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on 2 September 2010
I had high hopes for this new series. I like the idea of a 'Greywalker', someone who moves easily between our ordinary, everyday human world, and the parallel world of supernatural beings. The concept fits in to the vampire, supernatural, magic, fantasy genre. So, I approached Kat Richardson with optimism. Unfortunately, she hasn't really delivered.

Greywalker is a coherent story that competently sets the scene for the heroine who is gradually learning about 'the Grey', what it is, and what her new role in it is to be. The plot is a bit thin but solid enough. However, I found the descriptions of 'the Grey' to be far too vague and, at times, boring. I can only imagine filmy grey menacing shapes, flickers on the edge of vision, the cold and smell of the Grey, a wavering silver projection on fog, and other such disparate images so many times before the repetition gets boring. The heroine always seemed to be falling in and out of the Grey. It pushed at her and she pushed back far too many times.Her inability to deal with this phenomenon, which was new and frightening to her, seemed to become a device for padding out the text. I think that Richardson missed out on creating a solid horror story that could have frightened the reader and left one feeling uneasy and edgy. A brave and frightened heroine who is strong and stubborn is interesting. A heroine who appears almost stubbornly stupid when she is in real danger, is not.

I may try the second novel because I suspect that Richardson may be on a learning curve and that her writing will get better. I hope so. As I said, I like the idea of a 'Greywalker'.
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on 17 October 2006
This came up in my recommendations, but without any detail as to the story or its quality. Seeing as I needed to get up to the free supersaver delivery level, I decided to take a chance on it. I am glad I did! Harper Blaine is a smalltime PI who, after being technically dead for a few minutes, comes back able to walk 'The Grey' - the place between life and death.

This is a new idea as far as I have read and the author takes it along with some snappy prose and obvious heart. I've read better - but not too much better!!
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on 19 October 2006
If you're anything like me, you'll hate not knowing a bit about a book before buying it, and there's no "blurb" here, so here's the back cover copy to give you a helping hand:

"Harper Blaine was slogging along as a small-time PI when a two-bit perp's savage assault left her dead.

For two minutes, to be precise.

When Harper comes to in the hospital, she begins to feel a bit...strange. She sees things that can only be described as weird - shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist, snarling teeth, creatures roaring.

But Harper's not crazy. Her "death" has made her a Greywalker - able to move between our world and the mysterious crossover zone where things that go bump in the night exist. And her new gift (or curse) is about to drag her into that world of vampires and ghosts, magic and witches, necromancers and sinister artifacts...

Whether she likes it or not."

Now whether teeth can "snarl" or not I'll leave up to you to decide but it's not really as exciting as the blurb makes it sound. It's pretty creepy, and atmospheric, but action-packed opener aside (when Harper is beaten to death), it's slow going. It's more PI type stuff in a fantasy setting, than vice-versa, which isn't really my thing, so if you're a crime novel buff with a thing for a bit of fantasy on the side this may be right up your alley.
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on 29 March 2007
Greywalker tells the story of Harper Blaine a private investigator who dies for two minutes after she is savagely beaten during the course of an investigation. When she comes round in the hospital, she begins to realise she has changed. She's now able to see and experience the Grey, a mysterious zone that exists between our world and the next. And it's something she has to learn to deal with quickly, because the creatures that exist in the Grey are not about to wait for her to find her feet.

I started this book sure I wasn't going to like it, I don't know why. So I was pleasantly surprised when in the space of the first few pages I was hooked. Kat Richardson starts Greywalker with a bang - an incredibly realistic sequence of Harper being beaten where you almost wince with every punch. The story engaged me for the majority of the book, I really didn't want to put it down. Her characters are well written, each of them individuals with their own agendas; Quinton - the mystery man, Mara and Ben - the happy couple with the baby and several Machiavellian vampires. As a first novel it impressed me.

I was really torn about whether or not to give this book 4 stars, but there were a couple of things that didn't work for me. The characters use the word OK far too much, this seems a petty point but when you read the book you'll understand what I mean. And it's written as OK so it really jumps out at you. I think Ms. Richardson should maybe limit herself to five okay's in the next book. I also felt the plot kind of petered out in the end, and I was left wondering why a couple of characters had been included.

This is probably more of a PI novel with an urban fantasy twist, so I think you'll enjoy it more if you like the private detective genre - fans of Charlaine Harris's Grave series might want to give it a try. Greywalker did leave some unanswered questions, I'm very interested in Quinton's story, so I hope he'll be making an appearance in the next book Poltergeist which is scheduled for release in August 2007.
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The Grey: a sort of limbo between our world and the world after death, where strange creatures lurk, echoes of the past linger, and magic reigns.

