Published 2006 340 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Harper Blaine is a small-time private investigator trying to earn a living when a low-life savagely assaults her, leaving her for dead. For two minutes, to be precise.
When Harper comes to in the hospital, she begins to feel a bit ...strange. She sees things that can only be described as weird-shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist, snarling teeth, creatures roaring.
But Harper's not crazy. Her "death" has made her a Greywalker - able to move between our world and the mysterious, cross-over zone where things that go bump in the night exist. And her new gift (or curse) is about to drag her into that world of vampires and ghosts, magic and witches, necromancers and sinister artefacts. Whether she likes it or not.
Greywalker is the first novel in a series by Kat Richardson following the adventures of Harper Blaine, a private investigator who, after being so badly beaten that she briefly died, suddenly gains the ability to see ghosts. This world of the paranormal is like a misty film over the real world and is called the Grey. Harper can not only see the Grey but interact with it too, hence the term “Greywalker”.
At first, I wasn’t sure that I was going to like reading Greywalker. I found it initially hard to engage with the story. Even though the story was told in first person by Harper, the long and (to me) slightly bewildering descriptions of the Grey kept getting in my way. There were a couple of parts of the story where I have to be honest and I say that I wasn’t really sure what was going on. Shapes in the mist, feelings of dread, bad smells… I’m sure that something was happening - I’m just not sure what it was!
Oddly, it was the crime and mystery, the private investigator parts of the story, which hooked my attention and kept me reading. Early on in the story Harper is hired on a couple of seemingly mundane cases. One is a missing person case and the other is tracking down a piece of furniture, a lost family heirloom. Both these cases soon turn out to be far from mundane as they are both connected to the paranormal. The story soon heats up with break-ins and attacks that put Harper in danger in both the real world and the Grey.
Soon, Harper is forced to readjust her thinking on what is and isn’t possible as she crosses paths with vampires, witches, necromancers and other supernatural creatures that scare the crap out of her.
Ultimately I think I enjoyed Greywalker as much as I did because although Harper is dropped into this whole new paranormal world she actually has no special powers or strengths to deal with the paranormal – she is still human but she just has the ability to see and travel through the paranormal world. The way she approaches her investigations as still based in the human world too, making phone calls, asking questions, checking records and lots of legwork – all typical PI stuff.
The vampires in Greywalker are typically manipulative and scary. They exist in both the Grey and the real world at the same time. Their mythology is fairly standard – they are undead, feed on blood and have vampire mojo but can’t stand sunlight, have to sleep in the day, cast no reflection and need to sleep in the dirt of their home.
Overall Greywalker is a fast paced and exciting read populated with both believable and likable characters. To me the mystery and PI parts of this book made this story and were stronger than the urban fantasy elements but Greywalker has enough intriguing and original fantasy ideas in it to make reading the second novel in this series (Poltergeist) a must.
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