Sunday, August 3, 2008

“Underground” by Kat Richardson

FROM THE BOOKCOVER:
Harper Blaine was your average small-time P.I. until she died—for two minutes. Now Harper is 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 cold of winter, Pioneer Square's homeless are turning up dead and mutilated, and zombies have been seen roaming the underground—the city buried beneath modern Seattle. When Harper's friend Quinton believes he may be implicated in the deaths, he persuades her to investigate their mysterious cause.

Harper and Quinton discover in the city’s past a pattern to the deaths that points to an inhuman killer stalking the modern citizens of the Underground and raising the dead in its wake. But when Harper turns to the city’s vampire denizens for help, they want nothing to do with her or with the investigation.

For this creature is no vampire. Someone has unleashed a monster of ancient legend upon the Underground, and Harper must deal with both the living and the dead to find the creature and put a stop to it…unless it stops her first.
Underground is the third book in the Greywalker series following Greywalker (2006) and Poltergeist (2007). It is one of my favourite urban fantasy series, highly original and bursting with unique interpretations of supernatural creatures and events and that is something special in a very crowded paranormal book marketplace. It stands apart.

Seattle always features prominently in the Greywalker books, but is particularly central to this story supplying a rich historical background and gritty and mysterious settings. It is very atmospheric, laden with foreboding and chills (literally and figuratively).

A strong opening line in the Prologue sets the stage -
“If ghosts and monsters had someone else to harass, my life would have been a lot quieter, like it was before I died.”
What more can you ask? Harper Blaine continues to learn and explore her control and understanding of her abilities within the “grey” and she appears more confident and proactive then in the past. And her skills are definitely needed to solve and confront the supernatural creature that is the core of the mystery she needs to solve.

Quinton a key, but minor character in previous installments, plays a significant role here and is shaping up to be a major and welcome influence in Harper’s life. They work well together and jointly share many of the well choreographed action sequences which are tense, taught and intelligent.

Underground is a great detective story and as with many good mysteries introduces an interesting red herring that reappears at end of book—a teaser perhaps that may or may not be important in the next book. The novel can be read as a standalone, but may be even better appreciated if you have read the previous books, not so much to be familiar with the various minor characters, but to fully enjoy the back story of the “grey”, Richardson’s unique vision of the co-existing paranormal realm and Harper Blaine, one of the genres most interesting and fascinating heroines. The series and this book should be on everyone’s “must read” list.

Read the Prologue and Chapter 1.

3 comments:

  1. Great review, Doug. I've spotted Greywalker in the bookstore before but always passed it over. Won't happen again now. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Must be something in the water because a lot of really good writers seen to come from the Pacific Northwest.

    ReplyDelete

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