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on 14 September 2007
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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VINE VOICEon 4 December 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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on 18 October 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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on 6 July 2012
Have been reading the Sookie Stackhouse stories and was unsure what to expect.
Good idea,not sure whether I like the "Heroine".
This is no True Blood but spooky enough to keep you interested
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on 12 July 2011
This novel is just as good as all her other novels. I just love Harper Connelly and her brother/lover. Just imagine being struck by lightening an being able to feel the dead!! Creepy, but exciting. Although, like Sookie, Charlaine Harris's other heroine, it must be uncomfortable 'hearing' other voices and can't wait for further novels.
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on 12 July 2016
I like detective stories with a twist. For many readers I suspect that Harper Connolly is easier to believe than the True Blood series, as all you have to accept is that Harper can read dead bodies, which transmit to her the cause of their death (although not reveal who had killed them). Yes, there is in this book a psychic as well, but her pronouncements are seldom clear.
Interesting series, and like other fans I wish there were more than four.
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on 23 June 2016
I would recommend this book. However, i am a fan of the Charlaine Harris universe. I particularly enjoy the introduction of characters from other series of books, I feel this is a nod to all her fans! I haven't met a book I haven't enjoyed, through Sookie, aurora, midnight and grave, all wonderful! As ever, a good whodunnit with twists and turns and spookiness! A very enjoyable read.
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on 12 February 2010
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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Grave Surprise is the second book in the Harper Connelly series by American author, Charlaine Harris. Harper has been invited by a sceptical anthropology professor at Bingham College in Memphis to demonstrate her talent for determining cause of death at an old cemetery. She does well until the last grave, where she finds two bodies, the most recent burial being Tabitha Morgenstern, an eleven-year-old whom Harper had tried unsuccessfully to find in Nashville almost two years ago. Harper and Tolliver realise immediately this cannot be a coincidence. Soon they are embroiled in an investigation that attracts media attention (of the wrong sort) and have to face the distraught family. Throw into the mix a nosy PI, a single-minded FBI agent, a psychic ex-prostitute and her pierced and tattooed grandson, disbelieving police and family members with their own agendas, followed by yet another corpse in the same grave, and you have a first-rate mystery with plenty of twists and turns, a couple of red herrings and plenty of suspects. The reader learns a little more of Harper's own history, Harper makes a startling discovery about herself and the psychic makes some personal predictions for her that the reader will do well to remember for the next instalment, An Ice Cold Grave.
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on 11 July 2013
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."
Harper Connelly, Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

I picked up the second book in the Harper Connelly Mysteries, Grave Surprise, from the library yesterday, and I've already finished it. This is partly due to an interesting mystery and partly due to having a lot of spare time over the past 24 hours. I am looking forward to getting hold of the next book in the Harper Connelly Mysteries, An Ice Cold Grave. Fingers crossed the library has this book in next week.

Grave Surprise picks up some time after the ending of Grave Sight. I'm not sure how much time has passed because it isn't mentioned. It don't think it is too long because in Grave Sight, Tolliver mentions that Harper has been asked to demonstrate her ability to a class that essentially tries to debunk people with abilities like Harper as frauds. At the beginning of Grave Surprise, Harper and Tolliver are in the cemetery at Bingham College in Memphis. The college class has gathered to test whether Harper is the "real deal" as such. They have recently located the registry of the graves in the cemetery so there is no way that Harper could have found the information out prior to meeting them at the cemetery. Harper moves from grave to grave successfully identifying the cause of death for each grave. There is a shocking discovery when Harper finds two bodies buried in the same grave. One body belonged to Josiah Poundstone, a man who was murdered via a stab wound that gave him blood poisoning fifty years ago. The other belonged to an eleven year old girl named Tabitha Morgenstern. Harper had spent weeks trying to locate the child's body when she went missing, but to no avail. It quickly becomes apparent that Harper has been drawn to the cemetery to locate Tabitha's body, which has been recently relocated by the murderer. Harper is viewed as a suspect and is prevented from leaving town. Harper is keen to solve the mystery, unlike in the first book, Grave Sight. I think because the disappearance reminds her of her own missing sister, Cameron. Will Harper be able to solve the mystery of Tabitha's disappearance and murder, clearing her own name and giving Tabitha's parents some peace?

I found the beginning of the book interesting, especially once the two bodies were found in one grave. I also liked the link between the first and second books (Tabitha Morgenstern was mentioned in passing during the investigation of Teenie Hopkins in Grave Sight). As the story progressed though, I had a sense of déjà vu. Although, the mystery itself is entirely different from the mystery in Grave Sight, several main plot points are repeated. For example, Harper and Tolliver are suspects and are visited repeatedly by police officers, and are unable to leave town. They have to call their lawyer to help them out, and Harper receives several threats. It was almost like re-reading Grave Sight, but with a different murdered child. I didn't like the repetitiveness, but how else could the mystery be developed? I am interested to see whether Harris can change this up in the third book, otherwise the repetitiveness may become irritating.

I think the saving grace was that the mystery was intriguing enough to keep me reading. Unlike, the last book where I figured out ahead of time who the murderer was, and their motive, this time I figured out the murderer but I couldn't fathom the motive. Once again, Harris demonstrated her mystery writing skills in that she kept me guessing by feeding my red herrings that made me question who I thought was responsible. I really enjoy this as it made me think. While I wasn't quite as shakable in my decision as to who was responsible when reading this book, I had no idea why the person had done it. I was surprised at the motive. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's such a trivial reason to take someone's life, but I guess that's what happens.

There were also some interesting reveals in the book. The one that stands out the most is Harper's revelation that she has feelings for Tolliver that aren't sisterly. I now understand why I thought the relationship between Tolliver and Harper was strange for a sibling relationship (For example, at one point Tolliver undresses Harper and puts her to bed). It was disturbing in the first book because Harris made a big deal of emphasizing that they considered each other as brother and sister (even though they are not biologically related). Everything falls into place and the actions become much less weird now that Harper has feelings for Tolliver. Although, it might seem disturbing at first because they were raised as siblings, they are not actually related and they were brought together as a family when they were already teenagers. In this sense, it might be better to think of them as old friends. I am intrigued to see where this goes in the next book. Equally intriguing is Harper's encounter with the ghost of Josiah, who takes her hand and tells her to be careful. He manages to manifest as a physical being that even Tolliver sees. This leads Harper to question her beliefs about the afterlife, and is an exciting route for the series to develop in subsequent books.

There were a few characters that didn't seem to have any purpose though. There was one private investigator and one FBI guy who questioned Harper and Tolliver but served no other purpose. I think it would have been better to keep to the same two police officers, Lasey and Young, throughout. The only thing I can think of is that these characters will come into play later on in the series.

Final Verdict: If you like mysteries with a paranormal edge, then definitely read this book. It is as good as the first book, although slightly repetitive.
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