Series: Harper Connelly
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Supernatural/Urban Fantasy
Warning: Lots of death talk. Sexual assault. Drug use. Domestic abuse.
Silver Lining: Justice
My reviews do involve minor SPOILERS
Book One: Grave Sight
Harper Connelly has what you might call a strange job: she finds dead people. She can sense the final location of a person who’s passed, and share their very last moment. The way Harper sees it, she’s providing a service to the dead while bringing some closure to the living – but she’s used to most people treating her like a blood-sucking leech. Traveling with her step-brother Tolliver as manager and sometime-bodyguard, she’s become an expert at getting in, getting paid, and getting out fast. Because for the living it’s always urgent – even if the dead can wait forever.
This book opens up right into a certain level of intrigue, in regards to the main character Harper Connelly and her step-brother, Tolliver Lang. Her ability to find dead bodies is one I haven’t read much about in urban fantasy so I was intrigued.
There is a garish horror within this novel as well because the subjects who had passed were in their youth, when they met their tragic ends.
Overall though parts of this novel were over the top the relationship between Tolliver and Harper was interesting. I did figure out part of the mystery within the novel, but not all which made me happy because I don’t want it to be obvious.
“It’s more interesting to be the wife of a murder victim than the owner of a killer cat.
“…Since surely you were marked by the devil.”
“Oh yeah? And I thought I’d showered real well.”
“You probably missed some Satan behind the ear.
-Tolliver Lang and Harper Connelly
Book Two: Grave Surprise
When I was fifteen, I was struck by a bolt of lightning through an open window of the trailer where we lived…I recovered, mostly. I have a strange spiderweb pattern of red on my torso and right leg, which has episodes of weakness. Sometimes my right hand shakes. I have headaches. I have many fears. And I can find dead people. That was the part that interested the professor…
At the request of anthropology professor Dr. Clyde Nunley, Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver come to Memphis to give a demonstration of Harper’s unique talent. And what better place to have that demonstration than in a very old cemetery?
Dr. Nunley doesn’t bother to hide his skepticism, especially when Harper stands atop a grave and senses two bodies beneath her – one of a centuries-dead man and the other of a young girl, recently deceased. When the grave is opened, Harper’s claim is proven true. The dead girl is Tabitha Morgenstern, an eleven-year-old abducted from Nashville two years previously – a child whom Harper had tried, and failed, to find. The coincidence raises suspicions about her among the police – so she and Tolliver undertake their own hunt to find the killer. They make a nocturnal visit to the cemetery, hoping that Harper can sense something further about the murder.
And then, the next morning, a third dead body is found in the grave…
The outright, annoying down-talking that Harper faces is still present in this novel. Gotta love how even in literature sometimes older men talk to younger women like they don’t have brains in their head eh?
This novel, which brings further character development to the stage amps things up a little more and launches the reader into an off-page mystery which had already transpired in the lives of these characters. Nonetheless this mystery was good, though tragic.
I also found something about the way this novel was written to be very comforting.
I did find it a little sad that the two main characters fell into the same trap at the end of this novel as they did the last.
“Last week we had a medium.”
-Nunley and Harper
Book 3: An Ice Cold Grave
Hired to find a boy gene missing in Doraville, North Carolina, Harper Connelly and her brother Tolliver head there, only to discover that the boy was the only one left of several who had disappeared over the previous five years. All of them teenagers. All unlikely runaways.
All calling for Harper.
Harper soon finds them—eight victims, buried in the half-frozen ground, all come to an unspeakable end. Afterward, what she most wants to do is collect her fee and get out of town ahead of the media storm that’s soon to descend. But when she’s attacked and prevented from leaving, she reluctantly becomes a part of the investigation as she learns more than she cares to about the dark mysteries and long-hidden secrets of Doraville—knowledge that makes her the next person likely to rest in an ice-cold grave.
The third book in this series is definitely a doozy. It has some really great character development within it but also points out what I feel might be one of CH’s most awkwardly written sex scenes ever. Seriously. It was….awkward. Though that being said despite my love of romance, I always find sex scenes in books, TV and movies awkward. And no this had nothing to do with who was having sex.
Either way it was a good novel, a good addition to the series and definitely the most gruesome out of all of them.
I was quite proud of myself for figuring out who the killers were, but still enjoyed the follow through and plot after.
Book Four: Grave Secret
“While Tolliver slept, I wondered if it was possible that Cameron was still alive…At first, I’d thought she’d been abducted by a gang, sold into slavery, something lurid and horrible. Then I’d wondered if maybe she’d simply been fed up with her life: the tawdry parents and the tacky trailer, the sister who limped and looked abstracted, the baby sisters who never seemed to stay clean. Most days, though, I was sure she was dead.”
Lightning-struck sleuth Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver take a break from looking for the dead to visit the two little girls they both think of as sisters. But, as always happens when they travel to Texas, memories of their horrible childhood resurface…
To make matter worse, Tolliver learns from his older brother that their father is out of jail and trying to reestablish contact with other family members. Tolliver wants nothing to do with the man – but he may not have a say in the matter.
Soon, family secrets ensnare them both, as Harper finally discovers what happened to her missing sister, Cameron, so may years before.
And what she finds out will change her world forever…
This book brings the series home, and not in the best way for the characters. Injuries are had, football players turned cops become heroes and overall the character development is very satisfying.
This book is not my favourite in the series, the honour of that title goes to Grave Surprise, for reasons I cannot fully explain but this one is close behind. Harper and Tolliver’s relationship flourishes, and there is a very real threat facing them both, and their relationship. Family.
I didn’t know who had killed Cameron so it was a shocker to me, but once again they fall for the same trap in the end.
Overall I would recommend this to anyone who wants urban fantasy and murder mystery mixed together.