Book Review: Kim Harrison’s The Good, the Bad, and the Undead

Posted August 28, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Kim Harrison’s The Good, the Bad, and the Undead

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead


Kim Harrison

It is part of the The Hollows #2 series and is a paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy that was published by HarperTorch on January 25, 2005 and has 453 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Dates from Hell, Pale Demon, Unbound, Something Deadly This Way Comes, Every Which Way But Dead, A Fistful of Charms, For a Few Demons More, The Outlaw Demon Wails, White Witch, Black Curse, Black Magic Sanction, A Perfect Blood, "Pet Shop Boys", "Trouble on Reserve", Into the Woods, Holidays are Hell, Ever After, The Drafter, "Waylaid", The Operator, The Turn: The Hollows Begins with Death

Second in The Hollows urban fantasy series focused on Rachel Morgan and her partners, Ivy Tamwood, a living vampire, and Jenks, a sword-carrying pixie, in an alternate Cincinnati.

My Take

One of the things I so enjoy about The Hollows is that the action never stops. Never. Harrison keeps so much going on at all times between the action, the relationships, and the cultures she has created. Each character is complex, and many times, contradictory. Top-notch with great detailing and characters.

Kist and Quen both act against their employers. Piscary is both overt and underhanded. Surprisingly, the only “person” who is straight up is the demon, Algaliarept. Even Ivy, it turns out, has been rather underhanded with both Piscary and Rachel.

Then the bad guys get just a little too cocky…with a little help, surprisingly, from Algaliarept, and Rachel solves the mystery enabling the FIB to arrest the guilty party. There is a cost involved, but it is one that enables Rachel to save herself.

One bright note: Rachel discovers what Trent and his cohorts are, which gives her quite a bit of power over Kalamack.

It’s a tidy little ending with Rachel getting her own back on a recalcitrant client and riding off into the sunset with a hot, red convertible.

The Story

It’s a bounty hunt when Rachel and Jenks “retrieve” the Howlers’ fish mascot from Mr. Ray of a rival Were pack. A retrieval that ends in Rachel and Jenks’ rescue when Captain Edden needs Rachel’s insight as a witch when someone starts killing leyline witches.

It’s undercover for Rachel, as Edden insists she register for a class taught by the person he suspects is the murderer. A class which leads to all sorts of complications for everyone.

Of course, Rachel makes an unexpected — for everyone else — connection between Trent Kalamack and the victims with Rachel wild to pin it on Trent. Another connection involving Trent, and she becomes even more passionate to take Trent down.

Until Rachel’s personal life gets in the way when Piscary makes some dire demands — and Nick has been getting into some serious trouble.

The Characters

Rachel Morgan is a witch with a propensity for trouble while Ivy Tamwood was a rising star at the Inderland Bureau. Jenks, a pixy assigned as Rachel’s partner, also chose to go with Rachel instead of staying with the Bureau. The three of them now live in an old church with a lovely graveyard and garden brimming with the herbs Rachel uses in her witchcraft.

Nick is a rat, oops, I meant human, Rachel met in the fighting rings in Dead Witch Walking, 1, and the two of them hit it off.

The Federal Inderland Bureau (FIB)…
…is human law enforcement that replaces “local and federal authorities after the Turn” in an attempt to prevent Inderlanders from entering law enforcement — they handle non-supernatural matters. Rachel first worked with Captain Edden of the FIB in Dead Witch Walking. Detective Glenn is Edden’s son and very allergic to pixie dust.

The Inderland Services (I.S.) handles…
…all law enforcement for supernaturals — and provides jobs for those Inderlanders out of work due to human fears of the supernats. Naturally, each service is as cooperative with each other as our own local and federal authorities.

Trenton Kalamack is the richest “man” in Cincinnati and has a real hard on for enticing Rachel into working for him. There’s a bit of a mystery about him and his two “henchmen”, Quentin and Jonathon, as to their actual species. They’re not human but, they’re not witches either… Sarah Jane Gradenko is Trent Kalamack’s secretary, and she’s lost her boyfriend.

Mr. Ray is a Were alpha and runs a limousine service, which does well enough that he owns the Howlers, a Cincinnati baseball team. Dr. Anders is a witch professor who hates Rachel.

Piscary is one scary master vampire. Kist is one of his living vampires.

Algaliarept is a demon who wants to acquire Rachel.

The Cover and Title

The cover is definitely a sexy, low-cut, minimal, minidress on Rachel with her fishnet stocking-clad legs in heels as she faces away from us inside a pentagram, a smoky candle lit in the foreground. Harrison’s titles crack me up and it certainly shows in her writing.

The title, The Good, the Bad, and the Undead, is such a mish-mash description of the main characters as all of them are good and bad with the undead mixed in amongst.