Oh look at how she listens. She says nothing of what she thinks. She just goes stumbling through her memories, staring out on to Grey Street. Let’s walk some grey streets with Greywalker, by Kat Richardson.
Following a savage, near-fatal attack, private detective Harper Blaine discovers that she has become a Greywalker, and now has the ability to move between the ordinary world and a mysterious, cross-over zone populated by monsters.
I have a confession to make, dear readers: when I first began reading Greywalker, I was surprised to find out that the main character is female. I had only picked the book up for cheap at a used book sale on a whim, so I didn’t know anything about it going in except the title and that it was filed under urban fantasy. Furthermore, it’s written from a first person perspective, and it’s not until the second chapter that anyone addresses Harper with a gendered pronoun. There were hints, like mention of her long hair; but reading the words “private detective” just instantly made me picture Humphrey Bogart by default and the book didn’t provide any information to override that image. I suppose it’s also because I’m used to urban fantasy with male private detectives – Simon R. Green’s Nightside series, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Tim Waggoner’s Nekropolis Archive, and so on. I suppose I should note that the cover image is supposed to depict a woman, but it has some kind of shiny grey filter effect on it and my copy was too faded for me to tell until I inspected it closely. In any event, I felt kind of embarrassed when I reached chapter two and realized my mistake.
With that out of the way, Greywalker is your fairly standard urban fantasy detective story. After a near-death experience, Harper Blaine discovers that she has gained the Sixth Sense. With her newfound power to see dead people, she gets wrapped up in a case involving a power play in the vampire underground. Harper must discover the full extent and nature of her new Greywalker powers in order to survive the vicious plots and intrigues of the bloodsuckers.
If anything about the story struck me as odd, it’s that Harper ends up siding with Edward rather than Alice in the clash of the vampire factions. Edward just seems like an all-around horrible and untrustworthy guy; in particular, there’s that tale about how he once betrayed his partner and used human sacrifice-fueled magic to cause an earthquake which killed hundreds of people. It’s made clear that this behavior was completely over the line, even by vampire standards. Now, I’m sure Alice is no saint, but there’s never any indication that she’s done anything so bad as that. If it just so happens to be revealed in a later book of the series that she, just to pick a hypothetical example, is acting as the pawn of an ancient Egyptian god-vampire who seeks to overthrow Edward only as the first step of his diabolical plan to throw the entire world into chaos, there’s no indication of it in this book. Sure, it’s possible that Harper’s decision will turn out to be correct in retrospect, but that doesn’t mean it makes sense in the moment – rather than making her come off as a good judge of character, it just makes her come off like she’s read spoilers from future scripts and become aware of the fact that Alice is a villain before that fact has actually been revealed to the reader. …You know, hypothetically.
In any case, this book was interesting enough that I decided to stick with the series. Keep tuning in for more Greywalker reviews.
Final Rating: 3/5