The toughest case yet for Greywalker and P.I. Harper Blaine, “a great heroine” (“New York Times” bestselling author Charlaine Harris), has arrived.
Harper Blaine was your average small-time P.I. until she died-for two minutes. Now Harper is a Greywalker-walking the line between the living world and the paranormal realm. And she’s discovering that her new abilities are landing her in all sorts of “strange cases.”
But for Harper, her own case may prove the most difficult to solve. Why did she-as opposed to others with near-death experiences-become a Greywalker? When Harper digs into her own past, she unearths some unpleasant truths about her father’s early death as well as a mysterious puzzle. Forced by some very demanding vampires to take on an investigation in London, she soon discovers her present troubles in England are entangled with her dark past back in Seattle-and her ultimate destiny as a Greywalker.
Kat Richardson ranks right up there with Ilona Andrews for me in terms of well-written urban fantasy and strong female protagonists. I love a good lady PI (as evidenced by my love of Veronica Mars) and adding in ghosts, vampires, and other creepy-crawlies of the supernatural variety only makes things more interesting for me. (Good luck convincing Veronica Mars that ghosts exist.) In this fourth novel of the Greywalker series, we see some familiar faces (Quinton, for one, Harper’s transient boyfriend), but as Harper is forced to travel to California to confront her past, more new faces crop up. Harper’s mother is suitably vain and terrible, though it all seems to stem from a deep self-consciousness and fear of being alone, which made me feel sorry for her, really, and we learn some hard facts about Harper’s father as well, ones Harper did not know herself. Throw in a dead ex-boyfriend or two, and Harper’s poor brain is thrown all out of whack. Now, I am a desensitized reader. While I don’t really enjoy gore, I am not usually freaked out by supernatural happenings in books. This one, even in the very beginning, actually scared me. The descriptions of “the watchers” made me turn all the lights on in my bedroom while reading at night. Is there anything creepier than faceless forms watching you from the shadows? Ah!
So right off the bat, Harper is taken out of her comfort zone (literally, as she takes a job from Edward and heads to London) and is confronted with uncomfortable feelings that she doesn’t really want to deal with (grief for her father and grief for and anger toward a man who misled her during their relationship). It turns out there’s quite a bit of weird death in her family, and Harper is afraid she’s starting to have premonitions, despite being assured by Mara Danziger that Harper is in no way psychic. London is always a good choice for all things fantasy, given its long, and sometimes violent, history. I mean, if anywhere is infested with ghosts, it’s London, right? And as always, I love the way Richardson describes the Grey and its inhabitants, twisting, reforming, “steam-shapes” that range from merely curious to indifferent to dangerous. I also enjoy the mythical creatures, the names of which Harper rarely knows, and how terribly gross they usually are in the Grey. I like the loose supernatural basis on “real” creatures (or creatures that exist in our mythology, anyway). I am not really a stickler on lore; as long as the author creates something that makes sense, I enjoy it. So seeing so many different legendary names in one place was interesting and seeing how each new person or personality was handled is always more important to me than sticking to the rules. I loved Sekhmet, which is sort of unusual due to my relative disinterest in all things ancient Egyptian, but she was maybe the most intriguing of the supernatural creatures we meet in the first half. I also have a soft spot for impatient, somewhat homicidal goddesses (what that says about me, you decide).
There’s a big focus on vampires and their Egyptian origins in this one, and that’s what I like. Vampires coming from Egypt? Seems counterproductive with all the sun, right? But I like this departure from the standard Eastern European lore, and Richardson makes interesting an ancient culture that I, in particular, have no real interest in (outside of cat worship. I practice that everyday). I am also a bit of an Anglophile, so the London setting did it for me. The story kept me engaged and interested, especially since Harper seems to be learning a lot of new, pertinent information. I plan to read the new Kate Daniels novel before moving on to the next in the Greywalker series, Labyrinth. I’m looking forward to it!
An Unrelated Note: Man, I have been a bad blogger. Circumstances have been difficult for me this year, plus I’m having a baby in
five three weeks (omg), so my presence continues to be sporadic. Ashley does a great job managing the blog herself and keeping it going; I want to give her a huge round of applause and say thanks for all she does. ❤