Set in Cincinnati, Dead Witch Walking creates an interesting alternative reality which is quite different from what we see in many other fantasy books. Whenever a book mixes witches and vampires together, like Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, for example, it always seems as though vampires are more important. They take over all the action and witches are given a secondary role. However, Kim Harrison's witch, Rachel Morgan, is at the forefront of her books.
In this version of Cincinnati, something went wrong in the 1950's when human beings started experimenting on DNA and ended up creating a virus that spread through tomatoes and killed a great deal of the human population. The supernatural creatures who were living side by side with humans then came into the open. The Inderlanders, as they now call themselves, were immune to the virus and, with the human population declining, they didn't have anything to fear. Occasionally, we see Rachel proudly setting out tomatoes, a practice which makes humans blench.
Now that humans and Inderlanders are living in the same society, they must maintain peace and they do this with the help of two law enforcement agencies—the human police and Inderlander Security or I.S. which Rachel works for at the beginning. However, Rachel keeps getting all the bad jobs and she's really sick of this kind of work. So she decides to strike out on her own and Ivy, a vampire who works with I.S. too, decides to go with her, as does Jenks, the pixie. However, I.S. is not just willing to let Rachel go that fast; they put a price on her head and she ends up spending a lot of time avoiding assassins. Finally, she decides that the best thing to do is go after Trent Kalamack who is suspected of many crimes. She wants to persuade I.S. to let her go in exchange for the goods on Kalamack.
Overall, Rachel is a likable protagonist who tends to act before she thinks. Over the course of the book and the series, we see her learning more impulse control. In one funny scene, she tries to learn how to avoid provoking her vampire roommate by reading a vampire dating guide that she's embarrassed to be seen with. She also dresses sassily and has an in-your-face sexuality which, combined with her self-deprecating humor, makes her easy to identify with.
Kim Harrison is a self-proclaimed "tomboy" who grew up in a family full of boys. Although she always wanted to be a writer, she avoided English and writing classes, preferring to work on her writing by herself. She started out with the idea of writing science fiction but then switched to contemporary fantasy. Her real name is Dawn Cook and she has published two series, the Hollows series, starring Rachel Morgan, under the name Kim Harrison, and the Princess and Truth series under her real name. She splits her time between South Carolina and Michigan and is currently a full-time writer.
Rachel Morgan is a runner with the Inderland Runner Services, apprehending law-breakers throughout Cincinnati. She's also a witch, one of the many Inderlanders who revealed themselves after a genetically engineered virus wiped out 50 percent of humanity. Witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves—the creatures of dreams and nightmares have lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But now they've stopped hiding, and nothing will be the same. On the run with a contract on her head, Rachel reluctantly teams up with Ivy, Inderland's best runner…and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crimelord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death…not to mention her own roommate! Fun, sassy, filled with action, humor, and romance, Dead Witch Walking is the perfect summer listen for anyone who likes vampires, paranormal fantasy, romance, or just a great beach book. Download and start listening now!