Possession: Greywalker Novel #8 [BOOK REVIEW]

Possession CoverAuthor: Kat Richardson
Publisher: Roc Books
Genre: Fantasy/Mystery
Unique Elements: Supernatural detective who can see into the spiritual realm to solve cases
Series: Greywalker
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Number of Page: 368 Pp.
MSRP: $25.95 print/Epub
Discount Link: Print  | Kindle
Author’s Website: Click Here
Trailer/Video: N/A
Official Site: Click Here
Issue: #14 (07/13)
Reviewed by: JT Hanke
Final Score: 4.5 moons (out of 5)

For those new to the series:
After a catastrophic assault left Seattle PI, Harper Blaine, dead for two minutes, she came back with the ability to see into the Grey: the spectral realm that is the home of apparitions, wraiths, broken fragments of time, and a deadly monster called the Guardian, who helps make sure the two worlds don’t intermingle–and, as it turns out, is Harper’s boss. Because she can see things no one else can, spirits and other invisible “residents” of Seattle’s underworld often seek her out to solve mysteries for them or to seek resolution for things undone.

Brilliant Moon Award

With the conclusion of her previous novel, Seawitch, Richardson’s lead protagonist has survived more mythological things that go bump in the night than you can shake a stick at, including the recent war between Sirens and Irish Sea Hounds on the waters of Puget Sound. I personally felt it was the strongest book in the series to date, as Richardson was finally able to more fully deal with some characters whose relationship with Harper needed to be sorted out.

In Possession, Harper’s friend Phoebe sends a distraught woman named Lily to find the investigator and ask for her help with Lily’s comatose sister, who is displaying “automatic painting”—a condition in which a person is being controlled by a spiritual force to paint something they’ve never seen before. While the case at first bears similarities to a possession, Harper quickly discovers there’s more to it than that, as she stumbles across a mystery that’s woven into the very ground she treads. In the process, she has to deal with the dark past of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, the shade of Washington State’s first serial killer, and more mysterious coma patients exhibiting impossibly strange abilities.

Story

The story for Possession is strong and more easily followed than say, Downpour, which tries to cover so much new ground that you almost felt like it needed to be split up into two books.

As always, Kat Richardson is a consummate researcher and delver into the mythologies of cultures and the legends of the locations she frequents. Her research into Linda Burfield Hazzard—Washington’s first serial killer—will definitely give you chills, although she leaves a lot of the woman’s actual behavior to the imagination. Her look at the ghosts that are believed to haunt Pike Place market and surrounding establishments is intriguing, and she’s able to bring those tales to life in this book in fascinating new ways. (And, true to form, she has Author’s Notes in the back to share where you can find more information, where she got her information, and where she fibbed! It’s an endearing accountability choice that I personally love, since it enables you to weave in facts you learned from her books into conversations with the certainty that they are actually facts!)

The mystery of the patients, increased hauntings, and Seattle’s dark past build steadily, although, as with other Greywalker books, there are enough unrevealed elements that trying to guess the final motivating twists is almost—but not quite—impossible. Despite that, the ending completes the story very nicely and doesn’t leave too many things unexplained about this particular case—which is good to see, since some multivolume arcs leave you with nothing but cliffhangers!\

Dynamics

While the dynamics between Harper and the mysteries related to this strange case are the elements a lot of people would focus on, the area that Richardson continues to successfully put more emphasis on is the dynamic relationships between Harper and those around her. This books emphasizes family and how we are all connected to one another in a way that is needed by the heroine and enlightening to the reader.

Regulars like Chaos—Harper’s lively pet ferret—and Quinton—Harper’s off-the-grid hacker soulmate—continue to help push the pace of the book, though Quinton does so as much by his absence as his presence, since he has his hands full trying to foil the evil plots of his father, that threaten to destroy everything Harper and Quinton hold dear. This forces Harper really to have to rely more heavily on others—as well as to realize how important Quinton and their relationship truly is to her.

Of those she must rely on, we’re introduced to one new character in the form of Richard Stymack—a nerdy medium who can summon the spirits in the Grey. This, of course, provides interesting story options for future books, since his abilities are unique amongst those she regularly deals with. While Ben and Mara are still away in this book, the Vampire necromancer, Carlos, is back to play a major role, as is Carlos’ former pupil and current Prince of the City, Cameron. As the original Vampire leadership and dynamics were a little bland in the first few books, it’s great to get reacquainted with the new garde and to see how they’re learning from the lessons of the past.

Additionally, we also get a little follow-up on Harper’s continuing relationships with Phoebe—the Jamaican bookstore owner and her best friend—and Detective Rey Solis—the Colombian detective she teamed up with in Seawitch.

Gothic Fit

Greywalker is and has always been a series that’s a natural fit to many in the Gothic community. It asks questions about the supernatural, explores dark mysteries, retells forgotten tales, and doesn’t shy away from history that could easily make others squeamish. Possession continues the Greywalker legacy in this regard and is a natural for any readers who enjoyed X-Files or early Supernatural. (Additionally, readers will enjoy at least one or two jabs the author takes at books like Twilight through the mouths of vampires like Carlos.)

Closing Thoughts

If you’ve loved the Greywalker series to date, then you’ll find Possession to be a strong continuation of the world and heroine you know and love. If you’re new to the series, of course, you’ll want to go pick up the first book in the series and read straight through, knowing that this book won’t leave you disappointed.

If you’d like to know more about the Greywalker Series and Kat Richardson, take a turn over to the first of our five part interview with her here.

Story: 4.5 Moons (out of 5.0)
Dynamics: 4.5 Moons (out of 5.0)
Gothic Fit: 5.0 Moons (out of 5.0)
Final Score (not an average): 4.5 Moons (out of 5.0)

Score: Four point five moons

Author: JT Hanke

J.T. Hanke is the founder and former editor of DarkestGoth Magazine. Stepping down as editor in 2019, he currently serves as its technical adviser and a contributing writer.

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