Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris
Jacket Cover Copy (JCC)
Note: As I get ready to type this, it will be the first time I have read it. Harris is a must buy for me, and I never bother to see what the book will involve. - One of my veteran authors, I will read anything by!
When I was fifteen, I was struck by a bolt of lightning through an open window of the trailer where we lived... I recovered, mostly. I have a strange spiderweb pattern of red on my rots and right leg, which has episodes of weakness. Sometimes my right hand shakes. I have headaches. I have many fears. And I can find dead people. That was the part that interested the professor...
At the request of anthropology professor Dr. Clyde Nunley, Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver come to memphis to give a demonstration of Harper's unique talent. And what better place to have that demonstration than in a very old cemetery?
Dr. Nunley doesn't bother to hide his skepicism, especially when Harper stands atop a grave and senses two bodies beneath her-one of a centuries-dead man and the other of a young girl, recently deceased. When the grave is opened, Harper's claim is proven true. The dead girl is Tabitha Morgenstern, an eleven-year-old abducted from Nashville tow years previously-a child whom Harper had tried, and failed, to find. The coincidence raises suspicions about her among the police-so she and Tolliver undertake their own hunt to find the killer. They make a nocturnal visit to the cemetery, hoping that Harper can sense something further about the murder.
And then, the next morning, a third dead body is found in the grave...
This is probably the BEST cover copy I have ever read. This is book 2 in a series, and though you don't need to read the first book, Grave Sight , to understand this one, it does have some background information in it. That's why I like the JCC so well, it sums up a lot of that history and lets you in on the book you will be reading. Excellent!
"They all want to be found, you know. That's all they want. Not vengeance, or forgiveness. They want to be found."
Harper Connelly and her step-brother Tolliver Lang do exactly what the JCC says. They travel the U.S. finding corpses. As long as she has a bead on their where-abouts, Harper can find the body. 18 months ago, Harper had been hired by Joel and Diane Morgenstern in Nashville, to find the body of their eleven year old daughter, Tabitha, after every other means of finding her had been exhausted. Unable to find her, Harper never forgot the little girl. After all, her own sister Cameron has been missing for years, and she has been unable to find her.
But when Harper finds the girl's body in an old cemetery in Memphis, buried on top of an old coffin, Harper realizes that the circumstances are far from ideal. It gets worse, as she and Tolliver soon find out that the parents of the girl have now relocated to Memphis. Too many things happen to make this be a coincidence, and the police make sure that Harper and Tolliver stay put.
Harper and Tolliver find themselves dealing with the Morgenstern family, all of them. Joel and Diane - the parents, Victor - the sullen teenaged half-brother, and Felicia Hart - Victor's over-protective, good looking, aunt. Add to the above, an obsessed FBI agent, a skeptical professor, suspicious police, news reporters, a private investigator, and a psychic (an out-there, but true psychic), and you have one of the best mysteries around.
I have always secretly prided myself on the fact I could always figure out whodunit, but I let myself down with this book. There were so many twists and turns that when the end revealed all, I was left with my mouth hanging open. The fact that Harris can do that, just elevates her in my opinion.
It isn't just the mystery or other-worldiness of Harris' books that draw me in. I think what has me so enamored of Harris is her voice. I love her ability to capture the essence of people and human nature and create characters that feel so real that when I read their tales I feel as if I am catching up with an old friend.
If you are a fan of the Southern Vampire series, but haven't read anything else by Harris, you should start now. And while Harper's world is extremely different from Sookie's, Harper is just as endearing and insightful. "But I knew grief, and I knew release,..." Harper is just exceptional. "...it was just one of the moments when anguish comes sweeping down like an eagle from the air, to tear at you with cruel talons."
Now, something else happened in this book, well, not really happened, more like hinted that it may, and I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about it. I think I'm actually quite happy with the development, and I think that makes me wonder about myself. Read the book, you'll see what I'm talking about. I can't give any more than that or I'll ruin it.
Go. Read. This. Book.
"This is a thin place." "What's that?" "A place where the other world is very close to this world, separated only by a thin membrane."