RARA-AVIS: occult PIs

From: DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net
Date: 09 Jun 2008

I finished Kat Richardson's Greywalker last night. I liked it quite a bit. It's about a female PI, Harper Blaine, who dies for two minutes. Following her revival, she finds she can see beyond the veil and must deal with the occult, as its denizens seek out this investigator who walks in both the day and night worlds. Richardson does a particularly good job of handling Blaine's problem with accepting this gift she wishes she could return, first just accepting its existence, then being able to work within her new consciousness. This life change also makes more acceptable something that has come to bother me in some PI books, how a whole cast will come together from scratch in a novel, particularly a debut. The loner PI will become involved in one or often two cases (which will eventually intertwine, of course), but at the same time will become involved with a whole cast of people, including a romantic interest, some of whom will become series regulars. That synchronicity often bugs me. But here it makes sense, as Blaine seeks out people who can help her make sense of her new state, people she never would have had contact with before.

The books still has a few first novel bugs (could have been trimmed just a bit), but the first novel excitement more than makes up for them. I'll definitely be going on to the second in the series.

The book also got me started thinking about other series that overlap the hardboiled and occult worlds, especially loner investigators who bridge the two worlds. I'm thinking of series like George Chesbro's Mongo series, or shows like Forever Knight, Reaper, the earlier (and far darker, more serious, wish it would come out on DVD) Brimstone, some Angel, though much of it takes place only in the occult world. That last reservation would also rule out Charlie Huston's Joe Pike series. As much as I enjoy it, it's almost entirely set in the politics of the world of vampires, even if that world is used to satirize the real world.

But I'm not very familiar with horror and/or fantasy books, so I was wondering if there are any other recommended series where an investigator works on both sides of these mean streets? For example, I saw a series by Lilith Saintcross (gee, wonder if that's a pseudonym) featuring Dante Valentine, the Devil's bounty hunter. They have really cool covers, but I seem to remember the recently departed Bo Diddley warning me about judging a book by its cover. Are they any good? Any other recommendations?


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