Published 2009 351 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Seattle investigator Harper Blaine was your average small-time PI until she dies – for two minutes. Now Harper is a Greywalker, treading the thin line between the living world and the paranormal realm. But why did she – as opposed to others with near death experiences – become a Greywalker?
When Harper begins digging into her own past, she unearths some unpleasant truths. Before she can continue her search, Harper gets an offer she can't refuse: to go to London and pursue an investigation on behalf of some very demanding vampires.
Nasty surprises await Harper in London, however, especially when she discovers her trouble in England is entangled with her dark past back in Seattle - and her ultimate destiny as a Greywalker.
Vanished is the fourth novel in Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series. Each novel continues the adventures and investigations of Harper Blaine, a private detective who can see and interact with the paranormal realm known as the Grey. The Grey is a complex jumble of ghosts, chunks of time, forgotten places and magic that is interwoven with reality and is connected to the energy grid that powers the Grey. It’s not the easiest concept to understand and for that reason I would recommend readers unfamiliar with this series to read the Greywalker books in order, rather than starting here.
Greywalker, the first book in this series saw Harper discover the Grey for the first time and take her first steps into that paranormal world. Her abilities didn’t come with an instruction manual so as she stumbled into the Grey she had to work out for herself what was happening to her and find the boundaries of her new talent. Along the way she forged new relationships, made new friends and gained dangerous enemies. In Vanished, Harper is now more accepting and confident of her unusual abilities but she still wonders how she ended up with her Greywalking abilities when other people with near death experiences haven’t.
The opening pages of Vanished see Harper dropped straight into the thick of a new mystery when she received a phone call from an old (and long dead) boyfriend who tells her that “it’s not what you think” and that she needs to look into her past. Armed with just this cryptic message Harper returns to her childhood home in LA and starts an investigation into her past. She reveals some uncomfortable facts about her father but before she can find out exactly how it relates to her Greywalking abilities she is called back to Seattle to take on an investigation for the city’s head vampire. That investigation takes her to London where she discovers that her past, her father and her abilities as a Greywalker are all tied up with her current investigations.
Vanished leaves rainy Seattle far-behind with the majority of the story being set in London. Accurate descriptions of London’s inhabitants, scenery and transport give the story a wealth of realistic detail all of which is then given an imaginative supernatural coating as Harper negotiates the Grey in this ancient city. Vampires infest Clerkenwell, ghost trains run through the Tube and an Egyptian goddess guards the door to Sotheby’s auction house to name but a few of the paranormal treats in store for readers.
All the Greywalker books are supernatural mysteries and Vanished is no exception. Harper’s investigations are realistically grounded in the mundane normal world. She follows paper-trails and does a lot of leg work like most non-paranormal PIs rather than relying on magic to solve the mystery. The mystery element of the story is complex and the clues well hidden - making Vanished a treat for mystery fans too.
Following on from the exciting monster-hunting Underground, Vanished is another strong addition to the Greywalker series. Populated with untrustworthy and unpleasant vampires there is no shortage of excitement for vampire fans. Throw in ghosts, goddesses, poltergeists and golems combined with a solid mystery and there is plenty here to entertain even the most demanding urban fantasy or mystery fan. While Vanished is a self-contained story and doesn’t end on a cliff hanger there is the feeling that this is only the start of a much larger story and personally I can’t wait to find out what happens to Harper Blaine next…
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