|Grave Surprise (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 2)
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Charlaine Harris is already a star and a New York Times bestseller with her vampire mysteries starring Sookie Stackhouse and her Lily Bard mysteries. This second installment to her new supernatural mystery series might just be her biggest hit yet. Grave Sight's Harper Connelly is back, and her ability to find the dead and see their last moments is in higher demand than ever... A college class gets more than it bargained for when Harper gives a demonstration of her uncanny talent. Instead of just finding one body in an old grave, she finds two: the original occupant and a recently deceased girl whom Harper had tried, and failed, to find two years previously. To dispel suspicions about her own innocence, Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver undertake their own hunt to find the killer--only to find yet another body in the same grave.
- Charlaine Harris does not disappoint, very scary!
This was a scary and fun ride on the Harper Connelly express. Love reading an author from my hometown....more info
- Waste of time
I read the first Harper Connelly book (Grave Sight) because I thought Harper's "gift" would make for a great story. I was wrong. It SHOULD have made a great story, but the writing was so tedious and the characters so one-dimensional that I was left wondering what in the world Harris's publishers were thinking when they gave the go-ahead on the book. But because I like the Sookie Stackhouse series (at least the characters in THAT series actually have personalities) I decided to give the second Harper Connelly book a try.
I couldn't even finish it. The characters, once again, have ZERO personalities. They are about as interesting and likeable as navel lint. None of them come even close to being believable, and conversations between characters are ridiculously abrupt, dry, combative, and bear no semblence to reality whatsoever. Does Harper ever encounter people who are kind or helpful or treat her with any type of respect at all? Apparently not, because everyone she meets either accuses her, sets her up, suspects her, or is "out to get her" in some way. That's just not believeable.
But the real reason I couldn't finish the book came when Harper suddenly realized she was in love with Tolliver. It seems as though even Ms. Harris couldn't quite stomach THAT relationship because she couldn't even bring herself to come right out and say it - she could only allude to it. What a cop out. If you're going to bring in a quasi-incenstuous relationship, at least have the guts to directly address it.
For the last two books (okay...one and a half books) I had to listen to Harper introduce Tolliver as "my brother" about a hundred times and explain their relationship over and over again. By the end of the first book, I was like, "We GET IT. You're SIBLINGS. Not blood siblings, but you were raised as such. We get the point." So with that point being brought up OVER and OVER, we're all of a sudden supposed to believe that all of a sudden this brother/sister relationship has turned romantic? Ms. Harris should have never made them siblings only to have Harper lust after Tolliver later. I agree with another reviewer on this point: "EWWWWWWWW."
It is a safe bet I will NOT be reading Ice Cold Grave. ...more info
- good mystery
I had an idea who dun it, but Charlaine keeps you gussing all the way till the end. So I was never really sure. Really enjoyed the 2nd book in the Harper Connally series and I look forward to starting the 3rd. ...more info
- Pretty Good
I had enjoyed Charline Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series when I read Grave Sight. It wasn't exactly what I bargained for, but I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn't wait for Grave Surprise to come out and I was not disappointed. It was a nice change to read something other than the vampire stories that normally entertain me....a touch of paranormal, a believeably "normal" character, and an interesting story. ...more info
- Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris
Grave Surprise is the second book in the Harper Connelly series from Charlaine Harris. Harper is a woman with a bad past, the most obvious event being the day she was struck by lightning, leaving her with a myriad of small damages and the ability to find the dead. Unlike in other urban fantasies Harper is one of, if not the, only person in the world to have a psychic power. She and her brother, Tolliver who acts as her manager, travel the states working cases where people, or their bodies, are missing.
In Grave Surprise Harper has been hired to do a demonstration for a college professor's class on psychics. Sure that he's called her there to debunk her instead Harper names the occupants and cause of deaths for a little graveyard with stunning accuracy, right down to finding a new grave, a grave on top of an older grave. The newest addition the the cemetery is an eleven year old girl that Harper herself was hired to find a year ago.
