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4.3 out of 5 stars61
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 22 May 2014
Having read through all the true blood series by Charlaine Harris i was looking for something else to read so thought i would give the harper connelly series a try. Really enjoyed the books, i think if you liked the style of Charlaine Harris writing from the true blood books you will enjoy these. x
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on 3 February 2010
As always this book is in a series and it will really only make the best of sense if you've read all of them. So go and do that please. If you have read all of them then you should know what you're getting into. Harper was struck by lightening as a teenager which left her with a whole load of problems - the main one being that she can sense dead bodies. As in find them, tell you how they died and reveal their secrets. She and her stepbrother Tolliver make a decent living from telling people what they usually don't want to hear, the case in this book is no different. The Joyce family bring Harper in to confirm how their Grandfather died but pretty soon things get murderous and secrets that people thought were well hidden are suddenly out in the open. Making Harper a target for a murderer.

The relationship between Harper and Tolliver changed in the previous novel, so yes in this novel you get more details of that and more sex scenes. Their fast changing relationship also adds another level to all of the family issues that are raised in Grave Secret. Harper's missing sister Cameron has been a focus for her since the start of the series, as has the wellbeing of her two younger sisters. Harper is the narrator of this series and she often takes time to pause and think about things before she says them. This is a quirk of her character, some readers may think this stilts the reading of the novel, I happen to think it shows Harper's state of mind better. So while we see everything from Harper's point of view, we also get her perceptions of her family and its changing dynamics and problems.

If this is the last novel in the series (which I think is a shame) then it certainly concludes all of the open storylines. Everything is resolved and the twists at the end of the novel were well done. Personally I like Harper's character and think its been a great series. Admittedly its probably not as popular as Sookie Stackhouse but then Sookie has had longer to settle into her books.
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on 26 August 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed the 4 books that make up this series and think that Grave Secret brings the story of Harper and Tolliver to a clean, loose end free, finish. I hope Charlaine does not take this pair any further as, for me, this enjoyable tale has properly run its course.
All readers of supernatural thrillers should find this book a satisfying read. Whilst it is enjoyable in its own right,to fully understand the background to the story it tells it is obligatory to have read the 3 that precede it. Otherwise it is rather like skipping to the last pages of a well written novel without reading all that has gone before. Start with Grave Sight and move sequentially forward. I am sure you will find the experience rewarding.
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on 20 February 2010
The main theme of this final book of the series is family. The story starts off with Harper doing a job for the Joyce family, on route to her visit to her half sisters in Dallas. With the change in the relationship between her and her stepbrother Tolliver, she has a lot of issues to sort out.

Tension is raised when Tolliver's dad Mathew, Harper's stepfather, who recently got out of jail, turns up at the scene to ask Tolliver for his forgiveness. It gets even more complicated when Harper hears another sighting of her sister Cameron after years of search and Tolliver is shot. Manfred comes to offer his help and Harper has to face her dark past and find the attacker/killer. In the end, they find out the truth behind Cameron's disappearance.
For those who enjoyed the action and detective work that Harper did in previous books, you may get a bit disappointed. This book is more about Harper and her family, different from the `finding the killer' activity in previous books.

From the beginning of the series, we've been haunted by the disappearance of Cameron and we also know about the tough upbringing of Harper and Tolliver. In this last book, we get to find out Harper's dark past and what happened to Cameron, which is a perfect ending to the series. The tension between the step siblings Harper and Tolliver and their progression into a couple could freak some people out and it may sound a bit morally wrong. However, this final book gives us all the answers we are looking for. Though it sounds strange, under the circumstances that they were in, I can fully understand why. Their situation may sound a bit extreme to some people (step siblings and half-siblings) but that does not mean it may not happen in real life.
On the other hand, Harper has become stronger under the pressure which is good to see. It's also interesting to see Manfred doing his "psychic thing" and the twist in the end really took me by surprise.

Overall, I think Charlaine has created a good series and I am sorry that this is the end of it. She has definitely captured the tension, emotion and dynamics of dysfunctional families. Although in this final book, she has tied all the lose ends and our main characters have a happy ending, I still love to read more of Harper's adventure. This series have a very different feel to the Sookie one, a very different take on the supernatural theme and death. I also like the way Harper feel about her new ability. It seems she has this mission of finding the dead as they "want to be found". I cannot wait for any new books from Charlaine.
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on 26 February 2011
I love this series of books. I have read the True Blood series and wondered what else Chrlaine Harris had written and these are absolutely great. Great characters, good story, a gripping read but do get the whole series.
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on 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"The dead want to be found,"
Harper Connelly, Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris

Grave Secret is the fourth and final book in the Harper Connelly Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. According to Harris' website, she will not be writing a fifth book in the Harper Connelly Mystery series because she feels Harper has said all that she can. While I am sad that I will not be able to read anymore about Harper's adventures, I am satisfied with the ending of the series. I do not feel short changed, and I agree with Harris' decision that it was a good place to stop.

