Kat Richardson has enthralled me once again. If my parents were right, and you're only as good as the company you keep, then I'd like to think I've come away from Poltergeist feeling smarter than before I entered.
Harper Blaine, private investigator, is hired by a local college professor who's created a study group that tests the limits of the mind's connection to paranormal behavior, particularly in the creation of a ghost. He knows something's gone array when the "ghost" becomes powerful enough to chase the group around the room with a table, and is able to steal items and inflict pain. After witnessing a live session Harper fears this group of misfits has created a full blown entity capable of serious harm, but she's tasked with finding out who's really in control.
Again, the science geek in me loved the underlining theme that the mind is a powerful thing; full of untapped energy and power. The way Richardson describes the being as "a jumble of gleaming threads like a living scribble made by a giant child" and how each person connected with this ball of energy has one of these filaments tethered to them, had me rushing to the internet to discover from what physics magazine I'd heard that from.
There's also something in the way she writes a scene. Richardson's unique views help the reader visualize the heart of a place; what makes something special and separate. No whimpy prose on what shade of green the grass is here.
Minus a cameo or two from The Danzingers, it took a while for any of the other familiar secondary characters to surface (even then it was very limited), stalling my interest slightly. I'm selfish. I found Carlos and Quinton and Edward so interesting that I want them to be in every one of Harper's tales. But alas, I realize this would not a good series make.
Richardson does offer up Phoebe Mason, Jamaican book store owner, in replacement though. Phoebe was a brilliant addition to the story. In my opinion, she helped make the story solemn where it needed to be and acted as comic relief the rest of the time; wether it was from herself or one of her amusing family members. I hope that I get to see Phoebe again soon.
Thankfully Harper hasn't changed a bit. She's still righteous in every way. Even the way she treats a bum on the street is virtuous. Still one of my all-time favorite literary characters. But in general, the story was a touch slower than previously. The case she's working brings with it a slue of compelling new faces but you're not meant to become attached to any of them so the connections are never formed, making Harper somewhat lonely.
Another one of my favorite parts of Poltergeist is Harper's better understanding of, and new interactions with, the "grey". Because she's no longer resisting, Harper can do and see so much more, and she experiments with it's perimeters of space and time. I can't wait to see what else is next for her abilities.
Bottom Line: This paranormal detective hasn't lost an ounce of appeal, and I can't wait for more.