When it rains, it pours. So, you’d better get out your umbrella; because today, I’m sitting down and pouring out my feelings about Downpour, by Kat Richardson.
Harper Blaine was your average small-time PI until she died—for two minutes. Now Harper is a Greywalker, treading 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. After being shot in the back and dying—again—Harper has lost many of her powers. Now, if the Greywalker dies one more time, she won’t be coming back. Harper’s only respite from the chaos is her work. But while conducting an investigation in the Olympic Peninsula, she sees a ghostly car accident and finds a victim who insists he was murdered, blaming the nearby picturesque community of Sunset Lakes—called “Blood Lake” by locals. Harper soon learns that beneath the icy waters of the lake hides a terrible power and a host of hellish beings—both of which are held under the thrall of a sinister cabal that will use the darkest of arts to achieve their fiendish ends…
The last book in the Greywalker series was something of a disappointment, but Downpour seems to have gotten things back on track.
After Harper’s death and resurrection at the end of the previous book, her Greywalker powers have gotten rebooted. While adjusting to the alterations to her abilities, Harper has been taking on primarily Muggle jobs – but a chance encounter with the ghost of a cold-case murder victim sets her on an investigative path that leads right into the Grey. Something has destabilized an extremely potent magical hotspot known as Blood Lake, resulting in a great flood of power free for the taking. All sorts of witches, sorcerers, and unsavory supernatural creatures have been drawn to the lake to try and steal as much of its magical bounty for themselves as they can. The result is a highly fractious group of greedy mages who are continually fighting one another for control of the lake’s power, except when they’re teaming up against anyone actually trying to fix the problem with the lake and stop the magic leakage. Many are the suspects for the crime Harper has come to investigate, and each of them is certainly guilty of at least something; the difficulty lies in figuring out which one in particular is the murderer Harper’s after, and how to fix the lake without any of the greedy mages using it deciding to turn her into the next victim.
The plot was clever, and it kept me guessing the whole way through as to who was guilty – or rather, who specifically was guilty of what, since there was hardly a clean pair hands amongst the lot of them. The suspects got enough intriguing characterization to make me interested in all of them to a great or lesser extent: the inhuman leyweaver who twists lines of magic energy into air; the half-insane voodoo-man who commands a small army of zombies to defend his territory; the witch who inherited a house built on a prime power nexus but was forced to leave it due to going on the run from the law, and the sister who usurped control of the nexus in her absence but has grown weak and sickly due to her enemies stealing her life when they siphon the lake’s power; and lastly but most interestingly, Jin the yaoguai – a demon of greed which was able to escape the Chinese underworld through a poorly cast spell. Naturally, he knows a whole lot more than he’s saying, but he drops a few hints that receiving some sufficiently rare and expensive gifts would likely loosen his lips.
Overall, I thought the story was pretty decent. Not good enough for me to increase my ranking to “Great”; but certainly better than the previous book, which ended up with a rating of “Poor”. In other words, it was “Good” – three out of five stars on my rating system. Onwards and upwards, Greywalker series! Let’s keep this upward trend going for the final few books and end the series with a perfect climactic volume.
Final Rating: 3/5