My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In Poltergeist, the second novel in the Graywalker series written by Kat Richardson, we research a scientific experiment to create a ghost. Richardson recreates 1970’s Philip experiment which challenged a group of people to create a poltergeist, a spirit being that can move objects and make knocking noises.
This story is about Professor Gartner Tuckman who hires our heroine, Harper Blaine, to investigate and find the individual who is interfering with the results of his psychology experiment. Harper, known as a P.I.who specializes in the unconventional, is suspicious of the professor who is conducting an experiment to create a ghost when the professor obviously doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Having first-hand experience with things that go bump-in-the-night, Harper realizes that she’ll have to prove that no one is messing with the experiment to prove that something not human is making an appearance.
Helping Harper track down this ghost-experiment malfunction is the techno-savvy Quincy who is able to review and evaluate all the high-tech equipment used to record the experiment. As we saw in the first book of the series, Graywalker, Quincy is efficient but secretive – living off the grid and below the radar of society. I have to admit that I crave for a little romance between these two, but as of yet their relationship is purely professional. (A reader can dream though, right?)
While Quincy brings the technology to this story, tension is the only word that can describe Harper’s interaction with Carlos, the vampire whom we also met in the first novel. Carlos is sexy and scary, but his vampire talents provide Harper with insight that she cannot gather herself. Any interaction with a vampire offers a potential for violence and it is not without some fear that Harper brings Carlos into this investigation. Richardson is able to make that fear and tension come alive on the page. You can almost feel Harper’s heart beat when Carlos is near, and I think it is safe to say that Carlos can sense that beating heart as well. Not a good thing when dealing with a vampire.
A Graywalker novel would not be complete without Harper’s fairy godmother-like friends the Danzigers. Ben, a professor, and Mara, a witch, provide Harper with advice and counsel and keep her grounded. While Mara has a practitioners approach to the supernatural, her husband Ben provides the theorist point of view. And to make sure that life isn’t too serious, the Danizgers’ young son Brian provides an endless source of child interaction and humor. It is with their counsel that Harper learns to control her special talents. You see that Harper can walk in the Gray world of ghost and spirits that the rest of us humans cannot see. The Gray is always there, but most of us aren’t attuned to the world where nightmares are real and vampires aren’t the deadliest predator.
Harper, The P.I.
Regardless of the long-distance romance between Harper and her boyfriend, the Graywalker series isn’t a paranormal romance. Emailing with the author, I discovered that Poltergeist was Richardson’s first idea for a story about gritty, no-nonsense P.I. of the paranormal. And I believe that Richardson succeeded in setting up her urban fantasy series with her first book, Graywalker. Harper is a classic P.I. in the tradition of Humphrey Bogart’s portrayal of Sam Spade in Maltese Falcon. If you like dark mysteries with a cast of suspects that would complicate a game of Clue, then Poltergeist and the Graywalker series are for you.
Kat Richardson’s website offers a wealth of Graywalker bonus material. Here is just a sample of what you can find.
• Short Story: ChemoTherapy
• On YouTube:
• Conversation with Kat Richardson
• Kat Richardson reading from Labyrinth (Greywalker #5) August 2010