only response was a snort. I forced myself not to react as I turned back to the bar. It was too rainy for the early crowd, and apart from my backup and the "ladies" down the way, the street was empty. I'd been standing out here nearly an hour with no sign of my mark. I might as well go in and wait. Besides, if I were inside, I might look like a solicitee rather than a solicitor.

Taking a resolute breath, I pulled a few strands of my shoulder-length curls from my topknot, took a moment to arrange it artfully to fall about my face, and finally spit out my gum. The click of my boots made a snappy counterpoint to the jangling of the handcuffs pinned to my hip as I strode across the wet street and into the bar. The steel rings looked like a tawdry prop, but they were real and very well-used. I winced. No wonder Mr. One Eyebrow had stopped. Used for work, thank you, and not the kind you're thinking of.

Still, I'd been sent to the Hollows in the rain to collar a leprechaun for tax evasion. How much lower, I wondered, could I sink?


Excerpted from Dead Witch Walking by Harrison, Kim Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

Charlaine Harris

“You’ll love this bounty-hunter team. … A fun-fair ride through a fascinating version of our world.”

Kelley Armstrong

“A wonderfully fun romp through the supernatural world, a spellbinding blend of sharp wit and vivid imagination.”

Jim Butcher

“Blends the best qualities of Anita Blake and Stephanie Plum… Kim Harrison carries it off with style.”

