Saturday, August 01, 2009

An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

Here is the blurb:

Harper Connelly was struck by lightning as a teenager, and now she can find the dead. In her third case, Harper and Tolliver, her stepbrother, are hired to find a missing grandson. But the truth is far worse than a single dead child, for numerous teenage boys, all unlikely runaways, have disappeared from Doraville, North Carolina. Harper soon finds the eight bodies, buried in the half-frozen ground, but then, still reeling from coming into contact with her first serial killer, she is attacked and injured. Now she and Tolliver have no choice but to stay in Doraville while she recovers, and as she reluctantly becomes part of the investigation, she learns more than she cares to about the dark mysteries and long-hidden secrets of the town: knowledge that makes her the most likely person to be next to end up in an ice-cold grave.

Charlaine Harris is well known for her Sookie Stackhouse series, but I actually prefer this one. Harper has a gift that makes life interesting but also difficult (just a tad). Basically, she travels across the country and finds dead bodies. She doesn’t know who killed them or why, all she can say is who the body is and cause of death.

Obviously people meet her with disbelief and sarcasm, and it can be rather funny and always very satisfying when Harper proves to them, she’s not a con. In this third case, she has to cope with a serial killer and the knowledge that the killer has to be from the area. It doesn’t help that her relationship with Tolliver (her step-brother and travel companion) is strained, because her feelings for him have changed. She no longer thinks of him as her brother, but is scared that showing those emotions will destroy their partnership and she will lose her best friend.

It is not only her injury that is keeping Harper and Tolliver in Doraville, but the authorities as well. The sheriff has problems understanding and believing her ability and despite having a file, the feds don’t want her to leave either. The problem is, the longer they make her stay, the more Harper feels obligated to help solve the murder and asking questions around the town can only lead to trouble.

I believe that this series gets better with each book. “An Ice Cold Grave” has a very strong story and I love how Harper’s and Tolliver’s relationship is developing (what can I say, I’m a sucker for romance). I spent most of my time sitting on the edge of my seat biting my nails, trying to figure out who the killer is (it had to be one of the characters already introduced) and skim reading just a little bit, because some of the things happening are what you could call gruesome. Charlaine Harris weaves a magnificent plot and every time you think you know what’s going to happen or who the killer is, something new is thrown at you, taking you off into another direction.

I have read and re-read this particular book a few times now and that is always a great sign that I have a keeper. I definitely can’t wait to see what Charlaine Harris is going to throw at Haper and Tolliver in “Grave Secret”, coming from Gollancz in January 2010 (heck, that’s a long wait!*sigh*).
"An Ice Cold Grave" is published by Gollanzc and out now.

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