Grave Secret is similar and yet different to the previous three books in the series. The first three books all followed the same story arch: Harper finds a dead missing person/identifies the cause of death, Harper is pulled in the investigation and her life is put in danger, followed by a showdown at the end between Harper and the murderer (usually). Grave Secret has some of these elements, but two mysteries are pulled together and slowly begin to unravel in front of your eyes. Let me start from the beginning.

Harper and Tolliver stop in Texarkana at the beginning of the book to identify Rich Joyce's cause of death. His granddaughter, Lizzy, is a believer in people like Harper and she wonders whether her Granddaddy's death was a heart attack or something more sinister. Harper moves through the Joyce family plot, reading the cause of death for each family member. Harper reveals that Rich Joyce did indeed die of a heart attack, but the circumstances were definitely sinister. Believe it or not, this isn't the biggest reveal. Harper also reads the cause of death for Mariah, a woman who looked after Rich Joyce. While everyone believed Mariah had died of an infection, Harper reports that Mariah died from child birth. The family is in complete shock. If Rich Joyce was the father, the baby would be entitled to an equal inheritance (millions in this case). The family hires a private investigator to find out what happened to the baby. At the same time, Tolliver is shot and two people are murdered. Could it be sheer coincidence that Harper uncovered a powerful family's secret? Could the reappearance of Tolliver's dad be related? And, where does the sighting of Harper's sister, Cameron, who's been missing for eight years fit in?

I have to admit, I couldn't unravel this mystery. I'd had a pretty good idea of either the murderer or the motive in the past few books; at least enough that I wasn't completely surprised by the ending. This book was different. There were so many pieces to put together. I figured out part of the mystery, and when Harper and Tolliver enter the big showdown at the end, I felt smug that I'd figured it out. When the showdown ended rather abruptly in a manner that I was not expecting, I found that there were still several chapters left. I read shocker after shocker. I had no idea about the other two big reveals, and I don't think I'd have ever guessed them either. That's what makes this book so great!

I have to admit that the pace of Grave Secret is slower than the other three books. That might be because it's longer and there are a lot more minor scenes that become essential towards the end. I'm not sure that I enjoyed it as much as An Ice Cold Grave (book three) actually. While there was more violence in Grave Secret, I felt more invested in the mystery of the eight missing boys. That being said, the ending of Grave Secret is the best ending throughout the entire series. It is bittersweet.

The only grievance I have is with the focus on the brother sister status of Harper and Tolliver's relationship. We established in An Ice Cold Grave that there weren't biologically related and so it was okay. Yet, in this book, Harris returns to the issue constantly. I understand that it might shock people who have always thought of them as brother and sister, but that being said, Mark and Matthew (Tolliver's family members) are unsure of it and yet they don't consider Harper to be family. It's a strange situation, one that only needed a nod here or there. In my opinion, it was over done. Just as the hints in Grave Sight (book one) that Harper and Tolliver act more than brother and sister at times was overdone. I guess I am a fan of subtly.

Final Verdict: Almost the best in the series; outdone by a millimeter by An Ice Cold Grave. If you are a fan of the Harper Connelly Mysteries, you have to read this book. It answers a lot of unanswered questions and one mystery that has been present throughout all three previous books.
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on 4 February 2012
As a great fan of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, I have branched out whilst awaiting the release of the next one in May so I bought The Harper series. I have to say I really enjoyed all 4 books in the series, and although she effectively ended the series, I could happily read some more of Harper & Tolliver's adventures.

Really good read, kept me captured - I give this one 4/5 as I guessed what was happening with the plot a couple chapters before it happened, and I feel like Ms Harris tends to rush her books to conclusion which can, sometimes, leave me rereading to see what I missed first time around!
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If this book isn't the end of the Harper Connelly series, it certainly feels like it.

"Grave Secret" is a pretty solid conclusion to Charlaine Harris' short but sweet series about a woman able to sense the dearly departed. Mysteries are solved, plot threads are wrapped up, relatives are dealt with, and dirty little secrets are unveiled -- and while one pivotal secret is rather far-fetched, it handles all the loose threads deftly while keeping the door open for more possible stories about Harper and Tolliver.

