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Grave Surprise (GOLLANCZ S.F.) [Paperback]

Charlaine Harris
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Mar 2008 GOLLANCZ S.F.

A bolt of lightning struck Harper Connelly when she was 15, leaving her with a strange spider web of red on her torso and right leg, episodes of weakness, shakes and headaches - and an ability to find dead people.

Harper is summoned to Memphis to demonstrate her unique talent, but there are still plenty of sceptics, even as Harper stands atop a grave and announces there are two bodies buried there. The police are convinced there's something fishy going on when the grave is opened to reveal the centuries-dead remains of a man, which they'd expected (that being his grave, after all) and a dead girl, which no one expected - except Harper, of course. And suspicions are raised even further because Harper had failed to find eleven-year-old Tabitha Morgenstern when she was abducted two years before.

Harper and Tolliver need to find the real killer to prove Harper's innocence, especially after their nocturnal visit to the cemetery in hopes that Harper can sense something more is followed by the discovery, the following morning, of a third dead body in the grave . . .

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (13 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575082879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575082878
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 271,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charlaine Harris was born in Tunica, Mississippi, and raised in the Mississippi River Delta area in the middle of a cotton field. Though her early works consisted largely of poems about ghosts and, later, teenage angst, she wrote plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee and started writing novels a few years later.

After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris launched a light-hearted mystery series 'starring' Georgia librarian Aurora Teagarden. The first of the eight books, Real Murders, was shortlisted for Best Novel in the 1990 Agatha Awards. In 1996, she released the first of the much darker Shakespeare mysteries, featuring the amateur sleuth Lily Bard, a karate student who makes her living cleaning houses.

Charlaine Harris then wrote the first of her Southern vampire mysteries starring Sookie Stackhouse, the quirky, telepathic waitress who works in a bar in the fictional Northern Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Dead Until Dark won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery. It also won Harris a whole new fan club of devoted readers and pushed her into the bestseller lists. The Sookie Stackhouse series, in which Sookie has to deal with vampires, werecreatures and other supernatural folk - not to mention her own complicated love life - was also instrumental in creating the urban fantasy genre.

Sookie Stackhouse also enchanted Alan Ball, creator of the smash TV show Six Feet Under, who took an option and wrote and directed the pilot episode for True Blood himself. It was an instant hit when it premiered in the US, and that success was repeated when it was first aired in Britain last year. The second season of TRUE BLOOD will start this spring.

Harris's newest series features Harper Connelly, a young woman who, after being struck by lightning, finds herself able to locate the bodies of the dead and to determine the cause of their death. There are four Harper titles (Grave Sight, Grave Surprise, An Ice Cold Grave and Grave Secret).

Charlaine Harris is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the American Crime Writers League. She is a member of the board of Sisters in Crime, and alternates with Joan Hess as president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance. She is married, the mother of three, and lives in a small town in Southern Arkansas. When she is not writing her own books, she reads omnivorously!

Here are the Sookie Stackhouse True Blood novels in series order:

Dead Until Dark: Sookie Stackhouse 1
Living Dead In Dallas: Sookie Stackhouse 2
Club Dead: Sookie Stackhouse 3
Dead To The World: Sookie Stackhouse 4
Dead As A Doornail: Sookie Stackhouse 5
Definitely Dead: Sookie Stackhouse 6
All Together Dead: Sookie Stackhouse 7
From Dead To Worse: Sookie Stackhouse 8
Dead And Gone: Sookie Stackhouse 9
Dead In The Family: Sookie Stackhouse 10
A Touch Of Dead (a Sookie Stackhouse short story collection_

Here are the Harper Connelly novels in series order:

Grave Sight: Harper Connelly 1
Grave Surprise: Harper Connelly 2
An Ice Cold Grave: Harper Connelly 3
Grave Secret: Harper Connelly 4

Product Description


When it comes to serving up the supernatural. Harris is unmatched. --The Romantic Times

Harris delivers a knuckle-gnawing tale populated with well-developed, edgy characters. --Publishers Weekly

A series that might just surpass all her others in popularity. --Booklist --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

