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Review: Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison

Review: Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison
Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows #3
Published by Harper Voyager
Published on: January 1 2005
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 501
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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There's no witch in Cincinnati tougher, sexier, or more screwed up than bounty hunter Rachel Morgan, who's already put her love life and soul in dire jeopardy through her determined efforts to bring criminal night creatures to justice.

Between "runs," she has her hands full fending off the attentions of her blood-drinking partner, keeping a deadly secret from her backup, and resisting a hot new vamp suitor.

Rachel must also take a stand in the war that's raging in the city's underworld, since she helped put away its former vampire kingpin - and made a deal with a powerful demon to do so that could cost her an eternity of pain, torment, and degradation.

And now her dark "master" is coming to collect his due.

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You know how “they” say the things you hate in others are the things you like least about yourself?

When I was 21, after an extreme bout of poor decision-making, I decided to take a sabbatical from dating. In quick succession, I had dated a slightly-younger-than-me guy, a guy who was my age, and a more-than-slightly-older-than-me guy, and they were ALL great, big lamewads. 19 y.o. Mark, the 6’7” college basketball player and DRAMA QUEEN liked to wake up, drink milk, and then try to kiss me . . . I tried (really hard) to come up with a collection of letters that could accurately describe how completely disgusting that was, but failed utterly. Then there was 22 y.o. Ryan, who onlywantedonething. Then there was 29 y.o. Luke, who hated his job and was under-appreciated in his work. Even though he wasted MANY a morning shooting emails back and forth with me instead of, oh, I don’t know, WORKING.

I made it nearly a year, and it was fabulous. I would have made it longer, but I started working at the front desk of a local gym, and well . . . I’m only human. *wink*

Then right before I met my husband (who is, of course, perfect *snorts*), there was Ivan the hipster musician, who . . . played his own music in his car on our one and only date.

Oh yes. He did. Come on, guys—I can’t make stuff like this up.

All of them had great, big WARNING signs flashing over their heads, and I chose to ignore every, single one of them. Then when things didn’t work out, I (being the ridiculous female I was) wailed and lamented, “What’s wrong with me? How did I manage to scare him off this time? Oh, what a world!”

*rolls eyes*

At the time, it didn’t matter that these guys were all HEP-big losers . . . I liked them, damnit!

And all of that is why I (in equal parts) am completely exasperated with, love, and relate to Rachel Morgan.

Let’s talk about Rachel’s love interests thus far.

Fair warning—this is more of a commentary on Rachel’s love life so far than a review. But come on . . . it’s book 3. Either you’ve read it and know what I’m talking about, or, if this was a normal review, you’d be afraid I’d spoil you, so this is a new thing I’m trying. No spoilers this way, AND a chance to vent.

First up, we have Nick. Nick, whom she met in the ring of an illegal rat fight b/c he had been turned into . . . well, a rat . . . in retribution for his sticky fingers. And not just any old case of sticky fingers either, nope, Nick got sticky-fingered with the belongings of a MASTER friggin’ VAMPIRE.

So Nick has a loose moral code, AND is either too stupid to realize how stupid and dangerous it is to steal from a master vampire, or is so cocky he thought he could get away with it. Or both. Could definitely be both. But he did save Rachel’s life, and he’s awfully geek-sexy, and well, humans apparently have a bit more going on down there than male witches . . . He took a demon mark for her! Come on . . . doesn’t he deserve a chance?

NO. No, he does not.

Then there’s Kisten . . . ye gods . . . SO many road blocks that should never have been ignored.

All you lovers-of-Kisten, CALM DOWN. I love him too. As a character. But as a potential boyfriend for Rachel . . . well, let’s look at this rationally:

1. He’s a VAMPIRE. Rachel refuses to ever be food for a vampire. IT’S A PROBLEM. Even if you want to argue that Kisten is a living vampire, and therefore technically doesn’t need blood yet . . . YET. Kisten WILL die, and when that happens, Kisten will lose his SOUL, and he will NEED blood. Even if Rachel really does like Kisten-the-living-vampire, she will want absolutely nothing to do with Kisten-the-true-undead, and Rachel’s not interested in casual that I can tell.

This relationship was DOOMED before it even got started.

