Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For True Blood and Sookie Fans

A Review for The Harper Connelly Mystery Series by Charlaine Harris

Book 1: Grave Sight
Ever since Harper Connelly survived a zap from a lightning bolt, she's been able to find dead people, a skill that makes the protagonist in the first installment of Harris's new series a tad more bizarre than the mind-reading heroine of the author's Sookie Stackhouse books (Dead as a Doornail, etc.). Harper travels to the Ozark town of Sarne, Ark., to find a missing teenage girl's body, accompanied by her stepbrother, Tolliver, who acts as her manager and bodyguard and with whom she shares a thinly disguised physical attraction that they manage to keep at bay by engaging in casual sex with various partners. Finding the body takes no time at all, but leaving town afterward isn't so easy. When Harper's life is threatened and Tolliver ends up in jail on trumped-up charges, it quickly becomes apparent that something sinister is going on in Sarne. Harris delivers a knuckle-gnawing tale populated with well-developed, albeit edgy characters. A nifty puzzle toward the end will challenge the most jaded mystery buffs.

Book 2: Grave Surprise
At the start of Harris's winning second supernatural caper to feature Harper Connelly (after 2005's Grave Sight), a skeptical anthropology professor, Clyde Nunley, tests Harper's gift of clairvoyance in a historic Memphis cemetery, where Harper correctly senses a fresh corpse in the wrong grave. Strangely, the body turns out to be a missing 12-year-old girl, Tabitha Morgenstern, whom Harper failed to locate in Nashville on a case two years earlier. The hotel suite of Harper and her manager and stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, both of whom fall under suspicion, becomes a magnet for a medley of amusing characters, including Memphis cops, Tabitha's assorted relatives and a drunken Clyde Nunley, who, shortly after accusing Harper of fraud, is found dead in the same grave as Tabitha. Peppered with the author's trademark deadpan wit, this book should help make Harper and Tolliver as popular as Sookie Stackhouse, the heroine of Harris's vampire mystery series (Definitely Dead, etc.).

Book 3: An Ice Cold Grave
Bestseller Harris's exciting third Harper Connelly mystery (after 2006's Grave Surprise) finds the psychic sleuth faced with her most challenging and heartbreaking job to date: locating the bodies of runaway boys who the people of Doraville, N.C., suspect have become victims of a serial killer. After Harper locates eight long-dead bodies, much to the surprise of skeptical Sheriff Sandra Rockwell, a mysterious figure attacks Harper. Though all Harper wants is to go home and recover from her injuries, the local authorities and State Bureau of Investigation agents demand that she stay in town to help with their investigation. The cold case heats up fast, attracting media attention as well as Harper's friends, ailing psychic Xylda Bernardo and her doting grandson, Manfred, who make another gruesome discovery. Harper's changing relationship with her stepbrother, manager and confidant, Tolliver Lang, lends personal interest. Harris dependably delivers fear with charming down-home finesse.

As a true Sookie Stackhouse and Southern Vampire Mystery fan (I love Eric), I'd always been a little afraid to branch off into Charlaine Harris' other series because I was worried I'd be disappointed. But after watching True Blood for the first time last season my mom got hooked on the show and borrowed all my Sookie Books until she'd read them all. Then she promptlyl said to me "What will I read now?" So when mother's day rolled around I bought her Grave Sight. Upon her approving recommendation I read it after her and decided I was not disappointed at all! Harper Connelly isn't as funny as Sookie, and the men in the books aren't as amazing as Eric (of course, no one would be), but I found myself easily attached to Harper and her step-brother Tolliver almost right away. And this series is a little darker than the Sookie books, especially the beginning of the Sookie series, and as someone who tends to gravitate to the darker fiction, I appreciated that. The mysteries (the plot) are well thought out, well-planned, and not predictable (but you can piece it together as Harper does and look for the right clues). I'd say the third book in the series was the best, while the second book wasn't quite as good as the first. I'm definitely purchasing the fourth one when it comes out, and I'm going to invest in her other books as well. If you like the Sookie books, these are definitely worth checking out.

To check out Charlaine Harris' website, click here.
The next book in the Harper Connelly Mystery Series, Grave Secret, comes out October 27, 2009.

2 comments:

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

I've heard this entire series and it's great with a sneaky surprise!

Harper is sweet, but not as funny as Sookie. Tolliver is her half-brother or is he?

I loved the twist and turns!

Dottie :)

Rabid Fox said...

I haven't even had a chance to read the first "Sookie Stackhouse" novel yet, and now I find out there's an entirely separate series too? Yeesh. My TBR list gets longer by the minute.

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Five Random Things About Suzie

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