Grave Secret: 4 (Harper Connelly series) Paperback – 4 Nov 2010
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Praise for the Harper Connelly Mystery series
-Charges in with plenty of plot.---Entertainment Weekly
-[Harris] has a great gift for getting inside her characters and making them amazingly real.---The Denver Post
-Grabs your heart and doesn't let go.---Gumshoe Review
-A winning supernatural caper...Should make Harper...as popular as Sookie Stackhouse.---Publishers Weekly
-A spooky but sweet amateur detective mystery full of interesting characters.---Locus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Harper can find dead people, but now it's clear someone wants her dead...See all Product description
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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.
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.
"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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