2. Their very first “date” was a SHAM. That Kist would blindside her that way does NOT bode well. And then she gets all goo goo-eyed b/c he saved her . . . *grinds teeth* . . . if he hadn’t asked her out under false pretenses, her life never would have been endangered in the first place<——ALL of that would be in caps if I wasn’t worried about annoying the hell out of you. But know that I am screaming in my head.

And Lee . . . Lee is more of a flirtation than a real romantic interest, but he is also a perfect example of Rachel’s stupidity with men. Almost immediately after she lays eyes on him for the first time, she sees that he has a DEMON MARK, but still, after he teaches her how to gamble, she’s disappointed that he leaves without asking her for her number.

I know I’m not the only one driven crazy by this kind of behavior, but I also know that I’m not the only one who feels this way due to flashbacks of “I am become that which I hate.”

But relationship choices aside, Every Which Way But Dead continued the steady improvement of the The Hollows. More action, more new characters to love, more to love about old characters . . . and all of that is in addition to yet another definitive and unique plot with side-plots weaving through all the while, paving the way for new adventures. Seriously people . . . come and watch Rachel grow and learn from her mistakes with me. This is not a series to be missed.

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.

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58 Comments

  1. I love these sorts of discussions. I see shades of me here. *sigh* But it is so frustrating to watch her.

    And you left out Ivy. Because that’s sort of another slant. And Rachel never wants to be a blood source for a vampire. She needs to remember that.

    • I can’t even talk about Ivy. And the big, stupid Ivy thing doesn’t happen until the next book, so I put it off, LOL. I hate the Ivy thing.<——drives me BATTY.

  2. Eewie, LOL, milk is not a good thing to wake up and kiss first thing! Coffee yes, not milk. Great discussion on Rachel, and I agree with northwoman that Ivy was always in the background too. Thanks Jessica 🙂

    • SO gross, LOL. And thanks! I agree with Anne too, but I try not to talk about the Ivy situation before I absolutely HAVE to. Plus, Rachel was never romantically interested in her. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it 😉

  3. LOL I just love your reviews Jessica, they are just so much fun to read! I never made it past book two in this series for whatever reason but you definitely have me wanting to pick them back up and dive in.

    • Thank you, LOL. If you can make it past book 4, you’ll be golden. After that there is an exponential decrease in Rachel’s ridiculousness 😉

  4. You know what? I think we’re attracted to weird people a lot of the time because we’re SO into interesting things, people and books alike. Don’t ya think? I mean, the very interesting can easily turn out to be…well, big warning signs should be attached, lol, let’s leave at that. I know for sure I should come with at least a dozen warning signs… 😀

    Also, *screams* Now I’m 2 novels behind!!! Noooooo!!!!
    *runs away covered in shame*

    • Oh no!! Well, you’re in luck b/c I’m pretty sure that next week is an off-week, so you can catch-up . . . *glares menacingly*

      *snorts* I kid! You can read them when you feel like reading them. I was two books behind a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m two books ahead. And yeah . . . I definitely should have come with multiple warning labels, LOL.

      • Haha, maybe I’ll sprint through 3 of them and be ahead too 😀 Rainy weekend, so odds are I’ll take advantage of that 😀

      • Then you’ll be ahead of me, LOL. I have to take an arc break 🙁

  5. I’m paying close attention to all your reviews of this series, I’m hoping to make my decision to continue the series real soon 😉
    Thank you Jessica!

    • You’re welcome! I hope you decide to dive back in—this is a really great series 😉

  6. lol! Love this non-review-love-life-post. I haven’t read this series, I need to go check book one first. Merci! 😉

    • Thank you! And yes, the is for sure a series that needs to be read in order. I hope you decide to give it a shot.

  7. It’s been a long time and the books blur together a bit, but yes, she’s not the best at choosing men. Though I do/did LOVE Kisten. I KNOW he’s not right for her, but STILL. Love him. (Big sigh and a few tears here- you know why.) I’m kind of craving some Rachel time now, maybe it’s time to pull out whichever book I’m on now…

    • Might be . . . 😉 And I DO know. I loved him too *sniffles* But that being said, I was ALWAYS Team Trent. #sorryimnotsorry

  8. *haha* This was an excellent way to ‘review’ EWWBD, Jessica. And yes, I bet we ALL can relate to having become that which we hate. 🙂 Rachel definitely should have seen the red flags in regards to each of these guys, but hindsight and all that. wanted to strangle Nick…seriously. Yes, he saved Rachel and yes he took a demon mark for her, BUT… I am a Kist lover, I admit. But you’re right, that was doomed from the beginning. And I don’t even know what to say about Lee.

