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on 6 August 2004
Like the previous reviewer I found this book hard work to begin with. I had to really struggle to stay interested and didn't find the characters easy to get attached to initially. However, this did improve as I got further into the story and I will buy the next book in the series when it becomes available. I think part of the trouble was the sheer volume of information you have to absorb to get a 'feel' for this magical world and it's inhabitants and this slows down the story. Rachel Morgan is a witch who has been working as a'runner' for Inderland Security bringing in supernatural miscreants and not making a very good job of it lately. She decides to go it alone, which should have been simple but turned out to be downright dangerous and she spends most of the book fighting for her life and in the process finding out who her real friends are. I loved her pixy sidekick, Jenks and his vast family. Ivy the vamp is just plain scary not to mention hard work but I think there's more to Ivy than meets the eye. Nick the human (?) seems like a nice guy and Rachel is certainly taken with him but again there are secrets to unfold. And what about the magical old guy who lives across the road from Rachel - did I mention she lives in an old church - with Ivy - and the Jenks clan - nice touch! Add to this mix a bad guy who is really bad not to mention spooky, an ex-boss who's really got it coming (hopefully) and the odd demon and you have all the ingredients of a good new series. If you like Jim Butcher you will like this, it took me a while to get into the Harry Dresden stories although I loved Harry as a character from the start but I'm now a fan and I think this series is going to be the same. Give it a try!
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on 24 July 2011
So, I bought this book because I really wanted a lengthy series to get my teeth into, and after many many books that cost a fiver and were finished in a day, I looked forward to something a bit more substantial!

After about 10 pages, I was hooked!

I won't go on and on about the plot or give away any spoilers:-
Rachel, a witch working for Inderland Security, quits her job after being down-trodden for the last time to start her own business. After quitting her job (and noone in their right mind quits Inderland Security), she becomes a "Dead Witch Walking". The only way she can stop death threats and the like from her former employer is to try to expose a prominent drug lord to appease them, all whilst making powerful allies, and enemies along the way.

Rachel is funny, brave, a bit sassy and addictive. I love her attitude, sarcasm, I just find her so amusing. Of her friends, I fell in love with Jenks, and you can feel the tension leaking off the page during any encounter with Ivy.

I highly reccommend this book to anyone who loves a long story, where the plots twists, bends back on itself and bites you on the bum! I read them all on kindle, then ended up buying them all in paperback too! It's just brilliant, and I guarantee that you're going to need at least the first 3, because as soon as you finish the first, you'll be staring at your letterbox waiting for the next to arrive!
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on 3 July 2004
Some one described this book as Stefanie Plum meets Buffy and so liking both I thought I would give it a try.
It has new ideas about vampires/witches/fairies/demons etc and is set in a world that explains how they and humans are co-existing.
It is not too dark and has a good sense of humour that does not spoil the seriousness of the plot.
My favourite bit is when she is reading a book on the bus and everyone looks over her shoulder and tells her their favourtie bits.
The ending does have a nice twist and I am looking forward to the next book.
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It's wonderful when you find a first in a series which is this well thought out, well written and so much fun to read. It means there's plenty more good things on the way!

The werewolf/vampire/supernatural novel business is obviously booming, but I have found some other series which are simply poor excuses for soft porn, and yet others which are blood-and-guts shockohorror.

Dead Witch is way better than these. It's not X-rated (although there's an entertaining sensuous undercurrent which keeps the characters on their toes), and it's not full of gratuitous sadistic violence (although there is threat and there is justifiable action and there's plenty of risk and thrills). It's very well balanced, in fact.

The imaginary universe hangs together too; Kim Harrison provides a believable set up to explain how pixies and vampires and fairies and warlocks can be rubbing shoulders with normal humans. The heroine is the right mix of feisty and fragile -- she can kick ass but she's also vulnerable to the bad guys. And her supporting cast look great. We get to meet them in this novel but plenty in their past remains undiscovered, so there's lots of intrigue for future episodes.

And I'm really looking foward to them -- I've ordered the next four and will probably read them back-to-back. It all looks good so far; white witch shares an old church with a vampish (mainly good but who knows) vampire, a pixy sidekick and a human dabbler who might be more than he seems -- with a resident bad guy lurking and tonnes of scope for great adventurers.

