Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Dead Witch WalkingSynopsis                        

Rachel Morgan is a white witch and runner working for Inderland Security, in an alternate world where a bioengineered virus wiped out a great deal of the world’s human population – exposing the existence of the supernatural communities that had long lived alongside humanity.

For the last five years Rachel has been tracking down law-breaking Inderlanders in modern-day Cincinnati, but now she wants to leave and start her own agency. Her only problem is that no one quits the I.S.

Marked for death, Rachel will have to fend off fairy assassins and homicidal weres armed with an assortment of nasty curses. She’s a dead witch walking unless she can appease her former employers by exposing the city’s most prominent citizen as a drug lord. But making an enemy of the ambiguous Trent Kalamack is just as deadly as leaving the I.S.


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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