chez_jae: (Books)
Between yesterday and today, I read An Ice Cold Grave, which is the third installment in Charlaine Harris' "Harper Connelly" series.

Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver are summoned to the small NC town of Doraville to search for the bodies of several missing teen boys. Initially, it was thought they were runaways, but there have been too many, and the residents, along with newly-elected sheriff Sandra Rockwell, are beginning to suspect there's a serial killer in their midst.

Harper manages to discover the six missing boys, along with two others who were unknown. She is profoundly disturbed by the manner of their death, and she wants nothing more than to leave Doraville behind. However, as per usual, local police and state investigators want Harper to stay so they can question her further. When she is attacked, it becomes clear that the killer has no intention of going down without a fight.

Harper is called to another site that may be a dumping ground, but all she finds there are the bodies of tortured animals, and one very disturbed young boy. The cases seem unrelated, but Harper can't shake the feeling that she, and everyone else, have missed something important.

The story was so gripping that I stayed up until 2am reading, and I was tempted to finish it. I refrained, however, and finished it today. This book was darker than any of the others, and there is a surprising shift in the relationship between Harper and Tolliver. Some things I figured out early, and some still caught me flat-footed. I like that in a book!

Favorite lines:
♦ I felt like a rabbit one jump ahead of the greyhounds.
♦ I wasn't in the habit of feeling so sure about that, since I spent a lot of time with surprised dead people.

That line amused me far more than it should have!

Excellent! Five stars!

chez_jae: (Books)
Earlier this evening, I finished reading Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris. It's the second installment in her "Harper Connelly" series, featuring a main character who can sense/locate dead bodies and tell how they died.

Harper and her stepbrother, Tolliver, have traveled to Tennessee so that Harper can demonstrate her strange ability to a group of college students who are studying an anthropology course on "experiences outside the box". Both the skeptical professor and his students are stunned when Harper is able to stand on graves in an old cemetery and say how each person died. However, it's Harper who is stunned when one grave contains two bodies, and the most recent is of a young girl, whom Harper had tried (and failed) to locate eighteen months earlier.

Once word gets out that the missing girl's remains have been found, Harper and Tolliver find themselves at the epicenter of a media storm and a police investigation. Everyone considers it too great of a coincidence for the girl to have turned up where Harper was going to give a demonstration, even Harper and Tolliver agree on that. They are contacted by the girl's family, and they soon find themselves caught up in family dynamics and drama, all of which may lead to the killer.

An interesting, gripping story. Harper and Tolliver had their own secrets from one another, one of which was revealed, and the other, concealed. In a way, it was disheartening to see them lose some of their blind faith in one another. I was able to suss out the killer fairly early, but learning the how and the why was still fascinating.

Favorite lines:
♥ Death is a fundamental human necessity; a solitary passage into the unknown.
♥ You can't be said to have any worries if your fingernails are the center of your universe...

Very good read, five hearts!

chez_jae: (Books)
I started reading Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris late yesterday, and I stayed up until almost 2am to finish it. Yes, it was that good! The book is the first in the author's "Harper Connelly" mystery series.

As a teen, Harper was struck by lightning. Ever since, she has been able to sense dead bodies. She has turned her misfortune into a career. People call Harper in to locate the dead, and she charges for her service. In addition to being able to find dead bodies, Harper can also tell how they passed. She suffers from anxiety; therefore, her stepbrother Tolliver travels with her and acts as her agent.

When Harper is summoned to the small southern town of Sarne, she is asked to search for the body of a teen girl who has been missing for several months. The girl's boyfriend was found, dead, in a wooded area, and it's believed he killed Teenie and then himself. Harper locates Teenie's remains in a matter of hours and says she was shot twice in the back. However, Harper doesn't believe that the boyfriend, Dell, committed suicide; she is convinced that both teens were murdered.

Eager to cash their check and get out of town, Harper and Tolliver are delayed when Teenie's mother asks to speak to them. They stop in to talk to Helen, and Harper tells her what she knows of Teenie's death. She and Tolliver then move on to their next gig. Not long after, they are asked to return to Sarne, because someone murdered Helen.

Harper and Tolliver reluctantly return and are drawn into a murder investigation. In the meantime, police officer Hollis takes Harper to his wife's grave. Harper is able to tell him that Sally's death wasn't accidental; she was murdered...just like her mother Helen and her sister Teenie.

The people in town are suspicious of Harper and wary of her abilities. She is threatened by a group of teens, shot at, and accosted in her motel room. Tolliver gets arrested and jailed on trumped up charges, leaving Harper without her anchor. She is not, however, without resources.

This was an utterly fascinating and engrossing story. I liked that Harper was plucky and vulnerable, both. The author provided enough backstory to let the reader see what motivated Harper and why she was riddled with anxiety. Other characters were well-drawn, even those who were on the periphery. I did figure some things out early, including the murderer, but there were still plot twists that kept me guessing right up to the surprising end.

Favorite lines:
"Instead, all she has to blame is her stupid cat."
OMG, story of my own life!
♦ "...he wanted to know how I managed to stay around you, 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 ears."

Not a funny or fluffy story by any means, but fast-paced and riveting. Very highly recommended! Five stars!



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