The (Un)Dead Pool
When preparing this post I decided I wanted to have a bit of retrospective theme, a little looking forward, some vampires, and include the holiday season too. Whew. So why the title for the post? Fans of Clint Eastwood will recognize it as a play on the title of his 1988 Dirty Harry picture The Dead Pool which of course leads me to admitting my all-time favourite urban fantasy series with vampires is the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series by Kim Harrison.
Kim has made a career and a successful series out of riffing on Clint Eastwood movie titles for her books including:
- Dead Witch Walking (2004)
- The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (2005)
- Every Which Way But Dead (2005)
- A Fistful of Charms (2006)
- For a Few Demons More (2007)
- The Outlaw Demon Wails (2008), retitled Where Demons Dare in the UK
- White Witch, Black Curse (2009)
- Black Magic Sanction (February 23, 2010)
The books are set in an alternate reality Cincinnati where witches, weres, vampires, pixies, demons, elves, gargoyles and many more supernatural creatures are real. The three main characters are Rachel (witch), Ivy (living vampire) and Jenks (4" high pixie with 50 odd children) that form a partnership and operate the equivalent of a supernatural bounty hunter firm out of a converted church. Over the course of the series the relationships between these marvelous characters deepen and mature. You get to know them like family. As vampires go Ivy is my favourite; complex, sexy, fierce, possessive and dangerous.
The world-building in the series is superlative with great attention to detail, back story and consistency. You have to read the books to appreciate the humour of the absolute fear humans have of tomatoes (yep tomatoes). If you need to point at something and definitively say "this is urban fantasy" the Hollows would be in the crosshairs.
In my look back at the past year, Barnes and Noble recently named the first book in the series, Dead Witch Walking, the best urban fantasy of the past decade. Kim Harrison also made urban fantasy news earlier in the year when she came out of the closet in a special urban fantasy issue of Locus Magazine and declared that she was actually the fantasy author Dawn Cook and that the Kim Harrison moniker was a pseudonym. She revealed that she even had a special wardrobe and wigs she wore to signings to maintain her secet identity!
The next book in the series is Black Magic Sanction and it is my most anticpated read for 2010 releasing on February 23. Here is a large version of the final cover which Kim just revealed a few days ago (no description/blurb yet).
Looking even further into the future fans of the series will be glad to know that Kim has a publishing deal that guarantees 12-13 books. With one book per year that takes us out to 2015. If you like the graphic novels format, the series will also be coming out in that form in 2011. Here is a sneak peak at some early art (Ivy left, Rachel right).
And finally Kim Harrison provides her own version of seasonal cheer with her own version of The 12 Days of Christmas...
On the 12 day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
12 Humans Hiding,
11 Tinks a Tinkling
10 Porno flicks
9 Pole Dancers
8 Pixies Partying
7 Karma Sutras
6 Fairies Farting
5 Trolls in Drag
4 Purple Condoms
3 French Ticklers
2 Horny Vamps
And a Succubus in the Snow
To read more from the SciFiGuy, check his blog daily for an awesome perspective on the paranormal and urban fantasy genre.