The only niggles are that the first part of the novel takes a while to settle down, and you might consider not finishing the first couple of chapters which are mainly about establishing the characters. Hang in there -- the action really speeds up and the plot cracks on from a quarter-through to the final page. It might have been better to hold back some of the four central characters until the second book in the series, to avoid this problem, but it really doesn't spoil the overall adventure.

There are also some weird typos which can be distracting ('were' for 'where'), but that's nit-picking in the extreme!

So the scenario is all set up for book two, and I'm gungho to get reading it. I do recommend starting with Dead Witch, cos although I'm sure there will be some explanation, there is a lot of back story in this novel and the actions of the characters will make more sense if you know what happened here.
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on 16 June 2010
Kim Harrison introduces us to the world of the Hollows, a district close to Cincinnati that contains witches, weres, pixys and vampires - all those creatures that humans never realised existed until the Turn. Harrison introduces an intriguing idea to underpin the reason for these supernatural creatures being amongst human beings - in her world, bio engineering went wrong and a mutated virus swept the earth, killing a quarter of humanity. The Inderlanders (all of those supernatural people) had a natural resistance to this virus, and so found themselves able to reveal their presence to human beings. This was with the exception of elves, who, according to records, died out entirely - probably thanks to interbreeding with humans.

This particular story centres around Rachel Morgan, a runner for the IS who finds herself given more and more pathetic targets to bring in. Soon enough she snaps and decides to leave the IS and branch out on her own. Leaving the IS has huge repercussions, including a death threat (hence the title 'Dead Witch Walking') and taking with her the slinky vamp Ivy and naughty pixy Jenks.

Harrison suffers from the usual problem of a first novel in a recurring series - she has a number of characters to introduce and some info dumping to perform. This creates an issue of pacing - the first hundred or so pages are a little bit of a struggle as we get to know Rachel and the world she lives in, while the rest of the book flies past once the true plot kicks in. I also found that Harrison belaboured the point a little concerning Ivy and her state of control regarding taking blood from humans.

However, most of the novel is an absolute delight! Jenks and the rest of his family are mischievous, fun, warm and witty. I absolutely love when Rachel finds herself the same size as Jenks and notices just what a hot guy he is! Another lovely theme was the book that Ivy lends Rachel about how to attract vampire lovers - so that she can avoid doing the many things that are causing Ivy to misread her intentions.

The novel has a number of laugh-out-loud moments, but there is also a warm heart to the book. The characters are people you end up caring a great deal about, and you definitely want to know more about them. I will be picking up the rest of this series!
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on 29 June 2004
I found this book recommended on Kelley Armstrongs site. So yes, if you like her and Laurell K hamilton and Jim Butcher, you will like this book. Some really interesting new characters, Ivy (vampire but not dead) and Jenks (henpecked pixy with a large brood of kids)and of course Rachel Morgan, the witch in the title. The plot is fast paced and has some good twists and turns. There's also some teasers for the next book, just enough to intrigue but not frustrat. If you like the authors above then buy this book, you wont be disappointed. Also there's and interesting take on tomatoes.
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on 27 June 2004
Rachel Morgan is a runner for Inderland Security - a company which keeps the many weird and wonderful creatures in Cincinnatti in check. She is also a witch. This tells Rachel's tale as she sets out in business for herself albeit with a rather large bounty on her head.
This is a good read, although I found it a little difficult to get into at first. The writing is good and has amusing ideas which regular fantasy authors don't touch on as much e.g. fairy assassins and potions that can turn witches into minks. I have not quite finished it yet (although I only picked it up last night)but I am certain that at the pace it is going, things can only get better. I have already pre-ordered the next book!
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on 5 August 2012
Urban fantasy is a genre I like but how many times have I picked up a so called gritty urban fantasy novel only to find it is a paranormal romance in disguise. Not this time.

Reading this book was an eye opener and has raised the bar for me for all urban fantasy books. This is what urban fantasy should be. I'm so happy to find one with a gripping plot, flawed characters and a complex and layered world instead of yet another romance masquerading as urban fantasy.

