Saturday, February 9

An Ice-Cold Grave – Charlaine Harris

Hired to find a missing teenaged boy in Doraville, North Carolina, Harper Connelly discovers the burial site of her first serial killer – as well as Jeff McGraw, and five other local boys who vanished over a five year period (all written off, by the outgoing sheriff, as runaways), Harper detects the remains of two other abductees. What they experienced before their merciful deaths makes her weak and sick, and all she wants to do is leave. But between the state investigators, and being assaulted herself, Harper and her step-her Tolliver are compelled to stay. Trapped by a rapidly-approaching ice-storm, and certain that the killer is local, Harper’s in greater danger than ever before. And even when the killer’s in custody, Harper’s not reassured that the town is safe.
This is by far the most graphic of Harris’s novel to date – both the violence (which is far from gratuitous), and the sex scenes (with which I was a little uncomfortable) are more detailed than her usual style, but not at the expense of the rest of the novel.
The plot is dynamic and fast-paced, the relationship between Harper and Tolliver is nauanced and involving, the secondary characters are compelling, and though I guessed the identity of the psychopath fairly early on I didn’t feel cheated. Harper does have a touch of the Sookie about her – every eligible man around is drawn to her – but it’s less inexplicable and I can live with it. I’m certainly interested in reading the next instalment. – Alex

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