Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison [Review]

Dead Witch Walking is an urban fantasy novel, written by Kim Harrison. This novel was published on July 1, 2004 by HarperTorch. It is the first book in The Hollows series.



Dead Witch WalkingAll the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party… and to feed.

Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining – and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized.

A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead… or undead.



  • Tense: Past
  • Point of View: First Person
  • Sexual Content: none
  • Setting: Cincinnati
  • Pet Peeves: none (that I remember)



I have read Dead Witch Walking multiple times. The Hollows is one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series. I would read it over and over. This review was written several years ago, posted on our old blog Books That Hook. I have improved it some for this new site.

Quick Review: Action-packed, great characters, and excellent worldbuilding

About the Story

Dead Witch Walking gets to the point quickly. Rachel leaves her job. She decides to strike out on her own and start her own bounty hunting service. She enlists the help of her old co-worker and friend, Ivy, who is a vampire. When also quits, it makes Rachel even more of an enemy to the government agency she used to work for, because Ivy was one of their top “runners.”

Throughout the book, the pacing is consistent. It doesn’t lag. By the end of the book, most questions have been resolved. It doesn’t leave you hanging on anything major, yet there’s still mystery surrounding Trent, Ivy, and the demon. What is Trent? What does Ivy want from Rachel? There’s also the issue of Rachel’s demon mark. What will the demon ask from Rachel? Who summoned the demon to attack Rachel and Trent? These questions are enough to keep you interested in the series, but not so major as to make the reader unsatisfied with the resolution of the book.

About the Characters

One of the things I like the most about The Hollows series is that Rachel is an atypical heroine. She’s practically flat-chested; her hair is wild; she doesn’t always use good judgment. I enjoy watching Rachel make bad decisions and then fix the situations the best she can.

I also like the colorful cast of characters. In Dead Witch Walking, we meet Jenks (a pixie), Ivy (a non-practicing living vampire), Trent (a villainous something that nobody can figure out), Francis (a Don Johnson wanna-be and witch), Nick (a human thief), and many more great characters. I liked how Jenks gets drunk on honey, and how his wife keeps him in line (most of the time).

About the Writing

There were a couple of things I never fully understood. One is where the term Inderlander comes from. I understand that it refers to the non-humans, but I don’t understand why they are called that specific word. I also didn’t understand fully why Rachel calls Nick an Inderlander, considering he’s a human. Another thing that had me scratching my head is why Rachel never bothered to look up the title that others referred to Trent by. Surely the title would give an indication of his nature and origin.

One scene in the book threw me off a little to where I had to go back and re-read. In the previous scene, Jenks, Ivy, and Rachel are in a coffee house. In the next scene, Rachel is hung over from drinking at a bar. When did they go to a bar? I guess that part was skipped over. I would have preferred a transition from one scene to the next that at least mentioned them going out and partying after the coffee house.

Despite these few things that I didn’t understand, I love this book. The author could have spent more time filling in the gaps, but as a whole the book is written very well.

About the Worldbuilding and/or Setting

Another great thing about this book (and the rest of the series) is the world building. It seems like Kim Harrison worked out every little detail of how this world operates.

It’s also a different take on vampires and witches, which was a big change at the time this was written.

I feel like so many authors have (either intentionally or unintentionally) copied parts of The Hollows world since Kim Harrison started this series. It kind of set the mark for urban fantasy novels with female heroines, and a lot of the same elements have been replayed repeatedly since then. So, if you want to go back to the beginning, Dead Witch Walking, is one of the few books I feel influenced the genre and its popularity.

Do I Recommend?

If you haven’t read Dead Witch Walking yet, and you like books about witches, demons, vampires, etc., you should pick this up right away. I love it. Although Rachel might get on your nerves–she tends to complain, act rashly, and make assumptions, it’s worth it for the wild ride into this original supernatural world.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars (A)


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About Jen Schaper

In addition to being a book blogger, I am a mother of three children, a retail backroom coordinator, and a wannabe writer (when I make time to do it).
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