As the sixth installment in the Greywalker series by Kat Richardson, Downpour continues the story of Seattle-based P. I. Harper Blaine. Harper is no ordinary private investigator, however. When she died for two minutes earlier in her life, Harper became a Greywalker—a human able to interact with and manipulate the strange plane of energy, magic, and ghosts known as the Grey.
Original and unique
The thing that initially captivated me about this series is the unique system it uses for magic and the paranormal. Not since Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy have I encountered such an original idea; what Mistborn’s system is to epic fantasy, the system in the Greywalker novels is to urban fantasy. The Grey is home to ghosts, of places as well as people. As a Greywalker, Harper is able to enter the Grey and slip through time to these ghostly pasts. It truly puts a new spin on the entire private investigator angle, and is utterly fascinating, not to mention fluid, as the shape of it changes from location to location in the physical world, making things all sorts of fun and twisty!
Change of scenery
In Downpour, Harper is drawn out of her comfort zone of Seattle to investigate a decades old mystery which leads her to the Sunset Lakes, west of Seattle in Washington state. I personally love it when authors take characters and throw them into new situations, and this book is an example of why. Not only is the environment different from that Harper is used to working in, but the shape of the Grey is also different in the Sunset Lakes area. Watching Harper adjust to the changes was truly a joy to observe as she went about it in a complete out-of-the-box way.
Real troubles equal real characters
The thing that truly sold this novel for me, though, was the character development—particularly of the two main characters: Harper and her boyfriend, Quinton. Both drawn out of their comfort zones, it is interesting to see the adapting they must do. Harper must cope with the changing of the Grey while Quinton—your smarter-than-average tech geek—gets thrown into situations requiring physical action. Specifically, violent physical action. How they handle themselves in the various situations, both socially and mentally, was a treat to read.
More than that, however, the tensions within their relationship really made me connect with the characters. As Harper is drawn away from Seattle, and subsequently Quinton, Quinton himself becomes more withdrawn and distant. The confrontation of these difficulties truly makes the pair feel real to the reader, and drew a number of strong emotional reactions from me—something which rarely occurs when I read a book.
Why should you read this book?
For newcomers to the series, I recommend starting with book one, Greywalker. While a reader could pick up Downpour not having read the rest of the series and understand most everything, you must have read the other books to get the fullest experience from the novel. However, I recommend the series in general for its wonderful character work and its sheer uniqueness and originality.
For longtime fans and readers of the series, Downpour is an absolute must-read. The plot follows through from the fifth book, but the true value lies within the characters. It’s definitely a journey to savor as Harper and Quinton must rediscover who they are when forced out of their comfort zones. The secondary characters are no slouches either, and the mystery surrounding the Sunset Lakes is absolutely captivating. Like the rest of the series, not a single word goes to waste with every action and reaction being used to fourth the story, a definite plus. The Grey continues to be unique, the series subplots get a boost, and the banter is fun to watch. This series is one of the few which truly feels as if it could exist in our world, and Downpour does nothing to dissuade me of that opinion. If anything, it reaffirms it and then some.
Garrett received an early copy of this book courtesy of Kat Richardson and Roc Books.