poltergeist by kat richardson

Posted on September 6, 2009


When those children showed Harper how to get in sideways, the special effects were Eerie, Indiana in the park. Loved it.

PoltergeistHarper Blaine is a Greywalker. After being dead for two minutes, she found that she can travel the grey realms between the living and the dead. Clumsy in the first book, always falling and bumping into the things that go bump in the night, she is now more proficient with her newly found skill, complementing her own remarkable set of investigative skills.

With Greywalker, I was intrigued, and I hoped the series will get better. Glad to say it did. Much. And that mist I mentioned between me and Harper? Forget it. Something shifted, or it drew me in so subtly that I was within this Grey Zone, where our intrepid heroine goes to talk to ghosts and other paranormal entities for answers in solving her cases, without me realizing it was happening.

Gone was the disconnection. The writing is edgier, offering plausible-sounding, sometimes overly technical, explanations to paranormal phenomena. Featuring characters with more depth, that are so interesting that I was riveted watching them interact and give away subtle clues about the poltergeist messing up a university experiment, the sequel has definitely stepped up. Harper has to figure out if the poltergeist is the real deal—a ghost or product of the research group’s combined energy… or just someone’s idea of a very deadly trick.

Harper herself has also become more human to me; her ferret, Chaos, has quite an interesting personality herself. The old associates are still around: the mysterious IT expert Quin, university professors and paranormal enthusiasts, Ben and Mara, and some new faces.

The vampires of the first book are still in the background, lurking, I feel, for some objective Harper can’t imagine what. One of them is her mentor—of sorts, offering her vital information about the creatures of the Grey  and how to stop them. There are threads, I fear, that would spun out only at the opportune time; meanwhile, vampires and Greywalking private investigator can be allies—of sorts.

As intriguing as the fantasy elements are, it is the real life events—the 1970s Phillips experiment to create a poltergeist with the power of thought, the Women’s Auxilliary Army Corps in WWI, and the Wah Mee massacre in Seattle’s Chinatown—framing the story that delivered the coup for me. When what should be imaginary fall out of the cracks in reality, it’s fascinating. But if what was completely real cement the cracks in fantasy for a convincing show, it’s breathtaking.