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I brought this book after reading Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series and really enjoyed reading about the telepathic waitress in Bon Temps and her fight to survive with the vampires, werewolves and fae. I wanted to read something that was taken in a different direction although staying on the same genre.
warning may contain spoilers.
Harper Connelly was struck by lightning at the age of 15 after a very difficult child hood involving drunks and drug addicts as parents. ever since she has been able to find the dead.
She is brought to a small town to locate the body of a young boy, however after uncovering his body other secrets of the town start to come out of the woodwork.
Not being able to leave the town Harper and her step brother Tolliver try and uncover what exactly happened to the young boy and his girlfriend and why it happened.
Not only does harper try to find out exactly whats happening in this small town she also finds time to have a love affair with one of the town cops, and Tolliver has his own battle with a teen crush.
You quickly understand where the story is going and its quite predictable towards the middle of the book however th story still keeps you interested and although your not very shocked at the end of the story its still really entertaining.
Harper isnt telepathic and shes not psychic she just finds dead bodies and is able to see how they died.
I loved this book although like i say it is predictable as you get towards the middle of the book. Chairlaine has really set this series of books aside from those of the Sookie Stackhouse series and it not only appeals to the older genaration but also understandable to teens too.
The language is very easy to follow and there is alot of detailing with the characters and the different sites around the town that the characters visit often.
What i liked about the story too was the closeness of Harper and her step brother tolliver. Having grown up in the same enviroment they have really pulled together and made a strong bond between them that really shines through.
If you love mystery and love to read series of books as i do i would deffinatly recommend this series of books. There is only 4 books in the series and there is talks about making into a tv series too.
The fact that the books are not too long too is a bonus, roughly around 300+ pages it doesnt feel like your reading war and peace. although when you have finished the first book you really want to pick up the second one
Having read and enjoyed 'The Sookie Stackhouse series' by best-selling author Charlaine Harris, i was intrigued to find another series she had under her belt 'The Harper Connelly Series' the first one having been published in 2005. This time Harris focused on a different kind of paranormal; in place of numerous vampires and shape shifters there is only one supernatural character and she is able to connect to the dead.
'Grave Sight' is the first instalment of a four-part series, introducing us to step-siblings Harper Connelly and Tolliver Lang and the unusual life they lead.
As a young teenager Harper almost died by being struck by lightning. The freak accident then left her with the strange ability to sense the deceased's location and relive their last living moments and feelings.
Making a living off her 'gift', Harper and Tolliver spend their days on the road, living in motels. Harper provides the families with closure explaining -or confirming- how their loved one passed or detecting where their body lies. Tolliver manages their finances and schedule, most of the time also being a crutch for Harper as they encounter rude clients not entirely convinced of her abilities. The duo live by their routine of getting in, then as quickly as possible, getting out.
Leaving one job, the duo then make their way to the next which takes them to Sarne, Arkansas. They're met with the unconvinced towns' officials after Sybil Teague, a widow who inherited a great deal of the town, requests their services to find missing girl Monteen 'Teenie' Hopkins. Teenie is the girlfriend of her recently deceased son Dell, who apparently shot himself in the head out in the woods of the Ozarks. It's there Teenie is thought to be too, some believe she 'has simply ran away' but with Harper's presence there it's obvious the girl is to be discovered dead. It's after this apparent conclusion that the plot thickens, twisting and turning, leaving the reader with the same questions a murder mystery urges; 'Who did it?' and 'why?'
Unlike the protagonist in the Sookie Stackhouse series, Harper isn't one you adore from the get-go. She's actually quite hard to like at first, with her moaning and continually up and down mood, it seems she's quite a depressing character. That being said, for all she has been through, and continues to go through, it becomes understandable and as you read on you begin to like her more. Her stubbornness and sometimes cold attitude bodes well when faced with fighting for her life, had the character been softer, it would be less likely she'd do so well. I didn't find Tolliver particularly annoying, but his character didn't excite me either, it was only as I continued with the series did I find him more interesting and feel he really came into his own. As for the other characters; they all fit into the plot well and as intended they're not all exactly likeable, but this gives us reason to go through the book blaming each one of them at one point or another, for the crime.
'Grave Sight' was a page turner, though sometimes presenting predictable situations; it was still capable of keeping me guessing who the criminal was right until the last pages. I'd recommend it to fans of Charlaine Harris' writing style, to those who enjoy murder mysteries and to those who are after a murder mystery with a paranormal twist. It was enjoyable but since i personally preferred the last two books in this series i am only going to give it 3 stars, I feel the first in a series should always be the best.
'Grave Sight' has 263 pages and you can purchase it, and the rest of the series, from Amazon. New from £1.30 and used from £0.01. It is also available for £4.49, for the Kindle.
