Wednesday, October 17

Grave Surprise - Charlaine Harris

When Harper Connelly was fifteen she was struck by lightning. Resuscitated by her step-brother Tolliver, ever since she's been able to find the bodies of the dead and know how they died. She now travels the country with Tolliver , hired by families to find their loved ones.
The assignment seemed straight-forward enough - session guest in a college course on paranormal practitioners, Harper was to identify the causes of death for randomly selected inhabitants of a long abandoned cemetery near the campus. A box of records had recently been unearthed, and there was no way she could have had access prior to the test.
Course lecturer Dr Nunley was initially skeptical, then convinced Harper had somehow cheated, as time after time she correctly identified the causes of death. Until the last grave - in addition to the known inhabitant, murdered by his brother, Tolliver felt the presence of a young and relatively recently dead girl, also murdered. The body of a girl Harper had been paid to find in another state, the year before. Now Harper and Tolliver not only need to find out who killed Tabitha Morgenstern but also clear their names. Because the police and the media really don't like coincidences.
This is the second Harper Connelly novel, successor to Grave Sight. I've become a little weary of her Sookie Stackhouse series, and read the first in this new series with some trepidation. The series are worlds apart - Harper is human, lives in a world populated only by humans, and denies any precognition or other paranormal ability. The writing is interesting, the puzzle intriguing, and the character of Harper attractive. There's a nicely subtle twist in the sibling dynamic that was gently foreshadowed here and in the first novel that demonstrates Harris's growth as a writer; that alone is reason enough to read the third Harper novel. - Alex

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