By Sharla Rae
Most of us know author Charlaine Harris for her famous Sookie Stackhouse books which evolved into the True Blood series on Television. But she’s also written other series, the Harper Connelly Mystery series and the Lily Bard Mysteries. I just finished Grave Secrets, her 4th and possibly the last installment and on the Harper Connelly Mysteries.
Since being struck by lightning in her teens, Harper Connelly is capable of finding dead bodies. She receives an odd buzz in her head when she’s around them, and can tell how they died and when. She and her step-brother, Tolliver travel the country helping people find their lost loved ones and occasionally helping the police.
As Harper performs her cadaver-finding job, her horrible family background of trailer-trash, drug-dealing parents is gradually revealed. She doesn’t know if her parents are responsible for her sister’s long-ago disappearance or if the girl was the victim of rape and kidnapping. Nevertheless, she believes that just as she finds other dead bodies, she will one day be find her sister’s.
As in most series, there’s a common thread running through these books. Actually, in Harper’s books, there are two. The first thread is Harper’s missing sister and the quest to find her. The lesser thread is the growing romance between Harper and her stepbrother. These threads keep the reader guessing and panting for the next book.
I’d describe the Harper books as a spooky page turner in a “quiet” way. That doesn’t mean there’s less action. It means that as a reader I was invested in the characters more than the other elements. They are more real, more layered. I know them! Thus I understood their quests, their ups and downs, and their quirks. They suspended my beliefs and allowed me to exist in their world for a little while. And thank you Charlaine Harris for that!
In the 3rd book, Grave Secret, the threads are tied up in a neat bow, all mysteries solved, romance resolved. So is that the end? Though I have no way of knowing for sure, I think not. Why? A psychic called Manfred emerged in the second book and reappeared in the last. He’s tantalizingly weird and funny and definitely deserves his own series. Maybe I’m psychic because I foresee great plots surrounding this character. We’ll see, I guess. Wanna take bets?
Visit Charlaine Harris at: http://www.charlaineharris.com/
PS: Just read that CBS is planning a TV series for Harper Connelley called Grave Site!