The second book in the urban fantasy series called Hollows.

It’s also the last book in my 2nds challenge . The final book list turned out to be somewhat different that the one I started with but I had fun! If this challenge is done next year, too, I’m likely to join again. Of course, I already have quite a few series now to get through…

Much to my surprise, this book was in my local library. As far as I can tell, it’s also the only book of the Hollows –series which is in the Finnish library system. Sigh.

The book starts with Rachel Morgan and her pixie partner Jenks undercover trying to steal a fish. One of the local baseball teams suspect that a rival has stolen their mascot, the fish, and hired Rachel to steal it back. Things don’t go exactly as planned but Rachel and Jenks manage to get away with their prize. A F.I.B agent rescues them from the rival team’s werewolves. It appears that the F.I.B. need a consult in Interlanders affairs and because Rachel had worked with them before, their Captain Edden decided to employ her again.

Trent Kalamack’s secretary Sara Jane has tearfully reported that her fiancé is missing. Rachel feels that she owes Sara Jane for what she did for Rachel in the previous book and agrees to investigate. Dan is witch and Captain Edden believes that he was murdered by a notorious serial killer who is targeting lay line witches. Edden’s primary suspect is Dr. Anders because many of the victims were on her classes and he offers Rachel a chance to go into the Anders’ class undercover. However, Rachel is convinced that Kalamack is behind the killings but she agrees to take the class despite the fact that when she took it the first time, also under Dr. Anders, she failed it. To say the least, Anders doesn’t want Rachel in her class.

Rachel’s roommate, the living vamp Ivy, is horrified that Rachel agreed to work a case that’s connected to Kalamack. However, something else is also bothering the normally cool and level-headed Ivy. To make matters worse, Rachel finds out that her human boyfriend Nick seems to be dabbling into summoning demons. Also, she has trouble getting around because one of her spell went awry in a bus last year and the bus drivers are trying to avoid her. She doesn’t own a car.

I rather enjoy Rachel’s circle of friends: Ivy, Jenks, Nick, and even captain Edden and agent Glenn. They are all distinct from each other and rather dysfunctional as a group. Ivy is an upper class vampire who is “slumming” with Rachel and this time we come to see quite a bit more about her decision to leave I.S. and to stay with Rachel. The pixie Jenks is a very entertaining character: curious, loudmouthed, opinionated, and yet fiercely protective of his own. His clouds of children are also entertaining.

We also get more info about the lay line magic when Rachel is forced to use more of it. Dr. Anders requires her to have a familiar so that she can continue the class and so she has to find a way to bind one to her. The demon which was seen in the previous book has a large part to play in this book as well. I guess I have to admit that I’m a bit frustrated with how little Rachel seems to know about magic which is supposed to be her specialty. She mostly muddles through with luck and guessing.

The plot flows out more smoothly this time than in the previous book, Dead Witch Walking. However, it still somewhat relies on characters doing stupid thing such as not listening to others or doing something in the heat of anger. Rachel is quite impatient and not subtle at all. Still, it strikes me a bit odd that she would be so impatient to arrest Kalamack that she would ignore proper procedure which might lead to Kalamack not being sentenced even if he was arrested.

There’s also a change in the mood in the last part of the book which I found a little jarring. The start and the middle feel to me quite light hearted. Then, near the end the stakes are raised dramatically and the mood becomes much darker. At the end, Rachel is in even more trouble than when she started and her circle of friends will probably not trust each other as much as before. I have mixed feelings about it but I’m curious to see what happens next.

Oh, there’s one sex scene in the book but it’s relevant to the characters and the plot.