Reviews by ErinDurrett
Great Finale!
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Although it is unsaid on her website, once you read Grave Secret it's pretty clear that this fourth book is the final in the series. This book serves to tie up loose ends, such as what happens to Harper's sister Cameron and what becomes of Harper and Tolliver's relationship. At the beginning of Grave Secret, Harper and Tolliver go to the prosperous Joyce Ranch, to do a reading for the supernatural-loving Lizzie Joyce, who wants to know the exact cause of death of her grandfather. Wanting to give the millionaire a good show, Harper "reads" several of the graves including the late caregiver to Lizzie's grandfather, Mariah Parish. Questions arise to whether or not Mariah's (who Harper discovers died as a result of childbirth complications) child was/is a Joyce and therefore could lay claim to the Joyce fortune. Also Harper observes that Grandpa Joyce was not alone when he died and was kept from reaching his cell while undergoing a massive heart attack. While Harper thinks she remembers the ranch manager Chip Mosley and Lizzie's brother Drex Joyce, she stores that info for a rainy day. Harper and Tolliver go to Dallas to visit their younger sisters, Gracie and Mariella and find out some unexpected news, and reveal to their family the new status of their relationship. They meet up with Mark, Tolliver's brother and needle him into telling them that Mark and Tolliver's father has been released from prison. Missing persons investigators receive calls reporting sightings of Cameron, Tolliver is shot, mysteries ensue, and our good friend Manfred Bernardo makes an appearance, to help Harper once again. All together the book is a great twisting plot of events that culminates in the solving of a few 8 year old mysteries. My only compliants are that fact that this series is so short and also there seemed to be a few lulls in the suspense of this novel, also that the ending of this novel was so rushed. Happy Reading!
An Ice Cold Grave
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In this third novel in the Harper Connelly series, Harper and Tolliver get an assignment in North Carolina trying to find the bodies of a half dozen young men considered to be "runaway" age. After searching the final disappearance site, Harper gets a reading and discovers a mass grave sight behind an old dilapidated house. The cause of death for the victims was so traumatizing that at first, Harper finds it difficult relaying the cause of death of the boys. Then on their first attempt out of town, Harper gets hit over the head and sentenced to a few days recuperation in the local hospital. Even though looking for more bodies is the last think Harper wants to do, the local authorities and State Bureau of Investigation agents demand that she stay in town to help with their investigation. Harper's friends Manfred and Xylda Bernardo reprise their roles and add unwanted media attention on the town and the murder investigations. Also, Harper and Tollivers relationship escalate to a new level. My complaint from the first two novels holds true here: the mystery wasn't very difficult to solve, but the increasing terror of the crime I felt actually made the book more interesting.
Grave Surprise
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In this second novel in the Harper Connelly series, Harper and Tolliver head down to Tennessee to do a "graveyard" job identifying and determining the COD (Cause of Death) of ancient remains at Bingham College. In a surprise twist Harper discovers that one of the graves has two bodies inside, one of which is a missing girl, Tabitha Morgenstern, Harper had been hired to find previously. The FBI become involved and Harper and Tolliver are suspected of being somehow involved with Tabitha's disappearance. Then, Dr. Nunley, the professor that requested Harper's services is also found dead in the cemetery. I was a little more enthusiastic to read this book, as I was familiar and comfortable with the characters and I wasn't disappointed. Again, as with the first book, the mystery was pretty easy to solve, with all of the victims family turning out to be suspects. I appreciated the more intricate/involved plot and became more accustomed to Tolliver and Harper's jealousies over each others interest in the opposite sex. (Read my upcoming review of Book Three: An Ice Cold Grave)
Grave Sight...interesting read
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As a fan of Charlaine Harris, I was upset by the abrupt end to my 9 book reading spree of the Sookie Stackhouse Series. (Book 10 in the series is not released until the spring of next year.) After dealing with the bereavement of finishing what was published of the engrossing Southern Vampires Mysteries, I needed a Charlaine Harris fix in a bad way. I started reading Grave Sight (Book 1 in the Harper Connelly Mysteries) with an open mind towards the characters and the plot, but unfortunately for me, a few things were off kilter. First of all, let me state that I love Charlaine Harris as a writer. She's smart, funny, has a great way of relating emotions and truths about her characters and the state of being of the world she writes about. This book however wasn't as smooth as I was used to and the heroine Harper Connelly lacked backbone and the tough resiliency that Sookie fans are used to. Harper Connelly is a woman who uncannily survived a lightning strike as a child and now makes her living by finding dead people and correctly determining their cause of death with her acquired “sixth” sense. In this first novel, Harper and her stepbrother (this distinction is important) Tolliver Lang travel to the small town of Sarne, Arkansas to help locate the body of a missing girl. Finding the body proves easy for Harper, but leaving Sarne becomes the problem when the sheriff and other town members become suspicious of Harpers abilities. Along the way, Harper gets attacked and Tolliver ends up in jail, but eventually the mystery is resolved and the dynamic duo move on to another assignment. One of my issues with the book is the mystery itself. I personally had it solved from the get go and believe that if you read mysteries, this one won’t prove a challenge to your well tuned-in mind. After getting over the predictability of the mystery aspect of the novel, there was the strange jealousy and sexual tension between Harper and Tolliver one had to contend with. Both characters were jealous when each other “dated” townspeople of Sarne (a waitress for Tolliver and a cop for Harper). At first I found it amusing, but after realizing there was more than just good old-fashioned ribbing going on, I was confused. Overall the book is worth reading especially if you’re a Charlaine Harris fan and does contain a decent plot, interesting characters, and a unique style of writing, and fortunately the books do get better! (Read my upcoming review of Book Two: Grave Surprise)