I sped from The Good, the Bad and the Undead (which I thoroughly enjoyed) straight into Every Which Way But Dead, and was a little disappointed. I genuinely loved the second book in the Hollows series — it had a tight plot, a spicing of sex, plenty of danger, and I just could not stop turning pages.
Every Which Way But Dead was a little different. Many of the good qualities of the second book remained. I loved the characters (including a few new characters such as Ceri and David the Were), the action was gripping, and I loved learning more about the history of Harrison’s alternate reality. We also finally learn about Trent’s links to Rachel’s family and some of the reasons why she is so important to the demon Big Al.
We are plunged straight into the action here, when Big Al comes to make good on Rachel’s agreement of becoming his familiar in exchange for his testimony in the trial of Piscary. The events take place over the course of about a week, and the encounters never let up. I have the same issue with pacing though as I did with the first book, Dead Witch Walking: at times Rachel is catapulted into each new incident with breathless intensity, while at other times we have some very random incidences, such as the meeting between Rachel and Takata early on (which, ultimately, doesn’t add anything to the story) and the introduction to Erica, Ivy’s younger sister. I sometimes got the feeling that Harrison jotted down some ideas which she was determined to shoehorn into the story no matter how tacked on they felt. All I can say here is “vampire line-dancing”… I also missed Jenks. He leaves the story part way through and his absence leaves a big hole. This mouthy pixy is an integral part of the success of the first two books, I think, and I cannot wait to get him back!
All in all, there were some wonderful moments and some very strong parts of the book — Kisten was a highlight, as were Rachel’s encounters with Algaliarept. I also enjoyed the overall theme of the book — that of Rachel stretching her comfort zone and “being lured into places that I once vowed I’d never go.” By the end of the story she has worked for Trent, used leyline magic, and dated a vampire. Rachel is continually growing and changing as a character and, even though this novel missed in a few places, I still very much want to go on the journey with her.
Rachel Morgan (The Hollows) — (2004-2017) The Outlaw Demon Wails has also been published as Where Demons Dare. Publisher: 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.