Grave Sight

By Charlaine Harris

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Berkley Prime Crime Books, c2005, 2006

Genres: Mystery, paranormal mystery

Series: Harper Connelly; 1

ISBN: 9780425212899

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 293 (310 including the beginning of Grave Surprise).

Setting: Sarne, AR (a fictional town set in the Ozarks)

Time period: Around 2005

Plot summary: When Harper Connelly was fifteen years old, she was struck by lightning.  As a result, she can now see a person’s last few moments of life before death.  She works with her step-brother, Tolliver, as a consultant for people who wish to know more about a loved one’s death and seek her services.  Harper and Tolliver accept a case to search for a missing body in Sarne.  However, once Harper finds the body, another person ends up dead.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Fast paced with lots of dialogue.

Characterization: Told in first person through Harper.  Tolliver is the most important secondary character.

Frame: Harper has not had an easy life and being surrounded by death does not make it easier.  In spite of this, she maintains a healthy sense of respect for dead; she is more wary of the living.

Story line: An entertaining mystery with slight paranormal elements.

Subject headings:

From Pima County Public Library:

Women — Crimes against — Fiction.

Serial murders — Fiction.

Connelly, Harper (Fictitious character) — Fiction.

Clairvoyants — Fiction.

Ozark Mountains — Fiction.

Occult fiction.

Mystery fiction.

Similar works – mysteries involving ghosts:

A Hard Day’s Fright by Casey Daniels

Ghost at Work by Carolyn Hart

City of Masks by Daniel Hecht

Greywalker by Kat Richardson

Personal notes: I liked this book, but not nearly as much as the Sookie Stackhouse series.  I don’t find Harper to be as compelling a character.  I also found this book to be much slower paced than the Sookie books – which are action packed.  I was able to figure out most of the mystery about halfway through the book, which was a bit of a letdown – there was still a small surprise at the end.  I’ll probably try Grave Surprise to see if the characters grow on me over time or if the mystery is a bit trickier.

Other (diversity, themes, websites): Diversity – woman with limited clairvoyant abilities, victim of a lightning strike, children of alcoholics

Charlaine Harris’s website

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