“Poltergeist” Kat Richardson

This is the second of Kat Richardson’s urban fantasy/detective series about a Seattle-based PI who sees ghosts & can walk in the ghost world (I read the first one a couple of months ago). The set up for this book is that a psychologist is researching how people react to the idea that they are interacting with the paranormal – he’s set up an experiment where a group think they’ve generated a poltergeist, but he’s got someone faking the ghostly actions. Only now he’s getting things happening that his faker hasn’t faked – so he asks Harper Blaine to investigate & find out which of the group is faking the new stuff. Obviously, given the genre of the book the poltergeist is in fact real and significantly more dangerous than the psychologist comprehends – and Harper must figure out how to get rid of it without letting on that it’s real, and what caused it.

My specific criticism of Greywalker – that Harper appears to’ve appeared fully formed from nowhere is addressed. In this book there’s more of a sense of roots in the city pre-dating her becoming a greywalker, in particular her friend Phoebe & Phoebe’s family. There’s also another improvement that Richardson actually mentions in her afterword – in book 1 Harper didn’t have a mobile phone instead she just has a pager, which felt rather odd and made me wonder if the book wasn’t as recent as I thought. It turns out that the first book was written several years before it was published, and Richardson decided not to entirely update it to the “present day” of the publication date. This second book has Harper get a phone and even lampshades it by having her dislike how it lets people call her too early in the morning.

I still like how the series is tending towards the horror side of the supernatural beasties – this poltergeist is dangerous, and the vampire necromancer that Harper needs help from to deal with it has his own less-than-human perspective on appropriate punishments for the mind that is linked to the poltergeist. I also like how Harper has to hide what she is otherwise people would think she was crazy – it’s like our world, the default is that ghosts and vampires don’t exist. It’s just that in this case Harper and a very few others know that’s not true. But her understandable desire to not be seen as crazy is probably making her miss out on potential allies, I suspect as the series goes on she’ll let more people into the truth of her world – there are various things in this book that made me think that Harper’s need to keep herself to herself is being framed as something she needs to move beyond.

I think this still falls into the fun-read-once category – so I’ll carry on getting these from the library. Sadly the library don’t have the third book, but I’ve reserved the fourth one instead.