After doing a job for the wealthy Joyce family, Harper and Tolliver face their toughest challenge yet: telling super-rigid Aunt Iona, Uncle Hank and their younger half-sisters that they're a couple. It doesn't help that this town is also where they lived as the abused blended family of neglectful junkies, and where Harper's beloved sister Cameron mysteriously vanished. As if their family relations weren't strained enough, Tolliver's creepy dad Matthew appears in town, claiming he wants to mend fences.

At the same time, Harper has been hired by the Joyces to find a missing baby that may be their grandfather's secret love child -- but someone is determined to keep her from finding it. People around her are getting injured, kidnapped and murdered -- even Tolliver has been shot. And as Harper tries to unravel the mysteries from years ago, she realizes that the Joyce family has a long-ago link to her own...

It's fairly obvious in "Grave Secret" that Charlaine Harris is ending the Harper Connelly series, although she leaves the door open for future adventures (if and when she ever wants to continue). She wraps up overhanging mysteries (Cameron's murder), deals with the rifts within the Lang/Connelly family, and puts the finishing polish on Harper and Tolliver's romantic subplot. It's a satisfying finale, if a somewhat bittersweet one.

And as in the previous books, Harris' down-to-earth prose remains warm and slightly humorous, but there's a darker, gruesome edge -- long-ago deaths, gory killings (some of them Harper's friends), and the overhanging, spooky presence of the dead. The biggest flaw is that a few of the plot twists is a bit on the far-fetched side (seriously, NOBODY noticed that except one lone person?), but otherwise it's a clever tangle of interconnected clues and lies.

Harper and Tolliver are already lovers, but Harris goes out of her way to smooth out whatever wrinkles are still left between them -- including the grossed-out reaction that almost everybody has when they hear that the stepsiblings are dating. Well, it is a little weird. They also get some nice emotional closure relating to their scummy parents and more "normal" siblings (both living and dead), and Harris reveals a lot more about their hellish childhood.

And Harris does a good job sketching out seemingly cliched characters like Aunt Iona and Uncle Hank, who initially act like sour hyper-religious party-poopers, but who eventually are shown to have good hearts. The flipside is the creepy Matthew, who spouts a lot of "rehab therapy" jargon but still obviously has a lot of hatred.

"Grave Secret" is a solid ending to Charlaine Harris's supernatural mystery series, and it ties together the various plot threads pretty neatly. Enjoyable if a bit far-fetched at times.
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on 8 July 2011
The fourth Harper Connelly book sees Harper and Tolliver deal with the fallout of An Ice Cold Grave's events and also coming out officially as a couple to friends and family. They're still trying to see more of their sisters and are still hoping to set up a home nearby so they can be more involved in their lives.

Charlaine Harris has a real nice writing style, not all her chapters end on cliff hangers but I can't seem to help myself from page turning (even if I've told myself I'm going to bed after this chapter!). Her characters are normal and relatable which helps to like them and follow their lives.

With Harper and Tolliver being back in Dallas, old friends and family emerge and, of course, thoughts about Cameron. Harper has always been convinced that Cameron is dead and she'd one day find her but an anonymous tip about a sighting in Texarkana still gets her hopes up about the possibility of her being alive.

We get a bit more insight into what happened before, during and after Cameron's disappearance and see some more of what Harper and Tolliver's childhood years were like.

The major letdown with this book, for me, was the ending. It seemed rushed and kind of thrown together. Also it felt very much like the whole story is being wrapped up and I'm wondering if this is, in fact, the last in the series.
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on 22 March 2010
Dammit. Harper Connolly was probably one of my avourite charachters of Charlaine Harris. After being struck by lightning she can sense the dead and how they died. Pretty unique premise, isn't it? The first three books didn't disappoint - we learn of Harper's background with her abusive and drug addicted parents, her sister's disappearance and her eventual love affair with step brother Tolliver.
Each book was great - original concepts, the relationship between Harper and Tolliver deepening and the introduction of great characters like Manfred. There were some great stories and I was anticipating the final book of the series - Grave Secret.
What a let down.
It was lazy. Lazy in it's writing, lazy in it's development and lazy in it's conclusion. Did all the focus on Vampire Bill mean that Grave Secret hardly got a look in? To end a series with a conclusion from a previous book IN THE SAME SERIES is a shocker. The whirlwind ending wasn't as conclusive as I thought but seemed to end with, well, a whimper.
It's a shame, as the first three books rocked, and I like everything else Miss Harris has done, but honestly? If you don't have the time to do your characters justice then delay the novel - don't just rush out something like this.
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