Welcome to this week’s “meeting” of the Preternatura Book Club! Today, we’re finishing up Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking, the first in her Hollows series featuring witch Rachel Morgan.
Next Wednesday, we’ll tackle the first two chapters of Halfway to the Grave, the first of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series—chosen by popular vote. This is a new series for me (you guys have been raving about Cat and Bones so long I can’t wait to dig in)—hope you’ll join in the read!
Here’s how it works. Each week, I’ll post a summary (spoiler alert!) on two chapters, and we’ll chat about them. Try to minimize spoilers beyond what’s happened in the book we’ve read so far. You can read along, read ahead, or just stop by and read the summaries. After the Book Club has been up a few days, I’ll move it to archives so you can still come back and read. There’s a “Book Club” tab above. So, let’s get started!
DEAD WITCH WALKING, CHAPTERS 33 and 34
When we last saw Rachel, she’d just driven away from FIB headquarters, where her old coworker Francis had been murdered on orders from Trent Kalamack—everybody knows it, and nobody can prove it. Francis was the only thing tying Trent to illegal biodrugs shipments.
As Rachel stands outside, she watches Trent drive away—and realizes that it was him, and not the I.S., who had summoned the demon to kill her. Her I.S. contract has been paid off, but it looks like she has an even more deadly enemy.
We pick up the story a week later. Rachel’s jumping at every shadow—not to mention a little girl on a pink bike—even though the I.S. death threat is gone. Because there’s still Trent, who keeps leaving cryptic and not-so-cryptic threats in the newspaper classifieds. At this point, with her I.S. mission achieved, Rachel doesn’t want to nail Trent. She just wants him to leave her alone, and the only way she can get enough leverage to do that is to make another trip to Trent’s house to steal a disk and get blackmail material. She and Jenks and Ivy have it all planned.
It’s a seamless operation, complete with a Rachel lookalike who takes her place on Ivy’s bike while Rachel turns mink again and goes in with Nick posing as a lawn-service guy—they’d even infested Trent’s prize rosebushes with bugs so the lawn service would be expected. Nick even ate shellfish so his skin would darken and puff up as a disguise.
Once on the grounds, Rachel shifts back and break in (after Jenks gets Rachel electrocuted), and they make their way to Trent’s back office. Rachel gets the disk, but then they hear footsteps and Trent’s voice. He comes in wearing an English riding habit (full moon and time for the hunt). She doesn’t think he’s spotted her—until he has a gun pointed at her, or at someone. He seems surprised that it’s Rachel.
Their conversation is interesting. We learn that Jenks can wield a charm that Trent’s afraid of. And that Trent knows Rachel’s father died at the hands of demons. And Trent doesn’t act like he’s the one who sent the demon—in fact, he thinks Rachel did. Which leaves a big old question—who DID summon the demon?
Finally, Trent tells Rachel she can have a head start, and then the hunters will hunt her. She hears horns blaring in the distance, and dogs baying, and know she’s going to have to run fast to meet Ivy before Trent can get his horse and run her down.
As she gets on Ivy’s bike, she looks behind her and three horsemen sit in the middle of the moonlit road. The middle rider touches his brow in a salute. “What the hell is he?” Rachel asks. “I don’t know,” Jenks says.
In the final chapter, Jenks and Rachel and Ivy are at home. Rachel’s fixing dinner, and Nick is there. Rachel feels as if she’s among family. Nick’s still being kind of cagey. We learn Ivy has to do community service as a candy-striper for her FIB run-in. Just when all’s happy, Keasley droops by with an envelope from Trent the delivery man left for Rachel while she was gone. Rachel opens it, and her pinky ring falls out. She realizes Trent has taken it from her sleeping finger during the night—just because he could. Her blackmail is holding....for now.
LET’S CHAT! I know I’ll love Cat and Bones, but I sure am going to miss Rachel and the gang. I’d forgotten that we didn’t find out what Trent was in this book.
So, what did you like best about Dead Witch Walking? I love the play between Jenks and Ivy and Rachel. Jenks has the best one-liners ever. And, sue me, I love Trent Kalamack. He is just so...unfathomable and other. But I won’t do a spoiler and say other what.
If you’re new to the series, will you keep reading? (I’m telling you—they get better and better and better.)