Harper Connelly: a gutsy new heroine who makes her living finding the dead - telepathically!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this series 14 Sep 2007
By K. Chee
A wonderful series. Harper Connelly is not your usual kick ass heroine. She is quieter and more vulnerable. Has had lots of knocks in life as a child and has now come to rely heavily on her older stepbrother Tolliver, who saved her life after she was hit by lightning by giving her CPR. The lightning strike triggered her paranormal abilities. She is able to find dead bodies and identify the cause of death accurately. Tolliver and she are both products of parental neglect and the family were broken up by social workers when Cameron, one of her sisters disappeared when Harper was 17. For several years now the two have been on the road travelling, operating a business to find and identify dead bodies for relatives. This often puts them in danger if the cause of death is murder. The relationship between Harper and Tolliver is evolving, both feeling the need now to settle down, buy a house and lay down roots. Their emotional dependence on each other has blossomed into love and attraction, at least on Harper's side. ( We don't know yet how Tolliver feels but he is very protective of her. Hopefully this will be revealed in An Ice Cold Grave, the third book in the series coming soon.) I love the way Harper and Tolliver are so much in tune mentally, and their loyalty to each other is absolute. Harper is a very realistic, perceptive person and she carries the book. The feel of this series is very different from the Sookie series in a more subdued, reflective way which is equally if not more so, enthralling. People who have not discovered this series, you don't know what you're missing. It's one of my all time favourites.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent follow-on 4 Dec 2007
Story 2 in the 'Grave' series sees Harper Connelly and her 'brother' Tolliver Lang called in to determine the reasons for the deaths of various bodies in a town cemetary. No problem there for Harper, except during this visit she locates the body of a missing teenager previously mentioned in the first book 'Grave Sight' - and it's in a 200 year-old grave!
Hardly before the local police can suggest Harper and Tolliver had some ulterior motive for suddenly finding the girl's body, a third corpse is found in the same grave!
And, as in all Charlaine Harris's novels, there is plenty of action and mystery as the two try to establish the reasons for the deaths of the two recent bodies. Murder and mayhem are the usual bywords and I'm happy to to await the pending arrival of 'Ice Cold Grave', the third in the series. You can put Sookie to oneside now; Harper is definitely a stand-alone hero - not forgetting Tolliver, of course.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unfinished business 18 Oct 2008
carrying on from where the first book ended we are in memphis and harper discovers a body in an old grave. the only thing is the body is new and belongs to tabitha, who harper failed to find 18 months ago. so when a third body is found in the grave harper and tolliver investigate and discover who killed them both. great twist at the end as i didnt see it coming but all the signs are there! unusual heroine but that makes it work, an improvement on the first book as i couldnt put it down oncei got sucked into the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great follow up 12 Jan 2010
I am really enjoying this series and this is a great second book. I suffered a few bleary-eyed days at work after late nights of staying up to read just a bit more, and a bit more, and just a few pages more! It is infinitely better written than the True Blood books and some of Harris' other work.

Harper and Tolliver continue their work at locating dead bodies and identifying their cause of death through Harper's special skill. This time they unexpectedly find a body that they have looked for on another occasion whilst doing a demonstration in a graveyard. This of course, leads to suspicion from the locals and the police, forcing them to stick around when they would normally have left. Add to this some complications thanks to Tolliver's messy love life and Harper getting more embroiled in the dead girl's family than she would really like, and you've got another great mystery to read.

There is more background given on Harper and Tolliver's step-sibling relationship and their family history. The reasons for their mutual affection and dependence become even more clear. There is also a bit more time spent on the implications of their current lifestyle.

I really recommend that you read this book if you at all enjoyed the first one. Don't be put off if you tried the Sookie Stackhouse novels and found them trashy. This really is a cut ot two above them and well worth continuing with. Make sure you read Grave Sight before this one.

**Just a health warning about some of the other reviews (especially K.Chee's) because they reveal things that you do not find out until the last couple of chapters in the book. That's a personal pet hate of mine.**
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harper's outing to Memphis 12 Feb 2010
A Kid's Review
This is the second book of the Harper Connolly series. At the request of a college professor, Harper and Tolliver are invited to an old graveyard in Memphis for a demonstration. To their surprise, they find the body of Tabitha, a girl Harper failed to locate in a job 18 months ago.

This triggers the investigation of the death of the girl and Harper and Tolliver are once again drawn to the turmoil involving the law enforcement and the media. And they have to face yet again the Morgenstern family, the parents of the missing girl. And the investigation takes another turn when Professor Nunley, the guy who invited Harper for the demonstration, is found dead in the same graveyard when Tabitha was discovered.
When Harper and Tolliver finally get to the truth, it turns out to be someone that Tolliver knows quite well and the reason for the killer's action is as dark as the truth itself.

This is quite a good follow-up to the first book. The pace is much faster and the plot is more clever than the previous one, with something from the past biting back at the siblings. There are also some new characters introduced to the scene such as the psychic Xylda and her grandson Manfred, who is a telepath (sound familiar??) . Their addition adds colours to the gloomy atmosphere to the story. Manfred, who obviously has a crush on Harper, also gives a lot of spice to the relationship between Tolliver and Harper which is already full of tension.
On the other hand, we get to know more about Harper's background and her younger sisters. Personally, I think Charlaine has put in this build up for later books which I believe has something to do with Harper's family. I will start on the next book to see what's in store.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great series of stories
Published 2 months ago by S. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars chapter six
A really good story ,,,,,, my only criticism is the point in chapter six where Tollivermentions Harper and the cop in Sarne".....
Published 3 months ago by red90
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
i liked the book and the other titles in the harper connelly series,shame there arent anymore as i would of bought them
Published 9 months ago by lena
2.0 out of 5 stars Left cold
Formulaic writer - but this isn't a winner. Could make a TV series but needs, er, fleshing out characters more.
Published 10 months ago by Janarchy
5.0 out of 5 stars a first-rate mystery
Grave Surprise is the second book in the Harper Connelly series by American author, Charlaine Harris. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Cloggie Downunder
3.0 out of 5 stars Love harper
I do quite adore the harper and tolliver books. The main characters have lots of chemistry and a great set of circumstances. Read more
Published 13 months ago by elizabeth
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story
I like the main character in these books, though it feels like the plots aren't quite as slick as the Trueblood novels. The book was entertaining.
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Grave surprise
Another great holiday read. I liked this even better than the rest in the series. Would recommend all of the series!
Published 13 months ago by Sue ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as the first book, although slightly repetitive
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"I've never left a body unreported," I said, remembering how proud I'd been of that fact only a day before. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Frances
2.0 out of 5 stars Samey
Story line very similar to the last book but good characters. The relationship is a bit dodgy between two main characters
Published 17 months ago by Paul
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