Contemporary fantasy meets urban noir in Richardson’s intriguing debut.
Following a savage assault, PI Harper Blaine lies clinically dead for two minutes. When she recovers, her perception of Seattle will never be the same. Along with mundane reality, she sees blowing grey mist and people who aren’t solid. Fearing for her sanity, she consults university professor Mara Danziger, who claims to be a witch. Mara tells confused, disbelieving Harper that the grey mist is the paranormal dimension, occupied by ghosts, monsters and other unspeakable things. Harper’s head injury has turned her into a “greywalker” who can not only perceive the grey but touch and enter it—if she has the skill and the courage. Mara’s resident ghost, Albert, isn’t too scary, but both of Harper’s current cases take alarming paranormal twists. Missing college kid Cameron Shadley has been transformed into a vampire. Cameron’s problem, aside from his overprotective mother, is that the vampire who bit him didn’t bother to provide the requisite survival skills. Harper’s other client, the sinister Grigori Sergeyev, manages to phone her office even when the phone line is down. Sergeyev wants her to recover a missing heirloom that, it transpires, is a focus of terrible necromantic power. Love interest Will Novak, an auctioneer, suspects his boss is ripping him off. And electronics whiz and fix-it guy Quinton, whom Harper consults after her office is broken into, clearly knows more than he’s telling. To solve both cases, Harper may be forced to combine them—as well as learn how to survive inside the grey itself.
Well-produced, pleasingly peopled, with a strong narrative and plenty of provocative plot lines: a superb beginning to the series that’s unquestionably in the offing.