Tuesday, April 10, 2007

"Greywalker" by Kat Richardson

Here we go, readers - something new and interesting! Yes, it's on the paranormal side, but not so much on the romance. Actually published by ROC Fantasy, a division of Penguin, this is a debut novel by KR.

Harper Blaine is a private investigator, just barely making ends meet, when she is brutally attacked by one of the perp's she's been tracking. It's a vicious assault, one that leaves her clinically dead for two minutes. That's just enough time for her to return to the land of the living as something not quite human. As she soon finds out, she is now a "greywalker", someone who can move between the world of the living and the dead. This is not the kind of news that a hard-nosed PI is comfortable hearing, and Harper pretty much tries to ignore her new abilities.

Not easily done, as it turns out. Not wanting to believe in the Grey, Harper finds herself drifting in and out of it without meaning to; she also finds herself dodging people that aren't really there. It makes for some embarrassing public scenes, as well as some incredibly unpleasant physical side effects. In the meantime, she's taken on a missing persons case that will blow that world wide open. I won't go into that too much here, but let's just say she finds out she's not the only "not exactly human" thing roaming the Seattle streets.

There's an interesting blend of characters here. Harper herself is a nice change of pace, a heroine who doesn't really want to be one, a person of extraordinary abilities who feels very human in her shortcomings. While it might seem whiny to some, I found her constant complaining about the Grey and its effects very normal - I mean, how well would you handle having your whole world turned upside-down? I really liked her "security" guy, Quinton, a bit of a shady character who none-the-less shows some real possibilities, including a romantic interest down the road. (way down the road, I think - but then again, maybe KR isn't going that direction. Hard to tell). The missing person and his family aren't so bad, not exactly what I was hoping for, but not as cliched as they might have been. Then there's the couple who try to help Harper with her new abilities, Ben and Mara Danziger. They are so well-written, I often felt like I was there in the room with them! Ben is a theory-guy, while Mara is a real witch - and both are professors at university. Their concern for Harper feels quite real, and I think they're going to be important allies in the coming books.

Yes, readers, this is the start of a beautiful series. Or at least, I hope so. The second book, "Poltergeist", will be out this fall. Check out this little gem in the meantime.

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