Friday, May 21, 2010

Grave Secret, by Charlaine Harris

Grave Secret (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 4)I've always really enjoyed the stuff Charlaine Harris writes, from the Sookie Stackhouse novels on which the tv series True Blood is based, to the Aurora Teagarden, Shakespeare, and Harper Connelly series, so I was happy to see this latest from her. For those of you who are new to the serires, Harper Connelly was struck by lightning as a teenager, and as she recovered, she discovered the ability to listen to the dead, to learn just a bit about the last minutes of their lives. She's traveled around the country using this ability to help people know how their loved ones died.
Harper and her step-brother/lover Tolliver have returned to the Dallas area to work for a rich family, the Joyces, who want to know how their grandfather died. He'd been found out on the ranch after an apparent heart attack. The things that Harper discovers during her walk throught the family gravesites stir up the past in ways that bring trouble to the Joyces and to her, as well.
She and Tolliver had a rotten upbringing. His father and her mother were both drug addicts, who neglected their children to the point of abuse. They have a pair of younger sisters who were adopted by Harper's aunt and uncle, who now live in Garland, near Dallas. So, they decide to hang around for a while to visit with the girls. While they are there, they find out that Tolliver's father has been released from prison, and wants to reunite with his family.
Harper has also been haunted for years by the disappearance of her older sister, Cameron, which happened about eight years ago. Wherever she travels, she's on the lookout for evidence of her sister's fate.
Someone in town either doesn't like Harper's work with the dead in the first place, the results of her investigation of the Joyce's family patriarch's death, or something else entirely. A drive-by shooter wounds Tolliver, leaving him in the hospital, then kills a couple of other people who get too close to Harper. Figuring out whodunnit in this case involves some interesting twists, and is definitely an enjoyable read.

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