Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. Eos, 2004 (Rachel Morgan Book 1)
Rachel Morgan decided that she has had enough working for Inderland Security (an agency something like our FBI). This fiery, red haired witch is not used to doing scut work and she's sick of it. Usually she goes after black-art and unlicensed witches - big stuff. But tonight she's been sent to an ugly area, in the rain to collar a leprechaun for tax evasion. It can't get much lower than that. She quits I.S.
Two co-workers, Ivy the vampire and Jenks the pixie decide they will join her. This isn't a problem for Jenks or Ivy but, unfortunately for Rachel, Denon, her boss-from-hell, threatens to put a death bounty on her head if she breaks her contract with I.S. The feisty, fearless Rachel is not deterred even though she knows this is no idle threat.
Ivy finds housing for all of them in an old, unused church in the Hollows (that place across the river from Cincinnati where most Inderlanders - witches, vampires, werewolves, etc choose to live). Not surprisingly, more than once Rachel discovers she's under attack from nasty creatures who hope to collect the I.S. reward money.
To save herself and get rid of a bad guy at the same time, Rachel, with the help of her two friends, sets out to find evidence that the well-known and prosperous Trent Kalamack is running Brimstone - the drug du jour. By bringing Trent to justice Rachel hopes such heroics will take I.S. off her back permanently. Naturally things become much more complicated and dangerous than anyone ever anticipated.
Harrison has created an urban fantasy world with a brilliant aura of reality. Readers are totally immersed in Rachel's realm and empathize with her frantic hope to simply survive. Part of the fun of reading Harrison's novel is watching the author get Rachel into really deep dodo and then find some clever way to get her out.
I read this book not long after publication, but this is the first time I've written about it. I'll be reading the rest of the series in order since I know that the characters and story line follow a definite course.
Dead Witch Walking (Eos, 2004) is book one in what has become a popular series. Book six, The Outlaw Demon Wails, came out in February of this year.