The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison

(The Hollows, #6)
Urban Fantasy

When you dance with demons, you lay your soul on the line...

In the Hollows, where the natural and the supernatural co-exist - not always peacefully - desperate times often call for unorthodox measures. But bounty hunter-witch Rachel Morgan did the absolutely unthinkable to save the lives of her friends: she willingly trafficked in forbidden demon magic. And now her sins have come home to haunt her.

As Rachel hunts for the truth behind a terrifying murder, the discovery of a shocking family secret is about to throw her entire life into question. And the long-lost ancient knowledge she seeks resides in the demonic ever-after. But there are some lines that should never be crossed--like the one Rachel Morgan's stepping over...again!

This Mass Market Paperback Edition includes "The Bespelled": a Ceri/Al short story (Rachel Morgan/The Hollows #6.1)

“Maybe he thinks he can rescue me? No one is that stupid. ”

This review shall start with full nods to the book by even discussing the title. Kim Harrison's love of Clint Eastwood spawned her humorous title twists for each Hollows book. The Outlaw Demon Wails is a more easily-noticed tribute title. Right on.

I will always think of this novel as a massive turning point in the series for Rachel, with one of the best endings, and the biggest edge-on-your-seats-have-to-read-more-NOW resolution.

Plot wise, it's a goodie. Seems Al is in trouble even worse than before and not being shy about telling Rachel about it. He needs her help to get him out of the gutters, of course planning to torture and kill her afterward. I can see why the girl says no. 

Meanwhile Rachel is encountering a situation she thought would NEVER happen to her in a thousand years – her own counsel, community, whatever, is turning it's back on her, labeling her a “big bad.” Always seeing herself as acting for the good of others and following a moral code, this stings. Prepped up by the support of constant friends, she embarks on a new, dangerous journey to end Al's terror over her once and for all, tossing in the bone of helping another species out.

Let's just say that the twists and turns in this one make roller coasters look amateurish. Rachel finds out mega news about her father, discovers a surprising revelation about herself, and ends up having to pair with unlikely allies to get the job done. There's some massive character interaction changes in this one.

Rachel and Ivy again try to “bond” - really it's nothing more than beating a dead horse now and tries the reader's patience rather than progresses the storyline.

We get a lot of Trent time, which is great at the end but sucky at the beginning. He again irritates me with his smugness and I turned a cold shoulder to him when he cruelly reveals something to Rachel about the most painful part of her life and childhood just to be petty. I get he was grieving, but still, Rachel herself wouldn't sink that low. If she was that kind, I wouldn't be such a fan of her as a protagonist. He was amusing in the Halloween get-up and endearing in a the skating rink, however, and their discussions while on the “voyage” after the climax intrigued me. He then irritated me again by being unreasonably ungrateful for Rachel's sacrifices.

Marshall just isn't that exciting, folks. He's a nice guy who's kind of just there. I never saw Kim as putting him as a huge love interest or anything for Rachel. It's too soon as Kisten. But a hot enough scene did erupt. Not because of Marshall himself though (anyone else turned off by growing in eyebrows and basically being hairless?), but because of the exploration of the power pull. I hold no anger toward him for how it turns out when she is let down by the witch community, and it's clear Rachel didn't either. He didn't have enough invested to sacrifice everything by that point.

I will admit the very beginning of the book with Al in the charm store was a little too cheesy and forced, especially with the caliber Kim's writing style usually is, but the other scenes with the demon mesmerized me as usual. There is especially a potent kitchen scene where the changes start shifting, and the end and how it all turns out almost made me do a literal high five and cheer. Their conversation in the park turned out to be one of my favorite scenes in the entire series.

Toss in Newt, Minias, and additional demon law and exploration of the Ever After, and this book climbed even further up my reading happy pole.

Ryn Cormel's entrance was also one of my favorite scenes of the series. I'm referring to Ivy once again obliviously embarrassing Rachel to death with the mention of the “vamp guide” in front of him. She has run into the funniest moments because of that book (enter two awkward bus conversations.) It would be neat if there could be a companion guide to the series published, “The Vampire Dating Guide.” Of course this could never happen since so much of it is clearly...ahem...pretty graphic.

The Outlaw Demon Wails is one of the best of the series. The characters shine, it's constant turns and twists and excitement. The ending rocks and the change isn't something I could have anticipated, but loved it when it arrived. It feels now so natural I couldn't imagine the series of ever having gone any other path. The only bad thing I can think of is the slightly cheesy beginning and that the Quen scene was a bit too drawn out and melodramatic. If you're a fan of the series and have read 1-5, it would be mentally damaging to not grab this one ASAP.

*This Review was based off a Re-Read*

   Other Reviews from this series:

“By the light coming from the patio, it looked a shade after sunrise. I had to stop waking up at this hour. It was just insane.”” - Rachel

Al pulled me into him, and numb, I felt his arm curve possessively about my waist. “Too late,” he whispered, his breath shifting the hair about my ear, and we jumped.

“In a few hours, I’m going to be banished to the surface, my belongings raffled off as novelty items and my living space given to someone else—my reputation destroyed. I’d rather have your head than your soul at this point in my illustrious career.”   - Al

“I could have had him, but I had monologued. Damn it, I was not going to do that again.” - Rachel

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