The Undead Pool
by Kim Harrison
Cover Artist: Larry Rostant
Review by Gayle Surrette
Harper Voyager Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061957932
Date: 25 February 2014 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
In The Undead Pool, I had hoped that Rachel Morgan would get a bit of a break. It seems that no matter what's happening in her life, she never gets to enjoy a moment of peace, because she seems to be uniquely qualified to save the world -- or at least Cincinnati -- again. This time a misfired spell that's stronger than it ought to be causes a problem at Kalamack's golf club, and Rachel gets banned. On her way home, she's caught in a traffic problem caused by another spell misfire. Recognizing what might have happened, she's helpfully able to give advice to the first responders. That leads to learning that there's a problem with the city's vampires, and the realization that these things might be connected.
Once again, Rachel is the person on the spot to recognize the inter-relatedness of the problems facing the city. She needs help to identify a method and a possible solution. Needless to say, that also means that she's going to have to have help, and that means risking others as well as herself. While she's more than willing to risk death to save others; she's still not willing to risk the lives of those she cares about. Choices, responsibility, and family are big parts of the subplots this time out.
Harrison's characters have grown and changed as the series progressed. This makes for a textured, multifaceted world peopled with characters who readers can care about and relate to, whether that is to love, hate, or otherwise react emotionally to their actions and their lives. The continuing characters are either present in this story or seen in flashback memories.
Once the you get into the story and the situation gels, the writing pulls you into this world of vampires, werewolves, magic users, pixies, fairies, and even elves. In the midst of the action, our world drifts away and you find yourself reading as fast as you can to find out what will happen next. The problem is Harrison isn't afraid to kill or injure her characters -- believe me I've shed my fair share of tears over the fates of some of the 'people' that I've come to know over this and the previous eleven books.
If you're a fan of the series, you know what to expect: great writing, fast action, surprising plot twists, and edge of your seat tension. Just get the book and enjoy. If you haven't yet read any of The Hollows books, this isn't the best place to start; -- go back to the beginning when Rachel was young, a bit na´ve, and an adrenalin junkie with very bad taste in men.