Monday, April 29, 2019


by Kat Richardson
Recommended Ages: 15+

Seattle private eye Harper Blaine doesn't like spirit mediums, which is kind of funny, considering that she sees dead people. Nevertheless, she learns to respect one in this adventure, when they are brought together by a client whose sister has been exhibiting weird symptoms while lying in a persistent vegetative state. For example, the sister sits up in bed, grabs paints and a brush, and creates photo-realistic paintings of a place that nobody in the house can remember seeing before – yet that strikes Harper as familiar, somehow. It's like watching a marionette being controlled by a puppeteer.

Harper's investigation leads her to two more strange cases of local people who fell into persistent vegetative states around the same time, and who also seem to be calling out for help. Being a greywalker, in touch with the denizens of the Other Side and the In Between, Harper notices that there is a lot of abnormal ghost activity surrounding these people. This only adds to the weirdness of the behavior of three people whose condition, all by itself, is so rare that it shouldn't be statistically possible to find three such patients in a city the size of Seattle. Apparently, somebody, by which I mean something, is getting ready to make a big move in the gray (or rather, Grey) area between life and death, and it's probably going to mess things up for the people living (or not living) on both sides.

Meanwhile, Harper's main squeeze is having daddy issues. Quinton's dad is a super spy who has gone off the reservation, and is now trying to develop a project involving supernatural beings. While Quinton tries to sabotage whatever nefarious plot his father has in hand, Harper also receives a summons from one of her past clients, now the alpha vampire of the SeaTac metropolitan area, who is concerned about the disappearance of a, how do you say, pre-chrysalis vampire. Someone, somehow, has subverted the up-and-coming vamp's loyalty, creating a dangerous situation for the urban undead. As Harper's two lines of investigation become increasingly intertwined, she finds herself partnering not just with a genuine medium but also with a creature of the night, whom anyone would rather have as an ally than an enemy.

So, the dead and the undead of Seattle are definitely showing signs of great disturbance; and when they're disturbed, you're disturbed. Try it, and you'll agree. While Harper juggles romance, friendship, and the maintenance of a frisky pet ferret with her responsibilities as the guardian on the living side of the Grey, she must also race against the rapidly closing window of survival on three desperately imperiled victims, the swift approach of a soul-devouring evil, and whatever despicable thing her sort-of-father-in-law has planned. Plus, she has it on the authority of an immortal necromancer that simply killing the jerk won't solve anything. She's dealing with deep magic, and as the manifestations in the old part of town grow grimmer, she realizes that the world as she knows it is in deep trouble. It's the kind of challenge Harper Blaine has often risen to, and rise to it she does again, with a passion and urgency lightened by just the right amount of dry wit. Monsters take note: don't mess with this girl.

This is the eighth of nine Greywalker novels, combining private detective fiction with the paranormal. The next (and to date latest) installment is Revenant.

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