Table of Contents
Also by Kat Richardson
“THE THIRD DEATH OF THE LITTLE CLAY DOG”
IN MEAN STREETS
(with Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, and Thomas E. Sniegoski)
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,
Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,
Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632,
New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by Roc, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, August 2009
Copyright © Kathleen Richardson, 2009
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Vanished : a greywalker novel / Kat Richardson.
eISBN : 978-1-101-10187-2
1. Blaine, Harper (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Women private
investigators—Fiction. 3. Near-death experiences—Fiction. 4.
Parapsychology—Fiction. 5. Vampires—Fiction. I. Title.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used ficti tiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
THIS ONE IS FOR “THE MUMS,” JOY AND SANDRA, WHO
ARE NOTHING LIKE HARPER’S MOTHER. THANK GOD.
This book was a big group effort, as they all are, but it had some unusual challenges, like . . . oh . . . England. . . .
So special thanks go to the family and friends in England who supplied information, entertainment, books, lodging, food, friendship, and much love: the Scotts, who proved you can be married for forty years and still be very much in love—and who also had lovely asparagus that I ate more than my share of; the Harrises and the hospitality of their charming old house at the edge of the fields; the Carpenters and kin; Rik and Carol and Mr. Monkey for the
Lost Rivers of London
, the Canal Museum, and so much more; Liz de Jaeger and Milady Insanity—sorry we didn’t get more time; and Maxim and his minions at the late, great Murder One bookstore. And thanks to my father-in-law, Arthur “Bogus” Carpenter, whose Norfolk accent was the starting point for Marsden’s curious way of speaking.
I owe a great deal of creative thanks to my British agent, John Parker of the Zeno Agency, for suggesting Clerkenwell as the haunt of vampires. And to my UK editor, Donna Condon, for checking my London facts and helping this book be more “English.” I’m overwhelmed by the work and support the Piatkus team has put out on this book; from marketing and publicity through editorial, and the beautiful art and cover design for the UK editions, they’ve all been terrific.
My US publication team is also no collection of slouches. Many thanks for the patience of my US editor, Anne Sowards, and the fantastic work of my copy editor—who makes me look like I know what I’m doing. I’d also like to thank the anonymous proofreader who saved my butt on the last book with a timely continuity catch. I’ve been blessed with lovely art and design on all the books and I can’t say “thank you” enough to everyone involved in that. And of course, my agent, Joshua Bilmes, without whom nothing could happen.
Huge thanks to my former publicist Valerie Cortes for keeping me sane during the 2008 tour, and to my former agent, Steve Mancino, who was fantastic—con bars will never be the same.
Of course there are the friends at home who are too numerous to name, but a few who deserve drinks and hugs include (but aren’t limited to): Cherie Priest; Richelle Mead; Mark Henry, who kicked my ass in just the right direction and time; Caitlin Kittredge, who read and critiqued “Brit speak”; Mario Acevedo, who kept my spirits up con and con again; Charlaine Harris; clan Jordan of Crimespree fame and all the crazy folks who toil in those fabulous fields; Penny Hale, librarian extraordinary; Paul Goat Allen; my Seattle book pushers at University Bookstore, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Third Place Books, and the downtown B&N; Andrew “Blue Ninja” for setting up my Web forum; the real John Purcell, who doesn’t mind being a vampire; the real Christelle LaJeunesse, whom I agreed to kill off in this book; Alan Beatts, who surely knows why; Tobias Buckell; John Scalzi; Richard Foss and Marc “Animal” MacYoung for remaining true friends and lunatics through . . . a lot of years; Toni L. P. Kelner; John Hemry, Elizabeth Moon, and Lee Martindale for the best Dead Dog dinner ever; and Charles Stross for being funny and gracious when I was scared to death of him.
A quiet and heartfelt “good night” to Dexter the ferret, who made life much sweeter and funnier by his presence, and who taught Taz that toes are not for biting—unless they are your own toes.
Finally, thanks to my family who put up with so much, especially “the mums,” who must have wondered when I’d finally get around to dedicating a book to them.
When I was a kid, my life seemed to be run by other people’s designs and not by mine. Once the time was ripe, I escaped from the life other people pushed me into and made my own. Or so I thought. Now it appears I was wrong about . . . well, everything. But I’ll get to that later.
Two years ago, I died for a couple of minutes. When I woke up, things had changed: I could see ghosts and magic and things that go bump in the night. You see, there is a thin space between the normal and the paranormal—the Grey—where things that aren’t quite one or the other roam. It’s not a place most people can visit; even witches and psychics only reach into the surging tide of power and the uncanny and haul out what they need. But once in a while there’s someone like me: a Greywalker, with a foot on each side of the line and fully immersed in the weird.
Sounds cool? Not so much. Some of my friends in the know are fascinated by it, but to me it’s more frequently a royal pain in the ass. Because when I can see the monsters, they can see me, and if they have problems, I’m the go-to girl. I’ve been a professional private investigator for ten years, and it’s a job I’ve come to practice on both sides of the vale because ghosts, vampires, and witches just don’t take no for an answer.
Since I’d died, I’d made my accommodation with the Grey and I thought I had it pretty well figured, even if some things were still a mystery to me, like, “why me” and “how does this stuff work?” It just did, and I did my best to get along. Until May of this year, when things got rather personal, starting with strange dreams and a phone call from the dead.
It started just like it had in real life: The man belts me in the temple and it feels like my head is caving in. I tumble out of the chair, onto the hardwood floor. In the dream I can see its pattern of dark and light wood making a ribbon around the edge of the room, like a magic circle to contain the terror.