Customer Reviews

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Dead Witch Walking 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 1666 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The storyline is pretty good, and it's a fresh take on what can easily become cliche. If you can get past the sometimes stilted prose and repeated usage of phrases ("my stomach knotted", "made my head throb"), it's an entertaining, light read. The vocabulary isn't terribly interesting or challenging, though every once in a while, the author will come up with a beautiful Koontzian phrase to paint the imagery which offsets the clangers.
The main character though isn't nearly as interesting as the conflicted Ivy, which can be quite distracting, and the strengths of the writing come in the confrontational scenarios between Rachel and Ivy. I'm guessing this is where Kim Harrison really got cranked up and engaged in the writing.
This book was entertaining enough for me to purchase the second in the series, which I am currently reading and will review.
doggis More than 1 year ago
Great Book. Should be made into a movie. enjoyed it immensely.
NJ_Eric More than 1 year ago
To be honest, I think this is one of the two worst novels in this series, but that by no means makes it bad. I enjoyed reading this book and it is necessary to read it before you continue on to the next ones. While Harrison does give brief recaps and explanations of things in later novels to catch up the new reader, it is much better to have just read them in order. What makes it not as good is simply that the characters (especially Rachel, Kisten, Jenks and Ivy) have not yet evolved into the great characters they become in later novels. Don't worry, though. Hang tight and just enjoy this series as it gets better with each book (except for one that mostly focuses on weres, but that's a personal taste). For a specific review of what's going on in this novel: SPOILER ALERT! Several years ago, a virus carried by genetically engineered tomatoes (corny, but works with later story aspects) wipes out a large portion of the human population (and possibly the entire elf population). Since the numbers of humans are down and much less threatening, the creatures of fantasy decide to rally together and come out of hiding to live peacefully among the humans (except the demons). The hometown for this series is Cincinnati, OH, or the Inderlander (non-human) suburb known as the Hollows, where only the brave or fiscally conservative humans (land is cheaper since it's supposedly dangerous) live and play. Rachel Morgan, an earth witch, which means that she makes potions and charms that need to be invoked with her blood, rather than casting spells which draw energy from ley lines (basically power lines which connect our world with the ever-after, where demons dwell), is in a dead end job with the I.S. (inhuman version of the FBI, the human version of which is called the FIB in this series) and she wants out of the contract. The only thing is that no one gets out of their contracts alive, or so stories say. Anyway, when she tries to leave by making a leprechaun give her 3 wishes (I know, pretty cheesy, but bear with it again), her high-speed coworker Ivy, a powerful living vampire, and Rachel's backup pixy, Jenks, want in on the action for their own reasons. In her attempt to get out, Rachel comes under an I.S. death threat which she has to avoid while trying to take down the local crime-lord/ celebrated public figure Trent Kalamack, who is equally dangerous. She uses her own willpower and the help of her friends to get past all obstacles. Obviously, with 6 other books and counting in this series, Rachel makes it, but this book helps a lot with the back story for the other ones. Also, if you're wondering what population this series caters to, I would say it is more mature than the Twilight or Harry Potter series, but much more fun and easier to follow than Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
Writers_Block More than 1 year ago
I picked up this ebook when it was offered free, a fact I'm glad for because I never would have paid for it. First of all, I seriously thought I had started in the middle of an established series. The characters keep making references to places and things in a way that makes you think you should know what their talking about, and when they finally do explain it, it's very brief and written like a recap. I found the main to character to be, well, somewhat wishy-washy. Not at all like the tough, bad guy-go getter I'd expect. One minute she's fine and appears to be on the verge of a break through, only to collapse back again into the realm of sad and almost pathetic. Rachel Morgan can't make her mind up about anything, and when she finally does she seems to regret it almost immediately. Personally I found her Vampire roomy Ivy and her partner in crime Jenks the pixy and his massive brood to be more interesting, which is sad considering how underdeveloped the characters, were. There was potential, the back-story was there, but it was never brought out. I'd consider reading more of this series...but only if they offer it for free!
Terpsichore-3 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Rachel Morgan Series. If one can get through the first hundred or so pages the rest of the book is a real treat. The reader starts to feel like part of the action. The way the supernatural world and the human world combine in this series is intriguing. By the end of this book I personally could not wait to read the next one in this series.
Easily_obsessed More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I wanted a cheap paperback novel to take on a plane trip. The author, Kim Harrison, has a new hardback out, so I thought I would start at the beginning of the Rachel Morgan series. The beginning of this book was a little off-putting, dropping me in to this universe she has created with little in the way of explanation. But I stuck it out and soon enough the premise for this very creative alternate universe was explained. I won't spoil it here, but I will say that in this universe witches, vampires, werewolves, and other "mythical" creatures have come out of the closet and live openly in a contemporary setting, Cincinnati to be exact. So how would our contemporary society handle other people with magical abilities and unusual strengths? Apparently with a lot of insurance, licensing, and bureaucracy. And the magical people have their own police force to keep them in line. That's where our protagonist Rachel Morgan comes in. She's a runner for the I.S., bringing in tax-cheating leprechauns and the like, who decides to go out on her own. She partners with a fellow runner, a living (as opposed to undead) vampire who's been on the wagon for three years and a pixie who's an expert at sniffing out other magical creatures and disabling security cameras. In retaliation the I.S. puts a contract out on Rachel Morgan. She spends most of the book avoiding assassins while attempting to bring in Cincinnati's bio-drug and brimstone kingpin. It's like Mickey Spillane meets the Brothers Grimm. Occasionally the writing seems a bit awkward, not uncommon in first novels, but the premise gives rise to its own vernacular and dark humor. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, adventure, and mystery novels. I have already read the next book in the series, and it only gets better.
danja More than 1 year ago
