Muse's Books (muse_books) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Muse's Books

Books 147-148: Grave Sight and Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

Book 147: Grave Sight (Harper Connelly Book 01)
Charlaine Harris, 2005.
Genre: Mystery with some paranormal content.
Other Details: Hardback. 272 pages.

Since being struck by lightning as a teenager Harper Connelly has the ability to sense the dead and to share their final moments. She makes her living by offering her services to worried parents, concerned friends and sometimes police departments. Over the years she has established a reputation for success though is used to people being repulsed by her and what she does. She travels with her step brother, Tolliver Lang, who acts as her manager and bodyguard. Both carry the scars of an abusive and neglected upbringing by their parents, who had once been successful before they descended into drug and alcohol addictions. Harper terms this their "riches to rags" story.

This opening book finds Harper and Tolliver in the small town of Sarne, Arkansas where they've been invited to help locate a missing girl, who is presumed dead. Her boyfriend had been found shot in the woods though it was unclear whether he'd been shot or committed suicide. Finding the body of the girl isn't the hard part of Harper and Tolliver's task, it is leaving the small town afterwards as they find themselves caught up in small town intrigue, lies and murder.

Although very different to the Sookie Stackhouse series in tone and content with not a vampire of shape shifter in sight, other qualities of Harris' writing were certainly present. I didn't warm to Harper as quickly as I did Sookie and that may have been because there is in its way a darker perspective with less apparent humour. Still I found this an engaging, quick read and moved straight on to Book 2.

Book 148: Grave Surprise (Harper Connelly Book 02)
Charlaine Harris, 2006.
Genre: Mystery with some paranormal content.
Other Details: Hardback. 304 pages.

This picks up the story right after the last one as Harper is invited by sceptical anthropology professor, Clyde Nunley, to give a demonstration of her talent in an old Memphis graveyard for his occult studies class. It is obvious he expects to expose her as a fraud. Then, instead of finding one body in an old grave, she finds two: the original occupant and a recently deceased girl. It soon emerges that the latter is Tabitha Morgenstern, a girl whom Harper had tried, and failed, to find two years previously. Both Harper and Tolliver fall under suspicion and are caught up in an investigation that involves Tabitha's family and the Memphis police.

Again this was a very quick and easy read that was hard to put down. Harper began to grow on me as a character and I could appreciate the dry humour inherent in her perspective. Again, I appreciated Harris' ability to write clear and crisp prose with snappy dialogue and to deliver an enjoyable mystery.
Tags: murder mystery, paranormal

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