Grave site is the first in a series of novels by Charlaine Harris the hugely successful author of the Sookie Stackhouse southern vampire books.
This series is about a character named Harper Connelly who when she was a child and it left her with the ability to find dead people and see their last moments. Although she isn't exactly comfortable with this ability she uses it to make her living by finding missing people who have died.
Unfortunately for Harper most people believe she is a fraud and has some other way of finding the bodies but they still hire her as they are usually desperate by this point. Accompanying Harper is her brother Tolliver who she has a strange relationship with as he acts as both her manager and bodyguard. They are not actually brother and sister but step siblings which is good as I got the sense through the whole book that their feelings for each other were not strictly that of siblings.
In grave sight Harper and Tolliver are called to a small mountain town to find the body of a girl who has gone missing it doesn't take long for Harper to find the body and tell them that she was murdered by being shot twice in the back. Usually Harper and Tolliver leave as soon as they have been paid but events transpire to keep them in the town and Harper realises that the murder thinks she knows more than she's letting on and if she doesn't solve it then her own life may be in jeopardy.
Although Harper can find dead people I was surprised to find that this book is more a traditional whodunit than anything fantasy or supernatural. Other than her unique gift there is no more mention of the paranormal in the book. I thought the synopsis and the cover were both misleading in this matter.
As much as I love the Sookie Stackhouse books this was a letdown, it contained none of Charlaine Harris's usual humour and was all a bit po faced and serious for my liking. Once I realised it wasn't going to be anything like the Sookie books I decided to embrace it and enjoy it as a good old fashioned murder mystery and in this regard it was ok. The murderer was easy to solve and I guessed a few chapters in how the whole thing would play out so I was waiting for some big twist but it never happened.
The characters of Harper and Toliver are also something of a letdown. One of the things I enjoyed most about the Sookie books were all the characters but in grave sight Harper comes across as both selfish and immature and Tolliver is possessive and a clichéd ladies man.
Over all this is a perfectly pleasant whodunit to while away a few hours with that I might have had more love for if I hadn't had higher expectations.
Let me start by saying that I love Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series but sadly I was disappointed by this new series. The heroine, Harper, was struck by lightening as a child which gave her the ability to find the bodies of the dead. She uses this ability to to earn a living with support from her brother. In this novel she ends up in a small town investigating a missing person that turns out to be a murder. Seemed like a pretty interesting concept, but unfortunately I found her to be a very unlikeable, unsympathetic and mercenary character. Because of this it was hard to care about what happened and so the novel failed to keep my interest. If you are thinking about purchasing this book because you like the Sookie Stackhouse series I wouldn't recommend it. However, if you like Kate Daniels in Illona Andrew's book Magic Bites then you might like this series, as I think Harper is a similarly tough character.
Having started on the "True Blood - Sookie Stackhouse" collection in recent months following the dramatisation of the books, I approached Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris with high hopes for another character to get involved with like Sookie Stackhouse.
In this series by Ms Harris, Harper Connolly is a woman who has an extra-special talent. She was hit by a bolt of lightning at the age of 15 and is now able to find the bodies of dead people, when the local authorities cannot find them. Harper by locating the bodies is also able to extract brief details and an understanding from the body of how they died.
In Grave Sight, Harper becomes involved in a missing persons case which quickly becomes a murder mystery. I initially found the story rather slow to follow whilst the background was set and the background of Harper and her step brother, Tolliver were developed. Once Harper has discovered the missing bodies, the story that develops into a murder mystery which kept me more interested and wanting to read further books in the series to see how the characters develop.
When comparing this book to the Sookie Stackhouse series, I would say that the character of Harper is not as likeable as Sookie and harder to relate to. I will be reading the second book in the series to see how Ms Harris develops the characters further.
I have read several novels by Charlaine Harris in the past six months, all featuring Sookie Stackhouse. In these books she is a telepathic who gets involved in the supernatural world of vampires, fairies and shape shifters. These I really enjoyed but I was keen to see what else this author could do, so I picked up this novel.
===About this author:===
Charlaine Harris to my mind is quite an unusual lady. She was born in 1951 and lives in Arkansas with her husband, children, dogs and a duck. Among her interests are Weightlifting and Cinemaphile. Quite an unusual lady by all accounts. Her success as a writer is based around her Sookie Stackhouse vampire books. However she has also written others including this one which was a New York Times bestseller and the first of three featuring Harper Connolly which I am going to review today.
===About the book:===
Harper Connolly is an unusual 23-year-old lady to say the least. She was struck with a bolt of lightning several years ago, that surprisingly didn't kill her and gave her a special gift. This soon became her job, as it gave her a special sense that is able to detect a dead body. Now she travels America with her brother finding missing dead bodies, as you do!!
