What is this about?: Harper Connelly can see the dead — or sense the dead to be more accurate. She finds dead people, and she has learned to make a living out of this particular talent. However, this case might be more trouble than its worth.
What else is this about?: An introduction to Harper and Tolliver, and this fabulous world.
Grave Sight (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 1)
Harper Connelly has what you might call a strange job: she finds dead people. She can sense the final location of a person who’s passed, and share their very last moment. The way Harper sees it, she’s providing a service to the dead while bringing some closure to the living – but she’s used to most people treating her like a blood-sucking leech. Traveling with her step-brother Tolliver as manager and sometime-bodyguard, she’s become an expert at getting in, getting paid, and getting out fast. Because for the living it’s always urgent – even if the dead can wait forever.
Grave Sight and Harper Connelly were my introduction to Charlaine Harris and I have never quite let her go.
There’s something about Harper
Harper is a no-nonsense, no bullshit sort of person. She travels the country finding dead people with her brother by marriage, Tolliver.
His father and her mother married, and got to enjoy being addicts together, while Tolliver looked out for Harper, who in turn looked out for their younger sisters — one of which disappeared some years ago. And Harper is convinced she will one day find her body.
That right there encapsulates why I like Harper — weird I know. But, she has lost her sister, and it’s not a matter of giving up hope of ever returning to them but more that Harper has seen too much of the dead, experienced and learned about their lives to expect anything different. She is the person who’ll tell the truth and may couch it gently, but you will get it nonetheless.
Tolliver is her bodyguard and manager, I guess. They know each other so well — like you only could if you both were survivors of a horrible childhood together. I think they kind of just kept each other alive and on the straight and narrow, and now he helps her find dead people.
Which brings us to Dell and and Teenie
Harper is asked to find the body of Teenie, the youngest daughter of the town Jezebel, per the pious town they’re in (Harper goes on a date to watch a gospel choir, which is what they do there for fun). Dell, Teenie’s boyfriend, is thought to have killed her and himself, and his mother Sybil wants to prove the town and rumours wrong.
Harper finds Teenie and then the trouble starts because someone in the town murdered this couple and doesn’t want Harper to find out the reason why.
Through the book, Harper is stalked, beat up and shot at, and yes, that sounds like a lot, but I swear it makes sense in the book. But it also shows her grit and her vulnerability. Tolliver has been her protector for so long, that without him she feels like she’s missing her right hand — he knows how she hates to storms because she was struck by lightning as a kid and got her gift out of it. She knows he likes women with clear skin because his is so scarred by acne, something she’s not sure he realises.
Harper is one of those characters that fascinates me, and I’ve read the series and on a whim decided to go back to the beginning. Totally worth it — restrained writing and fascinating characters just drew me right into falling into this world again.