Published 2010 350 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
After being shot in the back and dying – again – Greywalker Harper Blaine's only respite from the chaos is her work. But while conducting a pre-trial investigation in the Olympic Peninsula, she sees a ghostly car accident whose victim insists that he was murdered and that the nearby community of Sunset Lakes is to blame.
Harper soon learns that the icy waters of the lake hide a terrible power, and a host of hellish beings under the thrall of a sinister cabal that will use the darkest of arts to achieve their fiendish ends...
Downpour is the sixth book in Kat Richardson’s Greywalker urban fantasy mystery series. As ever, the story focuses on the investigations of Harper Blaine, private investigator and Greywalker. If you haven’t read any of the previous books in this series then the terms “Grey” and “Greywalker” will mean little to you. This is a series that needs to be read in order, so don’t even consider picking up this volume – start at the beginning with Greywalker and save yourself much confusion.
At the start of Downpour Harper is once again recovering from another brush with death. It isn’t the first time she’s died (based on her love of dangerous mysteries it probably won’t be the last either) yet each death has changed her life profoundly. The first gave her the ability to see and interact with the “Grey” a paranormal world that overlaps our own. Her latest death was the cumulation of a plot line that spanned Vanished and Labyrinth (books four and five in the series) and dialled back her Greywalker powers to a more manageable level.
Harper is doing some routine pre-trial background checks in the Olympic Peninsular area of Washington state (with all the accompanying pop culture references to sparkly vampires and dewy-eyed teenaged girls) when a burning ghostly car accident victim asks her to investigate his death. A simple records search indicates that the accident was never recorded lending weight to the ghost’s claim that he was murdered. Further examination of the local area shows that there is something very wrong with the “Grey” around the lakes.
“Something very wrong” is my succinct definition of what is going on with the supernatural in this area. The author however takes much, much longer to get to the point. There are lights, noises and coloured magical power lines in the lake, something is stirring up the Grey but I never felt that I really knew what was going on for most of the fantasy parts of the story. As Harper stumbles around investigating who killed the burning man the reader is often left stumbling through an increasingly jumbled Grey landscape. This reminds me of earlier works in the series where the Grey was often written to be confusing rather than magical.
On the plus side, Harper’s investigative work is completely solid. Mystery fans can enjoy the solid who-dun-it plotting and the process of unmasking the murderer. There are some interesting additions to the supernatural cast with Voodoo mages and Chinese demons taking the place of the usual vampires and monsters for the duration of this story. The Chinese demons may seem an odd choice for such a remote rural area in the US but they perfect sense in the context of the story.
Ultimately I just couldn’t get into Downpour as easily as I had previous Greywalker books. Uneven pacing and Grey confusion left me struggling to maintain interest for the entire book. Perseverance was rewarded at the end when Harper revealed the murderer in classic murder mystery style, explaining the clues she found along the way. Sadly, I’m still pretty much clueless about what was going on in the Grey for the majority of the story…
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