    One thing I love most about a series is watching characters grow. And I’ve so enjoyed getting to watch Rachel grow over the course of this series.

    • I really think that’s what is so redeeming about the series. Yes, Rachel absolutely does really stupid things (with startling frequency), but she LEARNS from her mistakes. She really is a work in progress, and I love her for it. Like a family member, LOL.

      And I’ll hold Nick down, and you can go at him with a blunt instrument. Then we can switch. And Kist . . . you know, Harrison has said in interviews that she didn’t know who Rachel was going to end up with, but I wonder if that’s true, b/c she does an excellent job of giving us options we tolerate b/c they have just enough good qualities that they could be salvaged, stringing us along, you know? Hmm . . .

  9. Okay, I admit to not reading the entirety of the second half of your review, becaus eI plan to read this series next month when I have more breathing room to read stuff outside ARCs, but I loved reading about the first part! Gosh, that musician thingy cracked me the frack up XDDDD You can’t make up shit like that even on your best day 😀 I’m so happy that you found the right person for you 🙂 I hope the person I’m dating right now is the right person for me, too. I hope. *cross fingers*

    Can’t wait to meet Rachel <3 <3 4 stars is indeed highly promising.

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • Oh, I hope so too, Faye!! *crosses fingers TOO* And RIGHT?! I mean, I got in the guy’s car, and his own music was playing. Not even, “hey, check this out,” and then plays his stuff (which would still have been obnoxious, but not AS bad). I really think the guy drove around listening to himself, LOL. Gah.

      I can’t wait for you to meet Rachel either. Just remember to be patient in the beginning 😉

  10. Lol I love the stories you include with your reviews!! I really cannot wait to give this series a shot 🙂 Rachel & the guys sound awesome. Great post & review!

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

    • Thanks, Chanzies! They are awesome—I hope you do give them a shot some time 😉

  11. Aw man too many love interests! Great review though, cracked me up. I like this storytelling style.
    I wonder if I’ll like this more than the second book. I’ll have to give it a try someday.

    • I hope you do. Rachel get progressively better a life choices, but it’s really around book 5 that I stop banging my head against a wall. That sounds really terrible, LOL, but it’s not that bad. The rest of the story and the other characters mostly make-up for Rachel’s lapses in judgement.

  12. Great review Jessica, and I totally agree with you. Rachel has the worst taste in men. But you just wait, there will be more …

  13. I hate to break it to you but Rachel’s train wreck relationships continue for a long while yet. At least she finally learns and gets it right by book freakin twelve 🙂

    • True story. With all the weird that went on in book 12, that was the one part that FINALLY went the way I’ve been waiting for it to.

  14. Still going strong, cool

  15. You totally made my day with this review Jessica!!! Dear lord, but Rachel’s love life is SUCH a hot mess! I’ve always adored Kisten…even when I knew he wouldn’t be THE one…he’s been one of my favorite characters and love and miss him so much!!! It’s taken me a long time to warm up to Trent, but somehow he’s wormed his way into my heart too…damn cookie maker 🙂

    • I think the phrase “hot mess” may have been coined for Rachel. And I know, I loved him too, but I ALWAYS knew that he wasn’t the one for her (and I always hoped that Trent was). REALLY. I’m totally not making that up. LOVE him. Why do you think Pale Demon is my favorite book in the series. I read THAT chapter over and over again, LOL. Love him almost as much as I love Curran and Clay Danvers.

  16. I love that you’re zooming through these. Haha – omg, yeah, I think we’ve all had those cringe worthy relationships. The hipster one is really funny though.

    • LOL. He was really something else, that guy. It took all of my self-restraint to not ask him if he would wear his own tee shirts to his performances . . .

  17. lol…Oh yes…I’ve had my share of losers before I did the same thing you do and took a break. I think I had to clear out my bad karma or something. Which actually worked since I landed my hubby not long after my sabbatical ended.