The find is stunning enough for the Memphis PD, but the fact that Harper already worked the girl's case, and that the parents moved from the city where their daughter was abducted to Memphis, not far from the graveyard, makes the local cops suspect Harper and her brother and they suspect they've been set up.
Harris is a veteran mystery writer more popular for her Southern Vampire series, but with the Harper Connelly books she's turned back to her mystery roots creating a world that's a strange combination of real and dark. The cover of Grave Surprise (first US mass market edition) features a skulled jack-in-the-box popping out of an open grave. It matches the feel of the book perfectly, implying that this world inside should be bright and whimsical, but never quite makes it out the dark shadows. Likewise Harper and her brother are both trying to help people, and trying to shed the memories of an abusive past, and instead seem to be trapped by subtle chains, like depression and fears, into living dark lives.
This is the best book in the series so far, the plot is sneaky and more compelling than the first, but just as well written and unnerving. While Harris' other books might appeal to a more romance-oriented crowd this series has the potential to draw in fans who never thought they'd like a book like this, proving that Harris and her work should not be dismissed as another in a line of trend writers....more info
- Frank C. Dayton
A totaly unique premis for this series. I like the way she writes. Her characters are believable and the mystery that goes with it is well thought out....more info
- If you haven't read Charlaine Harris
Then you need to do so. The series featuring Harper Connelly is a welcome addition to Harris's other series. Harris writes for her readers pleasure so there is always a wealth of intrigue, plenty of action, and a bit of romance. Her plots are absorbing and believable, and the depth and appeal of her characters keep readers anxious for the next installment.
This latest addition to the Harper Connelly series is even more engaging than the first. Harris's previous heroines are consistently dry, tough, no nonsense women and Harper Connelly is no exception. Harper is a young southern woman who was struck by lightening and along with a weak leg and fear of storms; she inherited the ability to "read" the dead. In Grave Surprise, Harper and her step-brother Tolliver are called in to give a demonstration of Harper's supernatural ability. During the reading, Harper comes across the body of young Tabitha Morgenstern, a previously unsolved case that has haunted Harper. Once again, Harper and Tolliver are under police suspicion and must solve the murder of Tabitha Morgenstern in order to clear their names. The book takes a series of unexpected terms and along the way new characters are introduced. Grave Surprise is a very enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone looking to sit down for a few hours with a good book....more info
- Interesting but rather depressing
This new series with Harper and Tolliver is interesting - especially Harper's talent. Harper is the more interesting of the two main characters (although very depressing) as Tolliver seems to be more of a stereo type than a fully developed character. I imagine a lot of readers will be originally attracted to the book because of Harper's talent/ability (also because the Sookie Stackhouse series is done by this author) and to have most of the characters in both Grave Surprise and Grave Sight seem to dislike her - due only to this ability - is a bit difficult to understand. I believe this series (if there are more forthcoming) could be as popular as the Sookie books, but if Harper stays so depressed and so unpopular with the other characters in the books I will not be buying any more of them.
- Good new series, but I'm a Sookie fan
I really like the way Charlaine Harris writes. Her style is so easy to read and gives you clear pictures of what she's talking about. I like her new series, Grave Sight and Grave Surprise but I LOVE her Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series. You know you've got a good book in your hands when you stay up till 3 am to finish it. It happens to me every time I read Charlaine's work, this series is no exception (but PLEASE, PLEASE come out with another Sookie adventure this summer--I've got Definitely Dead just about memorized!)...more info
- Grave Surprise
I have recently become acquainted with Charlene Harris' works. I have enjoyed each and every one and hope she writes many more. The seller provided it as promised and well within the shipment window promised....more info
- Much better than the first book
The second book of the Harper Connelly Series was by far better than Grave Sight, the debut one. I could definetly connect much better with the main character and all she has been through life. Harper has the "gift" to locate corpses and find out their cause of death. Her step brother Tolliver is also her manager and they travel together through all job sites. The plot in this book is good and not as predictable(a big plus). Harper is trying to help a family whose 11 year old girl dissapear a couple years ago. It is very interesting how she develops throughout the book, and how her "feelings" for her step brother have, let's say, changed(or maybe she just now realizes what they really are). I highly recommend it....more info
- VC Andrews meets Patricia Cornwell
As far as unique mystery series go, this one is right up there. After being struck by lightning, the protagonist, Harper, finds herself ambivalent about her new talent -- being able to sense the location of dead bodies, as well as tell their cause of death. She travels the country with her stepbrother, Tolliver, helping grieving families and the occasional police department.