Families or solicitors pay her to find their missing members, as she gets a buzzing in her head that gets stronger the nearer she gets to the missing body. On this occasion she was asked to come to a sleepy town of Sarne, which only survives on the seasonal tourist trade and is quiet the rest of the year.
Harper quickly found the body of a young man Dell in the woods, who has been missing for six months and Teenie his pregnant girlfriend. This clearly sent shock waves round the close-knit community and before long Harper's brother Tollier is arrested on a trumped up charge in an attempt to keep them in this unusual town. Then Harper is threatened by some youths. But who is behind these murders? Harper must find out before she is the next victim.
===My thoughts on the book:===
My overall feeling about this novel was I enjoyed it. It was a good story once I got into it, and built well into an exciting thriller. I must admit I did not however enjoy it as much as her Sookie Stackhouse books, which I thought I could more relate to.
There is certainly something in this authors writing style I find very appealing, she is very clear when describing people, places or a scene. This helps you picture the situation as if you were there yourself. She is a master at developing a story with excellent use of suspense and mystery, putting doubt the whole time into the readers mind.
Initially I really struggled to get into the story. I found I couldn't relate to the characters and I wasn't really sure what Harper Connolly was trying to achieve. I found the explanation of how she got her special powers frankly unbelievable and this allowed her to find dead bodies? Come on that's weird!!
It was also the pace that I found slow. Nothing seemed to be happening and what was
I found hard to get my head round. I do struggle to be honest with American authors as I find it hard to relate to their culture, the attitude to life and of course the wide open spaces that they have. And despite the quality of the writing I struggled to find the story interesting and logical.
Luckily I managed to stick with it, as I feel defeated when I give up on a book. And it did get better, much better. I found I started to not only enjoy the story but I got into the main characters and started to empathise with the situation she found herself in. She was written in a way you could see little bits of yourself in her character.
In many ways in Harper Connolly a clone of Sookie Stackhouse. Both ladies are in their early twenties, have a difficult family background and have a lack of success with the opposite sex despite being attractive. However, the main similarity that makes them different from everyone else is they both have a special gift, Sookie reads minds and Harper finds dead bodies. It made me wonder what this author would be like writing about us normal folk!!
I found the story really took some unexpected and exciting turns. This made up for the struggle I had understanding who was a potential suspect and why. And importantly in a town where everyone seemed related in some way, who knew who and where did they fit in to other people lives. As I found it a bit tough remembering this and the author disappointingly failed to remind the reader of this.
I think the author had a clear plan about the road the book was going down and into this she cleverly embroidered some unexpected twists and turns. It was just a pity this seemed wasted on me and I got to the stage in believing anyone could have committed the murders and in the end the author just picked one at random.
That said the story did build up into an exciting conclusion. This was where everything was explained and revealed and I got the impression that anything could happen. That certainly added to the excitement not having a clue what was going to happen to them all, although frankly she could have told me anything and I would have believed it, such as my confusion with the characters.
As you can probably tell by this a lot of the action seemed to be concentrated in the last 20 or so pages. But I'm glad to say once the truth was found it did all make sense and I could understand why everything had happened the way it did. She did clarify things very well at the end.
For me the best part of the book was the lead character Harper Connolly. Even though I struggled to believe her gift. I found her to be likeable and someone I could relate to with all the issues of being a stranger in a strange town. She often appeared vulnerable especially when her brother was not around to support her. I did take to her and found her to have a well-defined, deep and interesting personality certainly worth following.
Of the other characters in the book I found them weak and lacking any diversity in character or personality. As a result they did not stick in my mind and I struggled to remember who was who and what their history was. Maybe the author was trying to make up for this with some unusual names such as Harper, Tollier and Mary Nell.
For me this was not a real page-turner, especially in the early stages of the book, when it was like the pages were glued together. It was only the relaxed and interesting writing style that got me through this phase plus I hate giving up on a book.
The length of the novel was a little short for me, I would have liked a longer more drawn out ending, this would have added to the excitement and suspense of the novel. I needed time to digest exactly what was happening and certainly an epilogue may have helped finish the book off much better.
Overall I did enjoy this novel. It was certainly not brilliant but once I had got through the early chapters I found I could enjoy it so I got to understand more about the situation and the plot. The best bit for me was the personality of the lead character who was always somehow vulnerable while at the same time someone I could easily relate to and like. The story while interesting was a bit confusing and her support characters weak.
On balance I would not recommend this book as a good suspense thriller. There are better on the market and for me this is a poor example of this fascinating author's work. I will be sticking to the Sookie Stackhouse ones in future.
Publisher: Orion Books
About the author: www.charlaineharris.com
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
@CPTDANIELS April 2009