    Poor Rachel. I’ve rooted for her and the cookie maker from the beginning…even when he was a complete ass. 😉

    • Me too, me too!!! Team Trent UNITES!!

      And I didn’t think it would be, but really . . . the dating sabbatical was friggin’ great. Life was so much less stressful. And even though I was open to dating by the time I met my husband, I still wasn’t stressed out about it. The whole experience was . . . very mellowing 😉

  18. Woot, you’re definitely working your way through this series with your reviews. With every single one, I feel more and more regret that I didn’t pick this one up years ago when I had the chance. But keep ’em coming! 😀

  19. This is my summer series read 🙂 I will be reading them for the first time! The first one was enough to hook me!

  20. Love this series but yeah her love life is crazy haha. Glad to see you’re going through the series (again?) 🙂

    • Yes, AGAIN 😉 I’m rereading b/c it’s been years, and I just want to go through the series again before it’s OVER.

  21. Wow you are power reading these. I envy you. I cannot read series books back to back or I rush them and burn out.

  22. LOL I love this post! Rachel is the most infuriating character for me and it’s because -yeah- I totally see her making my mistakes. I went the nerdy route – which had all the warning flags that he was gay (and turned out to be) but he was so hot and smart at the same time. How’s a girl to resist? I went the forbidden route – way way older than me, recently divorced, lots of money but doesn’t want a single thing in life that I want. But he spoiled me and was gorgeous. So yeah – I get her and cringe every time I see her ignoring the warning signs. Love this series and cannot wait for the final one in september (though I’m so sad it’ll be over too)

    • YES. To ALL of it. Seriously, I love Rachel, and she’s one of my favorite MCs, but she drives me crazy b/c I SEE MYSELF. And I don’t even like thinking about the last book. I still haven’t completely adjusted to it coming out in September instead of in February, giving me that much less time to acclimate to the end.

  23. Does Rachel seem to have a different relationship in each book? her love life sounds messy.. I’m closely following your reviews of this series so I know whether to get started on them or not.

    A great review Jessica.

    • Thanks, Sharon! No, she doesn’t have a relationship in every book. That’s part of the fun, I think. She does have the occasional boyfriend who lasts for a couple of books, but there are always issues, so you aren’t surprised when it doesn’t work out. In a lot of books she’s single, and free to flirt (<——the fun part). But there's a constant tension with The One that continues to build over the course of the series, and I absolutely love it.

  24. When you say Nick’s name I want to punch something. I HATE him. Then you say Kisten’s name and I want to cry!!!!!!

    • LOL. I didn’t intentionally throw you on an emotional roller coaster, I promise. But I’m with you. I thumbed my nose, and did a happy dance when Rachel outsmarted him in book 4, and Kist . . . have you read book 12? Did you have the near heart-attack that I had?!

  25. Hahaha this was so entertaining, I loved all of your commentary at the start Jessica! Very hilarious! Don’t shoot me but you missed out Ivy in the love interests 😉

    • Yeah, I didn’t count Ivy b/c 1. that situation drives me nuts, so if I don’t have to talk about it, I don’t want to, and 2. it was one-sided. I actually had to rewrite this review after I decided that “poor life choices” was too broad a topic for Rachel, and I’d never be able to cover everything. So I went with poor dating choices instead, LOL.

  26. Jessica, I just love this! Fabulous way to discuss a series without giving anything away! This series is on my wish list, so hopefully I’ll get to them soon. Oh, and I have a horror dating story about a Mark, too! YIKES! We’ll have to swap Mark stories one day. LOL

    • Yay! I hope you can fit it in sometime—I really think it’s worth it. And yes, LOL. I have SO many stories about NOT my Mark . . . I wonder how your compare 😉

  27. Hated Nick, don’t remember Lee, and loved Kisten for Kisten sake. 🙂 But my absolute favorite non-boyfriend is Al. Sorry, I’d snatch him like a hot cake but I haven’t read the last three(?) books, so I don’t know what’s happening…

    • My favorite non-boyfriend is Al too, LOL. My sister is actually in love with him, and routing for he and Rachel to live HEA, but I’ve always been Team Trent. I always love the ruthless types 😉

  28. i will eventually have enough time to give Rachel another try x.x