In this book, she is asked to take part in an "Open Mind" college course, where she demonstrates her skills in a local graveyard. To her -- and the professor's -- surprise, she finds a new body in an old grave. She and her brother are pulled into the investigation when it is determined that the body is that of a missing 11-year-old whom Harper was hired some time ago to find, unsuccessfully.
The plot is intriguing, the characters strong and unique, and the writing smooth. My big complaint -- and it is is BIG one -- is the relationship between Tolliver and Harper. It is apparent that these two are headed for romance. That in itself would be fine, if it weren't for the fact that the first 3/4 of the book is spent portraying their relationship as a brother-sister one. Yes, they aren't related by blood -- but still, everything Harper says leads us to believe that she sees Tolliver as a brother, not as a close friend. So it was with a great deal of discomfort that I read that her feelings were beginning to change and she sees him in a sexual way. A little too "Flowers in the Attic" for me. ...more info
- Pretty good
I've read most of the Sookie Stackhouse books and had actually passed on reading "Grave Sight", the first book in this series, but I loved the incredibly creepy cover art!
The plot basically goes that Harper and semi-brother/best friend get lucky enough to stumble upon the body of an unsolved case. This brings them back into contact with the family, who coincidentally have moved to the area where the body has been found. Hounded by the police and reporters Harper and Tolliver wind up trapped in a Memphis hotel. Of course they have time to sneak out and find a second body and get put on the suspicion list.
I knew who the murderer was less than 1/3 of the way through the book, which I found very disappointing. However, I loved all the characters, both major and minor so I was just fine with hanging out with them a little longer. The ending felt a tad bit abrupt to me, considering they ran around with this person under their nose all along, but not to bad.
I don't love Harper and Tolliver. To me Tolliver feels slightly flat, which I can't figure out, maybe it's just his quietness. Harper isn't exactly the quick butt fem I've gotten used to and loved in so many other series but she has an interesting talent (finding the dead) and an interesting back story.
All and all a good book to settle down with and enjoy.
I will be going back for "Grave Sight"....more info
- Well-written mystery, with paranormal theme
This was my first Charlaine Harris book, which I found based on recommended books from Amazon. I had heard of her, but was not familiar with her work, and had never even watched the HBO series about another of her characters, Sookie Stackhouse. To my pleasant surprise, as I've been disappointed by highly starred reviews often, IMO, the stars are well deserved. I found this to be a good story with an interesting twist on the "I talk to dead people" theme. The story was also well-paced. I enjoyed the interaction between Harper and Tolliver and how intelligent they were, something that seems out of the norm lately (pet peeve: women who race into dangerous situations without thought for their own, or anyone else's safety).
After reading the excerpt from "An Ice Cold Grave," at the end of this book, I plan to purchase it, along with some of her other books....more info
- This series has officially hooked me - I NEED to read book 3 now
Plot Summary: A college professor invites Harper to prove herself in a psychic challenge in an old church graveyard. As Harper blithely reveals the identity and cause of death from grave to grave, she comes across two sets of bones underneath one headstone. The man has been in the dirt for a century or more, but the little girl's corpse is a shock. What's more, this is the same little girl who Harper searched for almost two years ago. A media frenzy descends upon Harper and Tolliver, along with the girl's family. Since the police are ever-suspicious unbelievers, it's up to Harper and Tolliver to solve this crime. In the midst of this mess, Harper has an epiphany about Tolliver that scares her into silent despair concerning her much loved step-brother.
