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The Good, The Bad, And The Undead    by Kim Harrison order for
Good, The Bad, And The Undead
by Kim Harrison
Order:  USA  Can
HarperTorch, 2005 (2005)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Kim Harrison again presents adventuresome witch Rachel Morgan in an alternate world, in a series that began with Dead Witch Walking (which I encourage you to read first). A virus from a strain of tomatoes brought about 'The Turn', and when it had run its course, half the world became human, and the other half witches, vamps, fairies, pixies, trolls, weres, and other paranormal creatures. They live in harmony (more or less), a different slant from the usual on good versus evil.

After quitting her job with the Inderlander law force for non-humans, Rachel opened her own freelance investigation agency, the Vampire Charms. Vamp Rachel is a runner, a bounty hunter who chases criminal creatures of the night in Cincinnati, Ohio and the district of the Hollows. Mystery and suspense mount when Rachel is hired by the Federal Inderland Bureau (law force enforcement for humans) to track down a serial killer of ley line witches (Rachel is also on the killer's list). Rachel is convinced that her nemesis, City Councilman Trent Kalamack is the perpetrator. But, the FIB lean towards a suspect at the local University, Professor Anders. Under the guise of a student, Rachel attends Anders' class. Rachel's human boyfriend Nick has also been harboring his own secret - he practiced conjuring a demon, and was successful. Rachel learns that she has more powers than once thought, specifically, ley line magic, which opens up a new can of trouble for the heroine. And her incantations to make a familiar go awry.

Though this episode's plot is solid, it gets lost in repetitious phrasing, including the oft-mentioned tingle Rachel gets from the vamp mark on her neck. The story is also hampered by trivial descriptions that have nothing to do with the plot, and heavy on techniques for witch spells. It often seemed that I was reading a life profile of Rachel, her friends, and family, instead of a paranormal mystery. However, I enjoy Harrison's knack for phrasing, as when pixy 'Jenks takes a Peter Pan pose atop the pepper shaker'. If you haven't been drawn to the paranormal genre, I recommend Kim Harrison's stories for their sharp wit, vivid imagination, humor, action, originality, and at times, gruesome details.

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