It's a pretty intriguing concept for an urban fantasy -- way better than the usual "all the myths are true! I is strong woman who kills!" stuff. And while Kat Richardson's fantasy debut "Greywalker" has a slow first half and a bit too much whining from her heroine, all the subpots and tension whip together nicely in the second half. And with such a unique idea for an urban fantasy, Richardson is obviously just starting to dig into its depths.

Harper Blaine was savagely beaten by a small-time thug, and was technically dead for two minutes before the medics revived her. And though her body recovers, she finds that she's seeing all sorts of weird images -- mist, monsters, ghostly figures, etc. Her doctor sends her to Mara and Ben, a paranormal researcher and his cheerful witchy wife, who tell her that she's now a Greywalker -- a person who can see and affect the Grey.

As she tries to deal with this, Harper takes on some new cases -- a rich woman searching for her son, a man who wants an antique organ returned, and a new boyfriend with a shady partner. Unfortunately, these cases all have ties to the Grey, and they pull Harper into the nighttime politics of the vampire underworld, as well as getting her involved with a guy who may just be a necromancer. And though Harper is trying to distance herself from the world of the Grey, the creatures bound to it may not let her leave...

For the record, the first half of "Greywalker" is really quite slow. After the initial graphic beating, Harper spends much time freaking out about the Grey, diddling around with some run-of-the-mill cases, and discussing the Grey (and how to enter and handle it) with Mara and Ben. The extensive information about the Grey, its rules and its occupants is extremely important, but it kind of drags for awhile.

Fortunately everything tightens up after Harper runs into Cameron and discovers all the Grey-related threats to her life. The plot threads thicken and intertwine as Harper tries to stay afloat, and the horror is amped up with the introduction of some very unsexy vampires (including one who has some sort of reptile-head), weird ghosts, and a killer necromancer. Fortunately there's a sense of humor running through the story -- including a young man, newly turned into a vampire, who starts freaking out about what his mother will do.

Even better, the whole concept of the Grey is a truly intriguing one, and it leaves plenty of room for Richardson to expand in the future. That, and she has a lovely writing style ("The night was thick with spirits trailing Grey wakes or striating the darkness with columns of cloud-light...").

Harper is a decent heroine who has the possibilities of excellence. She spends too much time whining, freaking out and denying reality in the first half (a realistic reaction, but not terribly fun), but pulls on her big-girl panties in the second. And Richardson gets some definite bonus points for avoiding the "sexy snotty tough girl with big phallic weapons" cliches, opting for a heroine who actually does detective work with her brain and not her trigger finger.

"Greywalker" has a tedious first half, but the second is a solid enough fantasy/mystery to justify picking up the second book of the series. An intriguing concept, and Kat Richardson is starting to get the hang of it.
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on 14 August 2009
Harper Blaine is a small-time private investigator trying to earn a living when a low-life savagely assaults her, leaving her for dead. For two minutes, to be precise. When Harper comes to in the hospital she begins to feel a bit strange and starts seeing odd things -- things that can only be described as weird-shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist. Harper's death has turned her into a Greywalker; a person who is able to move between our world and the mysterious cross-over zone. Harper wonders whether it's purgatory at one point. Her new status as magnet for all things grey and spooky lands her with some very interesting cases.

Harper's world has a mixture of denziens, including but not limited to: ghosts, necromancers, witches, and vampires. I really liked how Richardson handled vampires in fact. They actually seemed otherwordly for once (and Harper was afraid of them). Shock horror. It was quite refreshing oddly.

This book had both good and bad. There were a lot of very interesting and fairly original ideas here but the plot took far too long to start and the execution lacked panache. The worst thing for me was that we didn't hear much from Harper's internal monologue. 'Greywalker' may as well have been written in the third person because we never heard her direct thoughts on anything really. This undermined the emotional impact of the situation, clearly it was affecting Harper but the author never aired these feelings out sufficently. There were also instances in which I thought Harper should be reacting, but she just said something out loud without any internal pondering. Not very good form for a PI.

The characters of Harper's world were quite interesting and fun. I loved Mara the red-headed Irish witch who had a lovely warm personality, and her (Russian?) husband too. I also found Carlos the vampire quite intriguing. I hope to see more of him and his 'talents'... Cameron looks like he could make for a good sidekick. Of course, seeing Chaos the ferret in the next book would also make me happy, hee! As for Harper herself, I liked her well enough but the disconnect between her emotions and the narrative was too large for me to care as much as I would have.