A long time ago, back when my husband and I were carefree DINKs* living in that megatropolis knows as L.A., we had lunch at a restaurant on the Santa Monica Promenade. My hubby ordered a crispy, spicy chicken dish that had him raving and craving it for days afterward. Whenever we had a chance to eat out, he'd pester me to go back to this restaurant, which was only so-so to my taste. Each time he tried it again after that first nirvana experience, that chicken dish never came out the same. It was either burnt, over-seasoned, under-cooked, or dry and stringy. Some authors can be like this. One book will make you hunger for that same kind of satisfaction, which sadly, never happens again.
Happily, Charlaine Harris is NOT one of those writers. I am always amazed at her ability to craft intricate, involved plots, and I would swear on a bible that her characters are real people who are living and breathing somewhere right now. Harper is an average person with a horrific past, and an unusual gift, ability, curse, whatever you want to call it. Sometimes when I encounter a character with superhuman skills, I can predict what their reaction will be in a given situation. Harper acts like a real person, and there is nothing canned about her responses. She's like a stumble in my stride, and I'm always surprised and mildly embarrassed that I didn't see it coming.
Harper's moment of revelation was the most fascinating part of this story, and I'm so lucky I had the next book on hand, "An Ice Cold Grave," because I started reading book three immediately after I finished this one. I think you can guess what the revelation was, but I refuse to be a spoilsport. Sorry, you've got to read these for yourself.
*DINKs - Double Income No Kids...more info
- Another great series!
This is a good read! Ms. Harris writes so well you feel that you are there and trying to help solve the crime. The story will suck you in and you will find it hard to put down. Enjoy a good read. Charlaine Harris shines again!...more info
- Second in a new series is a hit!
This is one of my favorite authors, i haven't read anything from her that hasn't been great reading. This is her second in this new series and i found it just as charming as the first book.
Keep up the great work!...more info
- Another Gem
It's so rare to find an author who can successfully produce 2 anthologies. Charlaine Harris does this flawlessly. It almost doesn't seem as though the author of the Southern Vampire books could also be the author of these (so far 2) books. Each series has its own appeal and specialness. Grave Surprise has an extreme sensitivity and a pull that makes it a book you loathe to put down, but hate to finish....more info
- Harper Connelly mystery #2 is another winner
This second Harper Connelly mystery is another great read. I love the premise of her main characters: Harper, a young woman who was struck by lightening as a young child, attaining the ability of finding dead bodies and glimpsing their final moments; and her supportive brother, Tolliver, who has his own quirks. In Grave Surprise, they are off on another complicated adventure that neatly segues from Book 1, A Grave Sight.
Charlaine Harris' stories are especially well written, I found myself totally engrossed in the story. Once again, the villain(s) were well hidden; the reader is near the end of the book, with a number of plausible characters able to fill the role, before figuring out who has done all the murdering.
I'm looking forward to Book #3.
- A surprisingly excellent follow-up to the first book
I thought the first book was interesting enough to finish, but I wasn't "WOW"ed by it. I did go ahead and pick up the second in the series, out of curiosity. I love a good paranormal mystery and I do love the author's other series! Anyway, I'm glad I did. This book was fabulous....and much more interesting than the first! (Reading the first book, though, will definately help new readers to this series understand the history of the main characters). The characters were well fleshed out, in my opinion, and the mystery not only held my attention but had me stumped for a bit. Also, the subtle direction that the relationship took with the main characters has the potential to be quite interesting. The secondary characters were all very well written and contributed well to the story. Overall, I'm excited to read the next in the series!...more info
- Sympathetic and talented sleuth
Since she was struck by lightning years earlier, Harper Connelly has been able to receive messages from dead bodies. The messages aren't always useful, and even victims don't always name their killers, but they never lie. So, when college professor Clyde Nunley asks her to visit an old graveyard, Harper accepts the fee--even though she knows Nunley would like nothing better than to prove she's a fraud. After all, Harper is used to being though a fraud. Fortunately, her step-brother is always there to help take care of her.
In this particular graveyard, though, Harper gets a nasty surprise. Most of the graves are old, but one grave sends two messages--a long-dead man and a recently murdered girl Tabitha Morgenstern, one of Harper's failures a year earlier, has at last shown up. The odds of Harper being invited to a graveyard hundreds of miles from the girl's abduction by coincidence are so small as to be insignificant--but who would set Harper up like that--and why?
