GRAVE SECRET by Charlaine Harris [Review]

Grave Secret

Grave Secret is the fourth book (and maybe the last if the rumors are true) in Charlaine Harris’ Harper Connelly series. Harris is best known as the author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, which the TV show True Blood is based on. Like Sookie, Harper has a special gift that differentiates her from most humans. Since being struck by lightning as a teenager, she can sense the remains of dead people and “see” what killed them. There’s a demand for her talents and she and her stepbrother, Tolliver, make their living by charging for her services. In Grave Secret, Harper and Tolliver go to Texas at the request of Lizzie Joyce who has questions about the death of her wealthy grandfather. There’s also lots of family drama as Harper and Tolliver try to reconnect with their younger sisters and discover that Tolliver’s drug-addict father is out of prison. This brings up bad memories of their dysfunctional childhood and the disappearance of their sister, Cameron, eight years ago.

After having mixed feelings about An Ice Cold Grave, I was pleasantly surprised by Grave Secret. I think Grave Secret is the strongest entry in the series because it spends a lot of time on Harper and Tolliver’s back-story. Harris explores Harper and Tolliver’s complex relationship and, for me, it finally lost some of the ick-factor. Manfred also plays a large role in this book and I continue to adore him (I would totally read a Manfred spinoff!). My only complaint about the story is that some coincidences take place that are pretty hard to swallow. The ending also felt rushed, but still supplied a nice amount of closure. It’s rumored that this is the last book in the series, so that closure was really important. If you’re interested in the series, the books, in order, are: Grave Sight, Grave Surprise, An Ice Cold Grave, and Grave Secret.

Quotes from Grave Secret:

Though I can’t agonize over every dead person I find, I don’t want to lose my humanity, either.

I had this image I needed to conform to, though, maybe culled from the comic books I’d read as a child or the tough-woman fiction I read now. Every female private eye and cop was able to protect citizens without a second thought, able to shoot the evildoer after tracking him down. Every comic-book heroine was able to perform fearlessly, able to commit acts of heroism in the cause of protecting mankind.

“Someone’s got to stand between regular people and bad ones.”
I noticed the detective didn’t say “good” people. If I’d been a cop as long as Flemmons had, I wondered if anyone would seem truly good to me, either.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Berkley Hardcover | Pages: 320 | Source: Library | Buy on Amazon

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