The Hollows series by Kim Harrison is another perennial favorite often mentioned in readers’ group. It’s certainly well past time for me to dive into this one, don’t you think?? Let’s start with the usual book basics then see which negative reader reviews say (there are always some of those) and start our chat!

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
The Hollows Book 1 of 16
Published October 13, 2009
Amazon: 2,682 ratings, 4.5 avg
Goodreads: 121,998 ratings, 4.03 avg
1st person POV

All 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 a witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead . . . or undead.

Dead Witch Walking Cover

Spoiler alert (and don’t yell at me): this one wasn’t a favorite of mine so I’ll be agreeing with some of the negative reviews. As always, no book is for everyone and this one still has high averages so clearly, we’re in the minority.

Negative reader review points:
–FMC is unlikeable/ TSTL
–slow pace
–clumsy writing

I’m going to start with saying Rachel wasn’t my favorite character. That’s truly unfortunate as this is a first person POV and she’s the main character. I was infinitely more intrigued by Ivy (she’s a vampire who over-plans everything and that spoke to me) and I loved Jenks and his whole pixie family. I was also invested in the main bad guy…but I didn’t connect to Rachel.

I’ll even kinda agree with TSTL (too stupid to live). I know, I know, those who love this series are probably extremely annoyed with me. I love character growth and truly enjoy seeing a character learn. Rachel starts off as an accomplished professional (at least that was my assumption based on the blurb) but she consistently makes decisions no one else agrees with and is usually wrong. She spends most of the book either scared or horny. At the end of the book, she was still in the same place so I didn’t even see improvement.

Again, it was a me thing, but I wasn’t invested in Rachel or her journey at all.

Now, I was intrigued by the world building and basically every other character. In addition to Ivy, Jenks, and the main baddie, there’s an introduction of a new character fairly late in the book. In fact, a whole new angle/ plot twist happens after the halfway mark. I’m guestimating on that so don’t hold it against me. The point is there was a lot to keep me reading which is why I’m also rating this 2.5/3 stars instead of something lower.

Pacing/ Writing
I’m going to save more of this for the writer portion, but I can understand the complaint. It felt like a long book to me and that’s not a good thing. I didn’t struggle once I picked the book up each time, but I did struggle to force myself to pick the book up. Blaming the pacing and writing seems reasonable for the vague feeling of not enjoying this one.

My overall rating lands around 2.5/3 stars. On Rachel alone, I’d say 2-ish but the other characters and magical world lift that up a bit. It’s certainly enjoyable enough to recommend as I think (and the ratings prove this) that many others will love this. I’m not sure if my expectations were too high or if this really isn’t the book for me. I would certainly read more from the author, but I’m probably not going to continue the series at this time. However, you should still check it out if it sounds fun or has been in your TBR pile – you may love it as most others did and I truly hope you do!

The writer POV is next, but do jump down to the cat picture and book links if you are so inclined! But first, a little character growth laugh courtesy of Supernatural!

It’s always a bit rough to not fall in love with a book you see so many readers recommend. I can’t help but believe it’s me and not them. I do want to chat about this one a bit so let’s get started!

First, I checked to see if this was the first book by the author. I did not know this was a pen name for Dawn Cook. Dead Witch Walking was released in 2004 but Dawn had 3 books released in 2002-2003 and another in 2004. I didn’t check genres but the fact remains Dead Witch wasn’t the first.

As a writer, improvement feels like a double-edged sword. Yes, of course, we want to hone our craft and excel. Yes, of course, it’s embarrassing but we all have to have a first book, a first series, a first story that we know could be better if we did it today or waited until we learned more. I remember reading that Leigh Bardugo made changes when working on the Netflix release of her Shadow & Bone because there were things she wished she’d done differently.

I first released my Rahki books in 2014, pulled them and re-released in 2018 after a massive overhaul. There are still things I wish I could change. On the flip side, I try not to repeat those mistakes (while making new ones). I hope readers are somewhat forgiving and give me chance to get better as the series progresses and I expand that universe. In light of that, I certainly want to be a forgiving reader willing to give an author a chance too.

Am I expecting Kim Harrison’s success? No, I’m really not. I mean, I wouldn’t say no, but my expectations are much, much lower. Fortunately, I love writing and can maintain my day job to pay the bills so it still works out.

It does always give me perspective and a little hope though when I’m reminded that we all start somewhere. That blank page can be intimidating, but we have to get started. Seeing authors talk about a catalog of 20+ books can be intimidating. However, it always starts with one page, one book.

Writing Style/ Pacing
I also wanted to briefly touch upon this with a specific example to follow-up on the reader review. I noted one paragraph had 3 sentences – similar length, same structure. All three started with ‘I’ then followed with an action. It did make for a clunky paragraph.

One of the writing lessons I’ve embraced is to vary my sentence and paragraph structure. It’s a great way to differentiate between characters (at least in third person). As part of my review, I simply visually scan my story – print version in Word is excellent or flipping through the hard copy. It helps me gain a feel for the flow as I can see the length of paragraphs and repeated words can jump out more easily.

As always, if you have specific tips to share with fellow authors, I’d love to have you do a guest blog so let me know. If you’re looking for help writing action sequences, check out this GUEST POST by Joseph Carrabis.

I’ve covered specific writing lessons on plot, pacing, POV, world building, blurbs, and even marketing in previous chats (2021 and 2022). At this time, I want to remind every fellow writer that we all start at the beginning and we all have to keep moving forward.

Wherever you are on your writing journey, I hope you’ll keep moving forward.

As always, thanks for joining this month’s Book Chat. The US Amazon link for Dead Witch Walking is below – I’ve also included a link to our July read (Skinwalker by Faith Hunter).

Until next time, happy reading and writing to all!


US Amazon Book Links
Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

Izzie with Dead Witch Walking

4 thoughts on “2022 Book Chat 6 – Dead Witch Walking

    1. LOL – oddly enough, the cover matches the first outfit she’s in and she’s upset people think she looks like a hooker! 🙂 The blurb isn’t doing the book any favors either. It totally skips important and interesting info that could sway readers. Oh well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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