Author Charlaine Harris creates a sympathetic character in the damaged and abused Harper. As the police question whether Harper might have been involved, Harper herself has to believe that someone in poor Tabitha's family must be responsible. But why was the body put where Harper could find it--why not simply walk away from the perfect crime?
After a strong start, I found that the middle dragged just a bit in GRAVE SURPRISE as Harper dealt with her suddenly heightened feelings toward her step-brother. The clues were laid out and the characters introduced early on, but then Harper seemed to go into meltdown mode, fixating on her 'brother,' and repeating, too often, her conclusions about each of the suspects. Still, Harris tuned up the heat with a strong conclusion.
Harper, with her strange talent, her fears, and her open-minded acceptance of those who are different makes a refreshingly different sleuth. Harris's capable writing definitely holds reader interest and makes GRAVE SURPRISE a hard book to put down. While this isn't perfect, it's certainly an enjoyable treat. ...more info
- He spake well who said that graves are the footprints of angels. - Longfellow
This is the second book in the Harper Connelly Mystery series.
When Harper Connelly was a young girl she was struck by lightning. Since the lightning strike there are several oddities that are now a normal part of her life; weakness in one of her legs, a spider web pattern on her leg, headaches and oh yeah, she can locate dead people. If Harper is in a reasonable distance of a corpse she can find its exact location and see the deceased's final moments.
Harper and her stepbrother, Tolliver, travel to Memphis to hold a demonstration of her talents at a very old cemetery whose records have just been located. Professor Nunley brings her out there thinking to prove her a charlatan in front of his class, only to have Harper accurately name the deceased and their causes of death. When she stumbles on a recent burial of a young girl, the professor thinks he has won. But, of course, Harper is right and memories of a case she wasn't able to solve come flooding back when she knows she finally found the poor girls body.
Harper and Tolliver are then the center of a media storm as Harpers gift is scrutinized and the search for the killer begins...
I admit to being a little put off by the unusually close relationship Harper and Tolliver seem to share. I don't know why, maybe it's because I have a brother and if he did half the things that Tolliver does, I'd scream, flee, then vomit... and I am sure the feeling is mutual. During the first book, Grave Sight (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 1), I had to repeat "they are step siblings; there is no blood between them." I think half way through this book I finally got over it. Halfway through this book I began to see beyond the "step" label and just see two people who share an intense past and who love and care for one another, deeply.
This was a great follow up to Grave Sight (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 1). I was pleased to find the mystery a little more challenging then the first one and found myself flip flopping through the list of suspects. I thought the characters gave the reader an interesting mix of feelings, often times both sympathy and suspect. I already ordered the third book, An Ice Cold Grave (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 3), and then went on Charlaine Harris's web site to see when I might be able to get the fourth book. It's safe to say, I am hooked!
I have read Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series and thought I would give this one a try - absolutely loved it!! Just as good with a different twist to Harris' humor level!! A must read....more info
- Solidified Harper as a definite "MUST READ"
While the first book was okay and had me coming back for more, the second book "Grave Surprise" made Harper a permanent fixture in my personal library. This time around, the characters are rich and the mystery flavorful. I now get the subtext with her and Tolliver and rather than being icky, it makes the story a little darker.
After reading this, I went and bought the first book and this one. I look forward to the next Harper mystery....more info
- Great Mystery Plus More
This is about Harper Connelly and her step brother Tolliver. Harper was struck by lightning and now has the ability to sense how a person died by touching them or standing on their graves.
They are called in for a college course on psychic abilities. Most of the people that had been called into the class have been shown to have little or no ability. Unfortunately, by going through an old grave yard telling how different people died, the records are sealed, and Harper finds the little girl that was abducted 18 months earlier that they couldn't find.
Now Harper and Tolliver are considered suspects while they try to find out the truth. But after a confrontation with the professor that thinks Harper cheated some how, he ends up in the same grave as the one the little girl had been found in.
