Every Which Way but Dead: Rachel Morgan, #3 -- Kim Harrison

Remember the conversation about people being embarrassed to shop in the genre sections of bookstoresThis one made me blush a little.  ILLing it has caused a lot of ribbing from Josh and my co-workers for the blurb on on the front cover:

"Great sex, and an even better plot!" -- Diana Gabaldon

Everywhichwaybutdead...Yeah.  Anyway.

This time, Rachel has to deal with the er... deal that she made with the demon Algaliarept at the end of the last book -- and if she refuses to become his familiar, her soul will be forfeit.  Meanwhile, over the last three months her boyfriend Nick has become her boyfriend in name only, acting more and more distant and more and more jumpy around her, Ivy's friend (and ex-) Kisten has continued to pursue Rachel, as has Ivy in her own way, AND she's being followed by a Were in a trenchcoat.  Oh, and Trent Kalamack's bodyguard wants a favor.

It took me three books, but I've finally gotten used to Kim Harrison's pacing.  Because of the book design, the title and yes, the genre, I keep expecting these books to have a very distinct story arc, with a mystery/crime specific to the book and an over-arcing plot/larger mystery that ties the books together.  Well, actually, okay -- the books DO have that.  But the mystery/crime specific to the book isn't usually (so far, three books in) the focus of the novel.  The focus is Rachel, and the books act as installments about her whole life, not just her investigations.  She doesn't drop everything else (or stop worrying about stupid Nick)just because a demon is after her.  In the long run, that's a good thing, and it sets the books apart from a lot of the other series fiction I've read -- because they don't feel particularly formulaic* -- I just had to get used to it.

I will say that the relationships continue to skeeve me out.  I thought Rachel's friendship with Ivy was pressure-filled and yicky, but her date with Kisten!?  Way worse.  He lied to her, manipulated her and brought her into a situation that he knew would be dangerous without bothering to warn her.  She was mad -- for about a minute and a half.  But then everything was okay, because he had picked out her outfit and made her feel attractive.  Yeesh.

I was sad that there was so little Trent Kalamack in this one.  He's ruthless and a real bastard, but interactions between him and Rachel are always hugely entertaining.

I'll be reading the next one soon, even though the typos continue and I know that stupid Nick is going to reappear.

*I say this having only read three of the books, of course, and having not really looked for a formula.  But I haven't noticed anything glaring -- I adore the Dresden Files books, but in every single one of them that I've read, Harry makes some random potions at the beginning of the book that just so happen to be the perfect thing to get him out of a jam at the end.  Nothing like that (so far) in this series.

Previous Rachel Morgan books:

Dead Witch Walking
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead