Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grave Surprise, Charlaine Harris

What with the success of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and the TV show True Blood based on them, it might be easy to forget that Harris actually has four book series that she is responsible for.  Granted, none of them are as prolific as her southern vampires, but fans of her work are sure to be familiar with Aurora Teagarden, Lily Bard, and Harper Connelly. 

Of her non-undead stories, my favorites are the Harper Connelly books.  Harper was struck by lightning as a teenager, and ever since she has had headaches, weakness in her right leg-and the ability to sense the dead and how they died.  She and her step-brother Tolliver travel around the country as detectives of a sort, helping loved ones locate their missing dead or determining their cause of death.  In Grave Surprise, the second in the Connelly series, Harper and Tolliver are asked to come and demonstrate their unique skills as part of an anthropology class at Bingham College in Memphis.  The professor, while pretending to have an open mind on the subject of the paranormal, actually hopes to expose them as frauds, something that he has done with every special guest he has asked to speak to his class.  Unfortunately for him, Harper is able to identify every body and the cause of death in a very old cemetery-including the body of a missing girl who was not supposed to be there.  Turns out that the girl was someone that Harper had been asked to find months earlier in Nashville.  Was it coincidence that they stumbled upon her in Memphis?  Or was someone manipulating them?

While I don't profess to believe in any kind of paranormal talents or life after death, I do enjoy reading about both of these topics-at least in the fictional sense.  Like all of Harris's books, this novel is a good popcorn read, perfect for this particular fall, when I barely have the cognitive energy at the end of the day to decide what to make for dinner, much less for deep philosophical literature.  I actually read this series out of order, so I already know the outcome of the burgeoning feelings between Harper and Tolliver, and I am almost over being squeamish about it.  I hope that when the current spate of national vampire obsession is over, she will be able to leave Bon Temps for a while and give us more about Harper (and Aurora, and Lily). 

1 comment:

  1. I have the first book in her Lily Bard series but I haven't read it yet. I will probably grab this one too....

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