The prose was quite well written and intelligent. But it was far too repetitive in places (when describing the Grey) and slow paced -- this was a first person PI paranormal crime novel. There was a great deal that should have been cut for the sake of a more exciting read. The story wandered and meandered until I was getting quite frustrated. Harper was also foolish in not accepting the paranormal until very near the latter half of the book... instead of embracing her new role she dug her heels in and refused to believe anything! Cutting this short could have avoided a lot of plot delay and made Harper seem more admirable. The progression of the plot was a large factor in giving this book only three stars, despite me liking the characters and the ideas of the novel. I'll be reading the next book nonetheless, since I've heard the books improve considerably.
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on 29 January 2008
I am a great fan of Urban Horror and this book does not disappoint. I reallylove Harpers Charater as she at firsts fights; and then has to adjust to her new abilities. This book is a great new twist on the vampire, werewolf, ghosts genre and I could not put this book down. When I had finished was immediately looking for the next book in the greywalker series. For all those Charrlain Harris and Kelley Armstrong fans who like fiesty female characters and a really gripping story this is a must!
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on 14 July 2009
As an aficionado of the fantasy genre, I appreciated the author's avoidance of so many clichés that pop up with wearisome regularity, such as the romance with a dangerous-but-oh-so-attractive-magical-being that the heroine so often reluctantly but inevitably enters. Chaos the ferret was a nice touch of originality, as is the concept of the Grey, and the supporting characters like Cameron and the Danzigers were well-drawn and three-dimensional.

However, Harper is an unsympathetic central character and it makes it hard to care what happens to her. There was also a certain joie-de-vivre lacking from the book as a whole - I did not finish the book wanting to know more about Harper, or follow her adventures any further, which is disappointing in a generally well-written novel. I have not read the subsequent books in the series, so perhaps the level of reader engagement develops further later on, but based on the first book, I would not be inclined to pay the full cover price to read the next installment.
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on 19 February 2008
I have tried to avoid buying this book for a long time inspite of it being recommended by Amazon. This will teach me that Amazon knows my reading taste better than I do myself! I really enjoyed Harper's adventures and her struggles with the "grey". Harper is a strong character and her adventures are immensely enjoyable and interesting. I have already ordered the next installment and I am waiting with baited breath!
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on 3 July 2013
This review was originally posted at [...]

"You! You are so lucky you're dead."
Harper Blaine, Greywalker by Kat Richardson

Greywalker by Kat Richardson opens with Harper Blaine, a private-investigator in a small town, being beaten by one of her clients. The beating Harper receives is so bad that she dies for two minutes before paramedics bring her back to life. When Harper comes to she is different. She now sees dead people, who live in a parallel World called the Grey. Harper can see the ghosts of dead people when they emerge into our World from the Grey, and she can enter the Grey (hence her title of Greywalker). The problem is there aren't just the ghosts of dead people in the Grey. There are also creatures that want to hurt her. Harper is pulled head first into the supernatural world (including ghosts, vampires, witches and necromancers) while trying to fight against her ability to enter the Grey.

I thought Greywalker was okay. My main issue with the book was Harper's reaction to becoming a Greywalker. I understood when she resisted and complained at first, and that made her seem human. Although she can now interact with the Grey, she is not stronger or faster than the average person and so is unprepared and unable to defend herself from the creatures in the Grey. My problem was that this never changed throughout the whole book. Harper never embraced her gift and just moped and moaned. The constant focus on how she hated her new found gift, and how much it tires her out etc... slowed the pace of the book. I know that Greywalker is a series and that Harper may well accept her new ability in subsequent books, but I don't know whether I will continue reading the series after the amount of complaining. I wanted to grab hold of Harper and shake her and say, "Get on with it." Her witch friend was so supportive, and yet Harper never let her help her properly. It just ended up with the witch repeatedly soothing Harper. Sigh. I was hoping for a stronger female character, like in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series or in The Harper Connelly Mysteries. Both of these books have a kind of detective role, and a mystery to solve, just like Greywalker, but they are much better female lead protagonists.

The detective mysteries were interesting. Harper is trying to solve two cases at once. She is trying to locate a missing person (who happens to now be a Vampire), and an old family heirloom (the client turns out to be very dangerous). These cases are filled with the supernatural, and Harper finds herself not only communicating with ghosts and witches, but also Vampires. The Vampires in this book intrigued me. Vampires exist in both the real World and the Grey simultaneously. They are also traditional Vampires in that they drink human blood, can't go out in the sunlight, have no reflection in reflective surfaces and have to sleep on the dirt from their graves. One of the Vampires is also necromancer. This element of the story is interesting, and I am now interested to read other books with a stronger necromancer theme.

Overall, the book was just lacking in action. I didn't feel as though I was racing to find out what happened, and I wouldn't have minded if I hadn't finished the book. I don't know whether I will continue reading the series. I am interested to understand the Grey at little more because the descriptions in Greywalker don't give a very clear picture, despite being detailed. I am also intrigued to know what Harper could do in the Grey. I am leaning towards trying book two, but I think if that isn't significantly better, I will definitely give up altogether.

Final Verdict: It's not a showstopper. If you don't have anything else to read, then give this a whirl.

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