Book Review: Kat Richardson’s Vanished

Posted December 9, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Kat Richardson’s Vanished



Kat Richardson

urban fantasy that was published by ROC Hardcover on August 4, 2009 and has 368 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Mean Streets, Greywalker, Poltergeist, Underground, Labyrinth, Downpour, Seawitch, Possession, Revenant, Indigo

Fourth in the Greywalker urban fantasy series revolving around a private detective able to walk in a fold of space than sits between the normal and the paranormal. Harper is based in Seattle but most of this story takes place in London. It’s also Part 1 of a sinister plot.

My Take

Oh man, the tension Richardson created!! It was a bit slow to start but once it did. I could not race fast enough to keep up!

I’ve always fantasized about going back in time and then doing a fast-forward through time to watch, to observe how the landscape changes over the centuries. Now we get to do this with Harper as she navigates the time slips within the Grey in London. I suspect I’d get caught up watching the people of all those different centuries engage in their own lives instead of Harper’s necessary pursuits. I never knew Tyburn Tree had been located near where Marble Arch stands now.

A few quibbles. Harper is so careful in the first six hours she’s in London to contact Bryson to report when she has so little to say and yet just a few hours later when she has a ton of information that Edward really should hear about, she’s not at all bothered about letting him or Bryson know. Sure Edward gets kidnapped or disappears or…something but nothing is said about Bryson. Why isn’t she letting him know what she discovers? It’s pretty damn critical. Especially considering that his and her chief enemy is still there in Seattle!

There’s almost too much action to take in. Too much information that comes streaming in to fill in Harper’s past. Worse, Richardson drops you with Harper on the plane coming back to America so we have no idea what’s happening in Seattle. If Edward is back. What’s Wygan doing? Is Quinton okay? And all the background, the behind-the-scenes machinations that have gone into creating the Greywalker that Harper is now is just churning away in your brain…argh!! Be sure to have the next book in the series, Labyrinth, standing by…you’ll need it!

The Story

An old boyfriend of Harper’s who got killed on a stakeout in LA some years ago appears in her dreams and starts Harper on her quest to learn more about her past. A past in which she learns more than she wants to know. About her dad. About her own earlier death. The family legacy on her father’s side and how Wygan is shaping her for his own ends. Cary Malloy makes her aware and the ghost of her father’s old secretary, Christelle LaJeunesse, gives credence to her father’s journals. The old family photos with their unexplainable streaks of light, smoky faces, “tricks of the light” that mar every photo in which Harper or her dad appeared.

It’s while Harper is in the Los Angeles area that Edward contacts her in a panic. Unrest is rising amongst the vampires in Seattle and the disappearance of his business partner in London has Edward insistent upon hiring Harper. That Harper is ideal for reasons they both understand.

A slip in a Grey temporacline introduces Harper to golems and how they are made. How they are used. Useful information but disturbing when she encounters one of a friend. Almost worse is the encounter at the end of a sewer tour in a kayak with a maddened wraith, Norrin, who lurks in the catacombs of old and ancient London down by the bricked-over Fleet River.

Harper quickly learns the pattern of persuasion when the disturbing nightmares she’s been having about Will Novak, her ex-boyfriend, turn out to be true. It’s the same pattern as used on her dad but Harper is determined that the end result will not be the same. She will not fail. She will not fail Will nor will she fail Quinton. She will twist what the Pharaohn expects.

The Characters

Harper Blaine has been aware of the Grey for two years now and has a better understanding of how it works. Chaos is her ferret. Quinton, her DIY expert in pretty much anything and everything and an escapee from the overly regimented NSA is her lover now. He’s also working on a ghost detector. Will Novak hasn’t been with Harper for a year now and is currently working in London at Sotheby’s; his brother Michael is there as well. It’s too bad for Will that Alice isn’t up on current events.

Edward Kammerling is the head of both the Seattle vampire community and TLP, “one of Seattle’s biggest development groups”. He has recently been reworking the way he disciplines and rules in Seattle. Bryson Goodall is Edward’s head of security. John Purcell is Edward’s vampire partner in Clerkenwell in London; Jakob is a river spawn enspelled to serve Purcell. Master Simeon bin Salah is a sorcerer, a very long-lived sorcerer who deals in black magic. Alice Liddell is being used by the Pharaohn the leader of all the Egyptian vampires, the asetem-ankh-astet, stronger than regular vampires. Wygan. The worm-man who tortured her father. Alice had Simeon create the Kreanou, a vampire to end all vampires who will turn on anyone his masters order for as long as they hold his leash.

Part of Harper’s past includes her mother…who knew?!! Harper has an awful relationship with her mother, one colored by her own child’s perspective on a mother who insisted on Harper pursuing a career as a dancer to fulfill her mother’s dreams. One which Harper endures as an adult as her self-absorbed mother continues to nag and criticize. Cary Malloy was both boyfriend and mentor when Harper was first starting out as a detective. Now he’s coming back from the dead in Harper’s dreams and in a psychic phone call warns her. Of watchers surrounding Harper always. Evil. Now something is breaking and releasing more of this evil. The worm-man of her father’s journals. The significance of the drowned Jilly.

Marsden is a very hostile greywalker Harper encounters in London. He believes the best Harper is one no longer in this world. The caryatids at St. Pancras Church are Hope, Charity, Temperance, and Prudence who provide Harper and Marsden with information; their ghostly attendant, Barnaby Smith, is able to provide more details. Henry Glick was the Primate of the Red Brotherhood of St. John—fool. Mrs. Jabril is a steampunk dream!

Sekhmet challenges Harper outside Sotheby’s when she comes to check on Will. Technically, on Harper’s side, but not a being Harper wants to encounter again. Ben, Mara, and Brian Danziger play a cameo role in this story. Detective Solis is not present.

The Cover and Title

The cover is shades of gray with black and a metallic royal blue with Harper carefully looking back over her shoulder at a crowd of red-eyed, hooded creatures following her on a London street all a’tilt. Naturally, it’s night time with a fractured full moon overhead.

The title is curious. The only Vanished I can figure is Harper’s dad’s ghost. She can’t find it in any of the expected places.