Downpour (Greywalker, Book 6)
Kat Richardson is one of those authors that I buy on faith. I’ve enjoyed her books enough over the years that I figure that it’s a safe bet. But any author can have trouble with transition novels—stories that come right after the wrapping up of storylines that span multiple books. The latest Greywalker novel, Downpour, has some vestiges of this problem but mostly manages to sustain its momentum.
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“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…”
The problems that I alluded to in the introduction to this review are mostly ones of pacing. The previous novel was the culmination of a lot of the events that had driven the series to that point. Here, Harper is operating at a much lower power level than she has in the past, and her job takes her far from the people and places that she normally interacts with. Even though she goes back to Seattle a couple of times during the story, she rarely sees anybody that she knows. Even her boyfriend Quinton doesn’t appear for any lengthy stretch until the last quarter of the book. It’s a lot of running around without most of what readers know to help ground them.
Some of the early sections of the novel are livened up by Harper’s ferret, aptly named Chaos. It’s already been established that she can sense certain instances of paranormal activity, so she’s not just a ride-along comic relief—she contributes to the action. Although frankly, the chuckles that I got from her antics were welcome as well.
On the plus side, Richardson always does her research on any area that she plans to use in a novel, and Downpour is no exception. The lake area where the story is set contains its own share of weird and wacky stories, some of which appear in the book. They feed into the author’s story and give it depth. And this is a tale chock-full of magic of all different kinds. Not only is there the familiar “greywalker” powers that Harper uses, but there are characters who use voodoo and those who control Chinese demons. There’s a lot to keep readers interested.
While not my favorite in the series, Downpour is a solid addition to the Greywalker series. It serves as a transition to a new set of adventures for Harper and it introduces readers to some of Washington state’s colorful history. I’ll be interested to see where Richardson takes Harper and her friends in the next novel.
Also by this author: Greywalker, Labyrinth, Mean Streets (novella), Poltergeist, Underground
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on September 10, 2011.