Preternatura Book Club: DEAD WITCH WALKING, Chapters 15-16

Welcome to this week’s“meeting” of the Preternatura Book Club! A few weeks ago, commenters voted on which novel they’d like to tackle first, and the winner by a landslide was Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking, the first in her Hollows series featuring witch Rachel Morgan. 

Here’s how it works. Each week, I’ll post a summary (spoiler alert!) on two chapters, and we’ll chat about them. Try to minimize spoilers beyond what’s happened in the book we’ve read so far. You can read along, read ahead, or just stop by and read the summaries. After the Book Club has been up a few days, I’ll move it to archives so you can still come back and read. There’s a “Book Club” tab above. So, let’s get started!

DEAD WITCH WALKING, CHAPTERS 15 and 16
When we last left off, Rachel and Jenks had been allowed to go home after a disastrous meeting with Trent Kalamack—his people caught Jenks and he knew who Rachel was and everything she’d done since leaving the I.S.

When Chapter 15 begins, Rachel is trying to make pizza for her and Ivy’s dinner, and she’s frustrated. Ivy still creeps her out, and she’s jumpy both over the vampire and Trent. She’s also annoyed that Ivy has a real paying run to plan, while all Rachel can do is fight for her life. We learn that Ivy is a serious planner—she’s got a map and markers and is planning her run to the Nth degree, while Rachel’s more seat-of-her-pants. Rachel’s trying to figure out what Ivy will let her put on the pizza, and decides cashews are probably out.

Ivy points out that the fact Trent offered her a job means he considers her a threat—something that hadn’t occurred to Rachel. Rachel reveals her plan to go back to Trent’s the next night as a mink and look at/abscond with some of the disks she thinks will prove he’s dealing biodrugs. Ivy wants her to wait till she can plan it out better—she doesn’t think it likely that Trent, a well-known philanthropist, would be involved in the biodrug trade. Trent doesn’t need the money. We also learn what happened to Francis and his car—Rachel left him in the mall parking lot with the trunk open. She also tore up the car. Rachel and Ivy speculate on what type of Inderlander Trent might be.

We have a tense scene between Rachel and Ivy. Rachel’s still afraid of her, and her constant watching is pissing Ivy off. Jenks breaks the tension briefly when he flies in from the garden with a mushroom to add to the pizza. He’s still angry that he got caught by Trent’s faux-gardener, and apologizes to Rachel for not protecting her. Then Jenks and Ivy get into a tiff. Everyone’s tense.

Later that night (or, rather, early in the morning), Rachel awakens with Ivy bending over her. She thinks Ivy’s going to bite her, and begins fighting. Finally, Ivy makes her understand the church is under attack from fairies, who don’t recognize sacred ground. Rachel isn’t sure she could kill a fairy—she’s never killed anything before. Ivy and Rachel hide in the bedroom, while the pixies fight the fairies—something Rachel isn’t comfortable with. “He was trained in backup, not guerilla warfare,” she thinks. Rachel tries to apologize to Ivy for thinking she was attacking her, but Ivy’s not buying it.

They realize that Rachel’s hijacking of Francis has stepped up Denon and the IS’s urgency to kill her. Finally, after much crashing and breaking of glass, things grow quiet. They go to the kitchen to find Jenks comes with a tiny sword, sounding drunk and spouting poetry. His wing is torn, and his face is bloody and battered. All the lights in the kitchen are broken except the small stove light, and Rachel saves Mr. Fish, who’s floundering in the sink.

We get our first look at Mrs. Jenks, as she flits in to treat his wounds. It’s obvious this is something she’s done often enough, and Rachel realizes that Jenks isn’t just backup. He killed two fairies and actually IS trained as a fighter. She assures Jenks’ wife that she was serious about him being a full partner.

Rachel’s foot is bleeding from the broken glass, and she and Ivy have another little talk and clear the air about what each is doing to set the other off. Finally, Ivy admits Rachel needs to follow through with her plan to break back into Trent Kalamack’s estate. “If you don’t get this done quickly,” Ivy tells her, “you won’t last another week.”

LET’S CHAT! Don’t you love Jenks even more now that we know he’s a fierce little pixy warrior? What do you think of Mrs. Jenks? I love it that she’s down-to-earth but also very protective of him. How about the Rachel/Ivy relationship?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

8 thoughts on “Preternatura Book Club: DEAD WITCH WALKING, Chapters 15-16

  1. The Rachel/Ivy relationship – just the beginning – at this point I have my concerns by the way Ivy is perceived. She is SCARY! Mrs. Jenks – guess we haven’t learned her name yet. Love her and her love of Jenks … She makes the pixy character’s in the series a family.

  2. Suzanne – I was wrong!!!
    A question yesterday on Kim’s site = I’m listening to Dead Witch Walking again and when Rachel first goes to meet Trent she sees numbers scrolling across his computer. Do those have any meaning? Just curious.
    Kim Harrison Says: Yes, they do! 20, 5, 1 is an old marketing tool, one that Trent used to live by, and I pinned my hopes of ever being published on.
    For every 20 people you talk to about your project, five will be interested and one might buy it.

  3. Holy cow, Roger! That’s awesome. Does that ever come out in any of the books? (I meant that Trent used it as a marketing tool.) I don’t remember every hearing that before.

    Hm. Maybe I need to work 20-5-1 into my books somewhere. Might help them sell when they come out!

  4. I have been waiting for Royal Street & River Road = 2012 – time goes by fast when your retired though. Have read Intervention & Chenoire, thanks. You have your “1” already.

  5. I don’t remember Trent using 20-5-1 as a marketing tool in the books – will have to watch for that in the re-read. Maybe just implied? A business mans ethics – don’t think Trent has any ethics!!! He could be considered my favorite S.O.B.?

  6. The pizza scene w/Rachel and Ivy was very tense. I did catch the part about the cashews!
    I love that Jenks is braver than Rachel when it comest to Ivy. He just kills me! Love Mrs. Jenks!
    I can’t help but feel really sorry for Ivy. At this point, I think she’s been a really good vamp/friend.

  7. Ha–Roger. Trent’s definitely my favorite SOB. He’ll do something I like and I start to soften on him then, wham, he’ll be a jerk. One of the reasons I think he’s such a brilliant character.

    Andrea, yes, I agree. Ivy’s kind of both a sad and a scary figure right now. She’s a very complex character (they all are).