I really liked this book. Great story and surprise ending. I kinda had the who done it down, but I was completely off for why. This is a great story and I recommend it to anyone that likes a god mystery with a little paranormal thrown in....more info
- wow and more information
Wow, this was good and we learn more about her past and her brother.
Will they become lovers?? (he is a step brother..no blood relation)
As always this author is worth paying 24.00 for the bok.
- A Creative Visionary
Harper Connelly has been literally stricken with a gift of finding bodies and determining their cause of death. At a young age she was struck with lightning producing this abnormality. She gets by with the help of her stepbrother Tolliver who maintains the business aspect of being the human Geiger counter. After a devastating ordeal in Nashville where the duo couldn't find the body of young Tabitha Morgenstein they take on a job in Memphis doing a demonstration for an Occult class at an old graveyard. In the midst of traveling the cemetery they happen upon a grave that has only recently become double occupied. Disbelief sets in when they discover one of the bodies to be the body of the missing young girl from Nashville.
The family of the deceased have just recently moved on with their lives and planted roots in Memphis. Someone it seems wanted Harper to find the Tabitha's body, making it appear they could be suspects in the crime. Danger is lurking in the air as the body count increases, and no one seems immune from suspicion.
The storyline for Grave Surprise is one that will capture attention, but the subplot is the one that nags on your brain. Harper and Tolliver had a sister that was taken from them at a young age, Carmen. It is that mysterious disappearance and the need to fix their family that seems to make this story flow and makes the characters so driven. This complex situation ensures that one will want to be around when a conclusion is reached.
As a fan of Charlaine Harris, this reviewer has become enraptured by the Harper series. Grave Surprise has its moments of suspense, and at other times seems to drag a little which leaves this reader a little disappointed considering its predecessor Grave Sight. The desirable outcome however is that we can finally lay little Tabitha to rest. If Mrs. Harris's style is true to form there is no telling what adventures will lay in store for Harper and Tolliver. This creative visionary shows that she can have more than one hit series at a time, and can be ranked among the elite in mystery authors.
Reviewed by Joyce
Copyright ? 2006 CK2S Kwips and Kritiques. All rights reserved.
- Better the Book 1
I found this book even more interesting than "Grave Sight", but I am not sure I like the direction future plots will be taking.
- One of her best.
Just when you think you know where the story might be going, she throws in a curve. I can't wait for the next book....more info
- Another great series!
Charlaine Harris has done it again. This series is just as wonderful as her other. Grave suprise joins the world of the dead and keeps you guessing who done it till the end. I really loved the characters in this book, they have alot of depth. I can't wait to read the next one. ...more info
- Full of fun twists
What a treat to read this whole series in one shot. Harris is such a good writer. I thought I had the answer about sixteen times, but missed. She kept me guessing, but when the answer came, it was very satisfying and made good sense. These books really take the reader to a different world. The only problem with this series is that it's hard to find other books that measure up after you've read these. That's a happy problem. What a good writer. Wow. ...more info
- Ms. Harris does it again!
Harper Collins and her stepbrother Tolliver have come to Memphis at the request of Professor Clyde Nunley. He has asked Harper to demonstrate her unique ability to find the dead and know how they died. When she comes the grave of a centuries-old man she not only identifies him, but a second corpse buried on top--the body of a girl Harper had been hired, but failed, to find previously. Now that they've found the body, the question is who killed her?
I'll admit I like books involving the paranormal when it's well done, and this is. This series is more serious than Ms. Harris Sookie Stackhouse series, which I like. The main character and her step-brother are interesting, well-developed characters whose pasts tie them together in a unique way which will certainly influence their future. Harper struggles with the aftereffects, both physically and emotionally, of the event which triggered her abilities and with the lack of understanding from others. To me, this gives her a vulnerability and sense of frustration which seem very human. The story is well-plotted and interesting with some fascinating secondary characters. They story being set in Memphis added an interesting side element about which one wouldn't normally think. I very much enjoyed this book and recommend it to those who enjoy the paranormal.