Poltergeist (Greywalker, book 1) by Kat Richardson
Harper Blaine was your average small-time PI 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 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.
Richardson really shows off her skills here! It was beyond entertaining seeing the theory and science behind making a poltergeist, and then watching where the real thing starts happening. Especially when it's a psychopath using a poltergeist to kill. What a unique and very disturbing idea. It's refreshing to see science and magic meet in such a realistic blend. Which was what I loved about Greywalker, and what I'm beginning to think is this series strong point. Don't get me wrong I love outrageous magic and critters, but being able to believe it's real. Now that's where it gets fun.
Harper was quite the loner in the first installment, which I get you want to keep people at arms length when you're having doubts about your own sanity. Poltergeist shows that Harper isn't a loner and even has a really cool “adopted” family. Her relationship with the Danzigers is developing, bordering on friendship and work help. Her long distance relationship with Will Novak is actually a go. What I like is that the development is real, and while not the focus of the story it adds something human. That vital piece of trying to be normal and yet drowning in a new world that few know about.
Harper is still leery about the Grey and the world she's having to step into. But what I like is that she can admit that she has wasted time learning what she clearly is going to have to deal with. She's not normal anymore and the sooner she learns the more she can protect herself and others. There's also a glimpse into how good Harper is, not willing to just let people deal with things they aren't even aware are going on in the supernatural. Even more is that Harper even decides that learning from kids is OK if it helps her understand her powers more. That's an amazing character in my book.
The psychology and case studies of haunting/poltergeists is a fascinating read here. Though I will admit at times even my brain tuned out during some of the hypothesizing and other academic talk. A lot of times I thought that a two sentence response, or less could have summed things up nicely. But hey, let the brainiac characters free! It does make them feel more authentic, even if my mind checked out once or twice. Harper is on a case to prove that a poltergeist experiment isn't being tampered, and also discovers money fraud, and has to deal with a murder case. Watching how she handles herself with legal aspects in mind to make sure she doesn't cross the cops, and make sure she can't be incremented and used as a scapegoat is amazing to watch! Most of the time books are so sloppy about police procedure, legal issues, and so on.
Poltergeist is a murder mystery, physiological thriller, and so much more. While the world of the vampires isn't delved into any deeper, it still shows off the magic well. The true power is the mix of science and magic to make everything feel as if it really could be part of our world. That the leaps taken in the book, could be taken in real life. A real treat! Richardson has setup a great cast here to get to know for later books. Not to mention stable stepping stones into her unique take on the mystical as she eases readers, along with Harper, into the world of the Grey.
Sexual Content: Clean, some sexual humor, and references to sex.
4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.
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