Sunday, January 17, 2010

They All Want to Be Found

"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."

Lightening-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 matters 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 choice in the matter.

Soon, family secrets ensnare them both, as Harper finally discovers what happened to her missing sister, Cameron, so many years before.

And what she finds out will change her world forever...

Title: Grave Secret
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Harper Connelly, Book 4
Start & Finished: 1/15/10- 1/16/10
Published: October 27, 2009
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Pages: 306
Genre: Mystery-Suspense

It’s been two years since Charlaine Harris; the bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse (aka True Blood) series has published a full-length book that didn’t feature her telepathic barmaid… until now. Ms. Harris has finally concluded her Harper Connelly mystery series with the fourth story Grave Secret. These books are about a woman with an unusual “gift” of being able to find corpses and know how they died caused by being struck by lightening when she was 15. From the very first book Grave Sight, there was a mystery established that Harper had a sister who went missing several years ago and with the final story, everything is finally revealed.

Despite the fact that Harper has an ability that could be considered supernatural, you certainly won’t find any werewolves or vampires within these pages! The Harper books are more like a grittier version of Charlaine Harris’ earlier books such as her Aurora Teagarden series with just as dash of mysticism thrown in. Its Harper’s ability that has always drawn me back to this series though: “I walked to the next one, rested for a moment until the buzzing impelled me: that was the call of the bones, the remains. They wanted me to know about them, what had killed them, what their final moments had been like.”

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have devoured the series regardless though since I’ve been a fan of this author for about five years now. However, I have a few issues with the main character that I’ve never encountered in any other Harris book or short story. The main problem I have is Harper’s relationship with her stepbrother Tolliver and ever the author said, “’I will be the first to admit: it's kind of icky," Harris says of Harper's "love affair". On the other hand, "they're not related to each other. They are just dependent . . . Every now and then someone gets totally squeaked out about it but that's OK." Most people, she says, accept it and are happy for them. ” Sorry, four books later and it still squicks me out. Even Harper still thinks “of him as my brother, though I was trying to catch myself when I called him that out loud. [Since they have] a much different relationship now.”

Maybe because since it’s been so long between books but I just wasn’t quite as pulled in by these characters as I remember being with the previous books. Several times, I felt like Grave Secret was being pulled in too many directions with too much filler thrown in. True, there were two mysteries simultaneously going on; each connected to the past, and I was pleased and a little shocked with how they both turned out, it was the journey getting there that felt too drawn out. All in all, though I enjoyed the story and felt like it was a fitting end to a truly unique series.

Harper Connelly
1. Grave Sight (2005)
2. Grave Surprise (2006)
3. An Ice Cold Grave (2007)
4. Grave Secret (2009)

First Paragraph: "All right," said the straw-haired woman in the denim jacket. "Do your thing." Her accent made the words sound more like "Dew yore thang." Her hawklike face was eager, the anticipatory look of someone who is ready to taste an unknown food.

Sydney Morning Herald

Picture Explanations
Shot Window: Several people get shot in Grave Secret
Culvert: Harper finds a body in one of these
Roller Skating: Tolliver & Harper take their sisters skating


  1. I've started the Sookie series and need to finish it before I start this one!

  2. Count me in as someone who was is still icked out by the relationship. I guess it would have been easier for me if they didn't keep on referring to each other as brother and sister.

  3. I admit the whole relationship between the two icks me out a bit too--and I haven't even read the books yet. I do want to, but I worry that little point will be a problem for me.

  4. I SO want to read this one RIGHT now! I've really enjoyed the first three books in this series and cannot wait to get my hands on this one. Although I'll be a bit sad to not get any more of Harper if that is the case. Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. I am not reading the review. I don't want to know. I'm on the waiting list to read this one at the library...and I can't wait!


    Thank you so much for visiting my blog this week. I have something for you here.

  6. Bermudaonion: I just love the Sookie books. I'll probably re-read them again soon.

    Marg: My thoughts exactly! I know old habits die hard but that's just gross.

    Wendy: I try my best to ignore it since it really is an interesting series.

    Samantha: Charlaine Harris confirmed that this is the last one on her message boards. She did a great job wrapping it up though.

    J. Kaye: I thought you said you weren't getting the fourth one? I'm glad you are though and I hope you enjoy it! Thanks so much for the award!

  7. Ladytink_534 - Don't ever believe me when I say stuff like that. (lol) Yes, I do mean it at the time, but then everyone else starts reading it and I can't help but change my mind. Remember the Sherry Moore series with George D. Shuman. I swore I'd never read the third book. I mean I swore to everyone. Promised to not waste my time ever again. What did I do? I read it.

  8. I thought about this series, but never picked it up. Then I got bored with Sookie and didn't care for the first Aurora Teagarden, so I pretty much gave up on Harris.

  9. Can't wait to start this series. I'm like Bermudaonion..I have to finish another series first.

  10. I'm icked out by the relationship, but still think I'll end up with a copy of this book since I want to know what happened to their sister. haha!



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