Published 2007 338 pages
Summary (taken from book jacket)
Harper Blaine was just an average small-time private investigator until she died - for two minutes. Now she's a Greywalker - walking the thin line between the living world and the paranormal realm. And she's discovering that her new abilities are landing her all sorts of "strange" cases.
In the days leading up to Halloween, Harper's been hired by a university research group that is attempting to create an artificial poltergeist. The head researcher suspects someone is deliberately faking the phenomena, but Harper's investigation reveals something else entirely - they've succeeded.
And when one of the group's members is killed in a brutal and inexplicable fashion, Harper must determine whether the killer is the ghost itself, or someone all too human.
Poltergeist is the follow up to Kat Richardson’s debut novel Greywalker. The events in Poltergeist happen several months on from the events in Greywalker and although some of the characters from Greywalker make repeat appearances, Poltergeist this is essentially a self-contained stand alone story.
Greywalker introduced readers to the Grey, a layer of broken time and dead things that exists alongside reality only visible to those who are in someway paranormal. Ghosts exist solely in the Grey; vampires exist both in the Grey and in reality - a bit like Harper Blaine, the protagonist of these stories. Harper became qualified to see the Grey when she died for two minutes after a brutal physical assault. She was revived by medics but left able to both see and interact with the Grey paranormal realm.
My one criticism of Greywalker was that introducing readers to the realm of the Grey made Greywalker hard to get into. The descriptions of the swirling grey mists and jumbled things that Harper suddenly found she could see interrupted the flow of the story and effectively slowed the reader down rather than speeding them along with Harper’s discoveries. Poltergeist suffers from none of these problems. The Grey descriptions are concise and relevant, helping to suck the reader into the story rather than turning them off it.
Poltergeist is foremost a detective novel. It has strong fantasy elements but Harper Blaine is a private investigator and, even though she exists a world where the paranormal has been revealed to her, she still investigates in the traditional PI manner. She asks questions, checks records, does a little discrete surveillance – all the while working out who is telling lies and finding out what facts don’t fit.
In Poltergeist she is investigating the creation of a poltergeist in a psychological experiment. Soon the poltergeist is out of the control of the group who created it and Harper has to find out which secretly psychopathic group member has taken control of the entity. Unfortunately there is no shortage of candidates for her to pick from once she starts uncovering the backgrounds of the group members.
Kat Richardson cleverly mixes reality – odd psychological experiments of the 1970’s and techniques used by dodgy mediums – with fantasy to create an intelligent and exciting supernatural mystery for Harper to investigate. During the course of the story Harper needs the help and advice of Carlos, who is both a powerful vampire and necromancer. Although there isn’t as much vampire content in Poltergeist as there was in Greywalker there still enough to give vampire fans no cause for complaint.
Poltergeist makes a faster-paced, more engaging read and it should prove to be especially popular with fantasy fans who also like crime/mystery novels.
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