The Outlaw Demon Wails (Where Demons Dare in the UK) is easily the best of the books so far in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, featuring Rachel Morgan. I thoroughly enjoyed For A Few Demons More, but this entry into the series had me gripped from the very start.
We open the story with an explosive visit from Al, where he reveals that he is being summoned each evening out of jail by a demon summoner hell-bent on getting rid of Rachel. This sets the stage for a plot that reveals more about Rachel’s parentage (her mum has a much larger role in this book than previously, which was good for me because I love her rather kooky character); leads Rachel further into the grips of demons; and highlights exactly how Rachel is different from other witches.
I loved the continual dropping in of secrets that have been built up from the first book of the series, and the resolution to various niggling little things that I have wondered about, such as the famous witch singer Takata and Rachel’s mysterious neighbour Keasley.
I was impressed that Harrison could continue to change my opinion of characters who have been established at other points in the series. Al, for instance, is a character that I have a great deal of regard for now. I’ve always enjoyed his appearances in prior books, but here he really comes into his own. I was glad that the plot steered away from vamps and Weres, after the last few books. I loved the addition of Bis and hope he has a fuller role in books to come!
The Outlaw Demon Wails doesn’t garner the full five stars because of a few bits and pieces that nagged me. I really didn’t enjoy the appearance of Marshall and felt he didn’t add a great deal to the plot, apart from putting Rachel into situations where she could have encounters with characters like Trent. Ceri is a character I struggle to appreciate, and her actions here had me rolling my eyes. Also, Rachel and Ivy’s latest encounter feels very much like recycled text from previous books in the series. I was pleased to see that Harrison has managed to bring an (at least temporary) halt to their will-they-won’t-they situation that was boring me somewhat after five books filled with it.
All in all, though, The Outlaw Demon Wails is a magnificent slice of escapism! I can’t wait to read the seventh, where I hope that the lingering issues of Tom the black witch and Kisten are dealt with.