Sunday, December 19, 2010

Harper Connelly Books 2-4

Grave Surprise
by Charlaine Harris

While providing a demonstration for a professor and his class, Harper runs across the grave of a girl she had searched for years before and had not found.  What follows is a dangerous journey to find the killer and figure out why that killer lured Harper to that grave.

Ice Cold Grave
by Charlaine Harris

For the past few years, boys have been mysteriously disappearing.  Initially shrugged off as having run away, the new sheriff thinks something more sinister is going on and calls on Harper Connelly and her special "talent" to find the truth.  What Harper finds is a mass grave filled with the remains of tortured boys.  She also finds out that the killer is not too happy to have had his burial ground found, and now he wants Harper dead.

Grave Secret
by Charlaine Harris

Brought in to simply tell a family whether or not the now-dead patriarch was murdered, Harper comes across the body of assistant who had died around the same time and makes a pronouncement: the girl had died in childbirth and not appendicitis.  Now the family of that patriarch needs to find the child and discover if she is the heir to a fortune, or just the daughter of some random guy.  During her search, she also finds clues to solve the crime of her sister's disappearance eight years before.  But can Harper figure out all the clues before it's too late?

Final thoughts:  The first two books in this series were pretty good.  They had a mystery, drama, and a pinch of the supernatural.  However, the third book (Ice Cold Grave) was when Charlaine Harris seemed to get writer's Tourette's.  Where the first books had been tame enough to recommend to older teens, this third book suddenly became curse central with f-bombs dropped left and right.  Harris also seems to find it necessary to go into great detail about the torture and rape of the dead boys.  Finally, she decided to drop in a semi-incestuous, and very graphically described sexual relationship between Harper and her stepbrother.  The last book felt like Harris was giving up the series (possibly after complaints about the third book) and just wanted to tie up the loose ends.  It was a hasty, messy way to conclude Harper's story and the last few pages were a throwaway to give some closure.

Rating: 3/5 for the series as a whole.  Grave Surprise: 4/5.  Ice Cold Grave: 2/5.  Grave Secret: 3/5

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