Great book with great plot. Couldn't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I downloaded this book as one of B&N's weekly free downloads. This book is more annoying than anything else. While there are many things I disliked about this book, I'll only name a few. First, the dialogue between the main characters is just plain hokey. Let me give you an example. One of the main characters, Jenks, is a pixie. So, naturally, when he curses he says things like, "Sweet mother of Tinker Bell!" Really? I mean...really? Doesn't reading that just make you cringe? It's just so....Ohhh...I don't know...elementary school picture book? The second problem is how Kim Harrison has designed her fiction world. Frankly, I don't know where to start. The world's population has been halved by a genetically mutated tomato that somehow spawned a deadly virus (facepalm). Humans are now terrified of all things tomato and many pharmaceutical drugs are now illegal substances due to the tomato thing. Main character is a professional "runner", equivalent to something like an FBI field agent. Despite this level of experience, she CONSTANTLY makes childlike mistakes. (Throughout the book I found myself hoping the main character would die just because she's so damn stupid and unlikeable.) The main protagonists/antagonists in the book have awkwardly polite conversations with one another before they fight. This occurs more than once. Can you say Saturday morning cartoon? Anyway, unless you're into the above bubbly, kumbaya, 10 year-old girl genre crap. I suggest you avoid this.
HannahRose More than 1 year ago
Although i hated the fact that there was barley any romance and that it was mostly slow paced, i turned out to really like this series. The characters were wonderful! Jenks is awesome and had me laughing out loud several times throughout 1 chapter alone! And the situation with adjusting to living with a vampire was hilarious. Im really looking forward to reading the next book to see what will happen in the future with Nick, her death threats, and just to see what Jenks has to say next! I think any person looking for a good read, or some good laughs will definitely fall in love with this series. I just hope that there is more romance because ive got to have some lovin' going on in what im reading. ;]
Jilseponie More than 1 year ago
Rachel Morgan is a witch with a wry and sarcastic sense of humor who has a price on her head. She lives in a church with a living vampire and a pixie family lives in the garden. She's trying to bring down one of the most prominent citizens of the city with a link to biodrugs. And this is just the first book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not usually into the vampire and witch thing, but if they really did exist, this is how I would imagine it. Great book, I really enjoyed reading it.
urbanjaed More than 1 year ago
I was pouting in the aisle standing in front of Laurell Hamilton's Antia Blake series (because I had just finished the last of her books that is out) not knowing what else to read I just so happened looked down and see this title by Kim Harrison. I'm new to the urban fantasy genre so I was skeptical at first but I was also in need of a new series to read so I picked the first two of this series up bought them and now I am on the seventh one I'm hooked. Rachel Morgan is this 'do now think later and try not to die while doing it' type of person. It's full of suspense and mystery with alot of action, friendship, and love.
FantasyLvr More than 1 year ago
This series was recommended to me by a friend because I enjoy Charlaine Harris and Laurell K Hamilton. I was told that if I can make it through the first book that the others are better. I really hope so. I'm almost finished reading this and it was all I could do to make it through the first 50 pages. I find Rachel to be annoying and whiney. And as others have said before me, she is supposed to be some super witch that can make these awesome potions but yet she does really stupid things and doesn't plan ahead. It seems like someone in her position as a "runner" would have learned by now to plan. As for the other characters in the book; I enjoy Jenks but I really wish Ivy's character would be developed a little more. And maybe in other books after this, it gets better but as for this book, she needs work. Supposedly Rachel and Ivy have worked together before but yet one would think that they are perfect strangers trying to live together. I think the relationship between them and their living arrangement is just far too exaggerated. Rachel, in her profession and from just being exposed to vampires in general, she should be a little more familiar with vampires. It's not as if she has never seen a vampire before or knew they existed. I really hope that the second book is much better than the first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this series. I love the whole vampire genre and a friend of mine recommended these. The writing is a little weak and the main characters a little annoying. But the supporting characters are fun and the plot is solid.
Samantha57 More than 1 year ago
To be honest this book was just ok. I mean it had just confusing science fiction polotics in it. And useually I can handle science fiction with some politics in it. This one in about chapter 5 I had to re-read this page at least five times and I when I still did not understand it so I just gave up.
Bitten-By-Love-Reviews More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best fantasy novels I have read. The supernatural aspects blend well with the somewhat dark humor and compelling plot. I also love the characters. Jenks the pixie is hilarious! All of the characters are wonderfully three-dimensional. Rachel is a great, tough heroine. Kim Harrison is an author whose work will be anticipated in the future. Her writing and her wonderful look into the preternatural world reminds me of Laurell K. Hamilton. This is  an outstanding series that I gladly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is an interesting idea here, but the characters don't feel like real people and the situations don't draw me in, except in small bits.  Neither the characters or the story made me care enough about them to want to read the next book, though they kept me just interested enough to finish this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this book started out kind of slow, it kept me wondering what was going to happen. I found it easy to put down. I did however purchase and am currently reading book 2 in the series. So far, it is a pretty good read. I say give it a chance, because each books seems to get better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the kind of book i like to call love at first read, the first chaper had me hooked, im on book #9 right now, and i can tell u, ot keeps gettin better and better, if you like the antia blake series you will love rachal morgan, she is as firey and fisty as hernhair is red, this series will have you laughing, jumping out of your seat screaming, you heart pounding for love and the steamy sex scenes, and even you heart breaking. Where u ball your eyes out... its a awesome paranorrmal book that has a little bit of everything, this author is wonderful and makes u feel everything she wants you too. So if you r a reader likr me. than dont be dumb ad miss the chance to find this series. Cause you'll regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too short. Had potential story just didn't develop.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Emma. Dont post here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it., and plan to read the series.
thnkGd4coffee More than 1 year ago
This was one of my "likes". I am a fan of paranormal romance and this one was fun. It wasn't sappy and it had alot of intrigue. A good story line and support for what you are reading. It did not leave me wanting to put the book down but looking forward to the next in line for the series. One of the ratings complained that she just jumped right into the story and did not explain her new world before and they were confused. Well I caught on pretty quick and that was a good part of it that was fun. I read to dive into a new world not to experience the same thing that I deal with in real life. So I give this one a thumbs up!
MRPMN More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the characters and the story line - am glad I started this series for the summer. Just the right mix of private detective, danger, and a little suspense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story to slow. Couldnt grab my atention