Rachel Morgan is an appealing and sympathetic protagonist for a long series. In the first book she is smart but not wise, an idealist and her morals are very black and white compared to everyone else in the book. It is obvious this is a character that will be going through a lot of character development through the series and that is exciting to me. The rest of the cast are so well developed that even if they are in just a few scenes they stick very easily into your conscious. It is a book full of ambitious, cunning, bloodthirsty plotters and I love it because like all good stories we are constantly trying to figure out the motives of everyone just like Rachel is.

The writing is sharp and clear which makes the thrilling elements of the book very effective. There is a lot of humour and snarky dialogue in the book which works very well as the protagonist has a likable voice.

Some of the writing is a bit strained in the action scenes or when Rachel is bringing someone in as if the author is writing her this way because she thinks an urban fantasy heroine is supposed to sound streetwise but it feels a little forced.

Overall this is a engaging debut and the start of a brilliant urban fantasy series.

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on 15 January 2012
Rachel Morgan works in law enforcement, she loves what she does but the job itself has lost its appeal. When she leaves a price is put on her head and Rachel must survive assassination attempts, manipulation by a city power, and her vampire room-mate. without wanting to give too much away this is the first in a series that has remained strong over its current total of nine books (at the time of writing)due mainly to the detailed characterisation, description and humor. Kim Harrison has created a richly detailed world with enough parallels to ours to make it recognisable, and enough differences to keep the reader guessing.

I admit the first time I read this (back in June 2005) I was less than impressed, I had purchased it after reading Kelly Armstrong's early novels and was I think disappointed by the lack of werewolves! Luckily I gave it another chance and I have read it a number of times along with the following books in the series. I highly recommend reading the series in order not only for the character development but for the tightly plotted story lines, there are hints and suggestion in early books which are resolved later that really made me admire how Kim Harrison planned her work with such care and detail. Her website is well worth a look along with her blog for teasers about her upcoming work.

If I haven't convinced you there are plenty of other positive reviews out there, and while this book is often found in the Paranormal Romance section of bookstores I prefer to label it Urban Fantasy. there is an element of romance in the series as a whole, but far less so in this initial outing, and for me the standout point of these stories is that there is a really good plot that sweeps you up in Rachel's life the world of the Hollows and everything that comes with it.
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VINE VOICEon 4 October 2009
Rachel Morgan lives in a world populated by vampires, witches, werewolves, pixies, demons, and fairies. Forty years ago the supernatural creatures were exposed after a genetically engineered virus, hiding in an innocent tomato, killed half the world's population of humans. Now they exist in an often uneasy truce. Rachel, a witch, is a runner with the Inderland Runner Services, policing supernatural crime throughout Cincinnati. Unfortunately, the calibre of Rachel's assignments has vastly decreased recently, and she is fed up. She decides to break her contract with the I.S. and start her own runner agency, scoffing at the rumors of consequences. That's until she discovers that she has been marked for death and she must find a way to save herself before it's too late.

In case you haven't noticed by the reviews which are popping up around here, the end of my dissertation was accompanied by some serious light reading. Urban fantasy is an awesome variant, and this book in particular was a pleasant surprise.

First of all, it's fairly long and it has an excellent plot, at least I thought so. Once Rachel quits the I.S., it gets going and I really wanted to find out what would happen next. Since she's in constant danger of her life, she's often on the run and dealing with difficult situations. She only makes things worse for herself later on by entangling herself in another dangerous plot. It's a little zany, but it works!

Rachel herself is a character I liked almost immediately. She's stubborn and doesn't back down, even when she should, but I felt her reasoning was good and her fears were very human. The secondary characters were also fairly well-rounded. Ivy is a dangerous vampire but with a strangely compassionate side. We never really figure out why she's so interested in Rachel and determined to back her up, but that must be a story for one of the next installments. Jenks the pixie is a hilarious sidekick and adds just that much more to the book. The third character, who pops up around the middle, is also a welcome addition to this series.

It was also refreshing to find that there isn't much romance in this installment. I can feel it coming, but I'm getting a little tired of romance at the moment and I'm looking for something else in my fantasy. This book fit the bill perfectly.

If you like urban fantasy, Dead Witch Walking would be a great addition to your library. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
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