Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

This is the tenth book in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison, and it's pretty much the quality we've come to expect and love. Rachel really sells her soul cheaply in the first few pages. She's been unable to get her car registered and obtain a drivers license since she was outed as a demon, and demons have no legal standing in Cincinatti. When Inderlander Security (IS) offers to cut through the red tape for her in return for her investigating a grisly sacrificial murder, she agrees with alacrity. Wow! I mean the DMV can be frustrating, but really?

Rachel and her friends, including bodyguard assigned by her father, Wayde, troop off to the murder scene and manage (as always) to notice things the IS and FIB investigators didn't see. It turns out a group of humans called HAPA (who want to eradicate all the supernatural species) is trying to re-create demon blood in witches, which they can subsequently use to cast their own spells. Their efforts are leaving witch victims horribly disfigured, leading to death, and the need to find a new experimental subject while the blood they extract from the last remains fresh is turning them into serial killers with a five day deadline.

Again (rather oddly) Rachel is the only person around who knows how to make charms that will track down these lunatics, so she begins producing them for IS to use. Rachel's magic is on lockdown, basically - she's wearing a bracelet that keeps her from tapping the ley lines, and if she takes it off too abruptly, the overload of magical energies will kill her, and even if she goes through the properly patient procedure to remove it, it will result in Algliarept (Al) finding out she's still alive and coming to steal her away to the everafter once again.

So, somewhat predictably (it's amazing how much you can figure out about the likelihood of a bit of plot succeeding by looking at the page count) when Rachel accompanies the IS and FIB on their next raid to capture the HAPA crooks, things go horribly wrong, and without her most potent magic to defend herself, she ends up being taken captive, her own blood used to fuel the spells of the evil cohorts. She and a fellow prisoner, Winona, who amazingly survives her transformation into horned demonic form, finally manage to break out of their cell and are rescued by Trent, the elf, just in the nick of time, from Eloy, the ruthless HAPA leader.

The story continues with various plots and counterplots, with a big surprising ending, when a whole new agency arrives to save the day, obviously a new element to be explored more thoroughly in coming installments. Trent and Rachel's relationship grows and changes, becoming both more comfortable and more irritating to them both, I think. A good couple hours entertainment for your literary dollar.

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