'H'Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris is the July book selection for the Authors by the Alphabet online book club for the author last name beginning with the letter 'H' and was chosen by me. Stop by tomorrow for the Q&A book club discussion. Anyone is welcome to join the discussion. If you'd like to join the Authors by the Alphabet book club, we'd love to have you. Visit the sign up post on Paula's blog HERE.
Grave Sight is the first book in the Harper Connelly Mystery series by Charlaine Harris. Harper Connelly was struck by lightning when she was a teen and since then, she has been able to locate dead bodies and know how they died. Now an adult, Harper offers her services as a means of earning her living. Her stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, is her manager and together they travel around the country wherever there's work, living out of hotels.
In this story, Harper is summoned to the small town of Sarne, Arkansas to find the body of a missing teenager named Monteen "Teenie" Hopkins. Teenie went missing the same day that her boyfriend Del Teague was found shot dead in the woods, presumedly from self inflicted gunshot wounds to the head. Harper finds Teenie's remains in the same woods and reveals that she was indeed murdered while trying to run away. Despite the fact that Harper helped the community by finding the murdered teen and determining the causes of death of both Teenie and Del, the townspeople are suspicious and unkind to Harper and Tolliver and soon they are caught up in all sorts of trouble. Circumstances force them to stay in Sarne until things get cleared up, so to help their own cause, Harper and Tolliver try to figure out the mystery of who the killer is in Sarne.
The murder mystery was not terribly convoluted, but mysterious enough to keep me turning the pages to see how it would be solved and the consequences the truth would have on the characters. There were moments where I had to pause and recall how the various citizens of Sarne were connected to each other, because it sure felt like everyone had some unusual or secret connection to everyone else.
What made this book most compelling to me was Harper herself. She's a very interesting character. She's very straightforward and 'tells it like it is' it comes to most people and aspects of her life. This often makes Harper come across as a cold, uncaring person, but it's actually a really good attitude when it comes to her job when most people with whom she interacts are so quick to judge Harper as unnatural or evil and she's constantly subjected to disapproval from the very same people whom she helps.
While Harper exudes a blasé attitude on the outside, she also harbors an emotional vulnerability on the inside. She typically only lets this side show when she's either alone or with Tolliver. She and Tolliver grew up in an extremely dysfunctional home and both are still trying to deal with many ramifications of their early life. Harper also has major anxieties with thunderstorms due to having been struck by lightning. Harper seems lost and depends completely on Tolliver as her anchor in life. Both she and Tolliver live a pretty lonely life. It's sad really, and I hope they find some true joy and contentment in life soon.
I enjoyed Grave Sight and look forward to unraveling the mystery that is Harper Connelly in subsequent books in this series as she and Tolliver solve more mysteries. 4 out of 5 stars.
NOTE: The Authors by the Alphabet Book Club Q&A for Grave Sight will be posted tomorrow.