“How many mistakes can one life survive?”
Rachel Morgan has succeeded in getting master vampire Piscary put in prison for five centuries for murder, but her troubles have only just begun. With Piscary behind bars, her deal with Algaliarept has become enforceable, and she must follow through on her promise to become his familiar. Piscary’s absence also forces Ivy and Kisten into a difficult position, as Ivy continues resist fulfilling her duties as his scion, and Kisten continues to pretend Ivy hasn’t ousted him. Piscary’s imprisonment also offers the perfect opportunity for a new player to gain a foothold in Cincinnati’s supernatural underworld, challenging Piscary’s interests, and horning in on Trent Kalamack’s business as well. Rachel is no fan of either Piscary or Kalamack, but Saladan’s aggressive incursions are costing lives, and Rachel isn’t one to stand idly by when she could help.
The plot of Every Which Way But Dead is diffuse, as Kim Harrison follows up a number of threads left over from previous books, such as Rachel’s deal with Algaliarept, and the fallout of her battle with Piscary. Harrison doesn’t go in for overly neat endings, and events from one book tend to have real repercussions and carryover to the next. The desire to follow up these threads has kept me reading, even as I’ve struggled to get past the numerous spelling and grammar errors that plague this series.
With such a diffuse plot, much of the book is focused on character development. Surprisingly, Ivy’s decision in The Good, the Bad, and the Undead to become a practicing vampire again actually marks an improvement in her relationship with Rachel. Because she is sating her blood lust elsewhere, she has a much easier time resisting Rachel. This means that their scenes together can focus on more substantial interactions, rather than every conversation devolving into Ivy vamping out. Trent Kalamack is another character who continues to receive significant development. Although he seemed like a bad guy at the beginning of the series, each new reveal moves his character further into a gray area. It seems likely that eventually he and Rachel will be willing allies, and he may even develop into a love interest at some point. For those who like some romance in their urban fantasy, Rachel’s love life becomes significantly more complicated in this installment, and Harrison has also ramped up the sex a bit.
The Hollows series continues to suffer from spelling and grammar mistakes, and continuity errors, and dialogue is not Harrison’s strong suit. These books are fun reads for fast-paced action and a bit of humour, but still leave much to be desired. I will probably continue to pick them up as vacation reading, or as an interlude between heavier fare, but three books in, the Hollows series has serious weaknesses that don’t seem to be going away any time soon.