Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Downpour -- Kat Richardson

Back in 2006, I picked up the paperback of Greywalker because the title intrigued me. I started reading and I couldn't stop. I told several friends about the series and predicted it would be one to follow.

Downpour is the sixth book in that series. The title fits in more ways than just describing Washington State's weather. Private Investigator, Harper Blaine, is literally deluged with trouble. She is still recovering from a shooting where she's died for the third time (that she knows of) and returned to this world. One more death and that's it for her. As she says, "Getting shot's not like it looks in the movies." It's been six months, and she's just now getting back on her feet. Harper's got an important job tasked to her the first time she came back from the dead: to help the denizens of the Grey, the space in between here and The Big Sleep.

Since "ghosts and vampires don't pay the bills." Her initial assignment is traveling up the Olympic Peninsula to a place called Crescent Lake on a follow-up of a background check for a regular legal client. The witness she's investigating, Darin Shea, seems wrong to her, but the surroundings are even worse. "Blood Lake" the locals call the place and that fits better.

Harper's working on the Shea background when she stumbles upon a burning car. She tries to rescue the driver only to discover the accident is not happening in the here-and-now, but in the Grey. When she runs the tag, she discovers the driver, Stephen Leung, has been missing for some time and nobody's filed a report. As a Greywalker, she's obligated to help solve this case so Leung can earn his rest.

Add to that, Seattle PD Detective Rey Solis is on her case about the disappearance of her ex, Will Novak. Harper could tell him what really happened, but he's definitely not going to believe her.

Downpour is even more atmospheric than its predecessors which mostly take place in Seattle. Blood Lake's an eerie and fascinating setting and the skillfully woven intertwined plots will keep you guessing long into the night.

I confess, I'm getting tired of the "kick butt heroine" that urban fantasy spawned. Instead of the tank tops and tramp stamps, Harper wears regular clothes and carries her ferret Chaos around. Harper's got weaknesses, but she's making the best of her lot with humor and intellect. I enjoy Harper's relationship with her current squeeze, an off-the-grid computer genius named Quinton and the "carpet shark" Chaos. Think you get all the fun of having a ferret around without the nasty chores.

It is possible to read Downpour without its predecessors. Richardson has woven enough backstory in without annoying infodump to give new readers a heads up and old readers a refresher. Still, I'd recommend that you start from the beginning if you enjoy noirish fantasy with a Raymond Chandler flavor. Here's the Greywalker series in order:

1. Greywalker
2. Poltergeist
3. Vanished
4. Underground
5. Labyrinth
6. Downpour

No comments:

Post a Comment