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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.

293 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 1, 2005

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About the author

Charlaine Harris

253 books34.8k followers
Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for over thirty-five years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. Charlaine lives in Texas now, and all of her children and grandchildren are within easy driving distance.

Though her early output consisted largely of ghost stories, by the time she hit college (Rhodes, in Memphis) Charlaine was writing poetry and plays. After holding down some low-level jobs, her husband Hal gave her the opportunity to stay home and write. The resulting two stand-alones were published by Houghton Mifflin. After a child-producing sabbatical, Charlaine latched on to the trend of series, and soon had her own traditional mystery books about a Georgia librarian, Aurora Teagarden. Her first Teagarden, Real Murders, garnered an Agatha nomination.

Soon Charlaine was looking for another challenge, and the result was the much darker Lily Bard series. The books, set in Shakespeare, Arkansas, feature a heroine who has survived a terrible attack and is learning to live with its consequences.

When Charlaine began to realize that neither of those series was ever going to set the literary world on fire, she regrouped and decided to write the book she’d always wanted to write. Not a traditional mystery, nor yet pure science fiction or romance, Dead Until Dark broke genre boundaries to appeal to a wide audience of people who simply enjoy a good adventure. Each subsequent book about Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic Louisiana barmaid and friend to vampires, werewolves, and various other odd creatures, was very successful in many languages.

The Harper Connelly books were written concurrently with the Sookie novels.

Following the end of Sookie's recorded adventures, Charlaine wrote the "Midnight, Texas" books, which have become a television series, also. The Aurora Teagarden books have been adapted by Hallmark Movie & Mystery.

Charlaine is a member of many professional organizations, an Episcopalian, and currently the lucky houseparent to two rescue dogs. She lives on a cliff overlooking the Brazos River.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,679 reviews
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,126 followers
April 19, 2017
Harper, the ghost whisperer, and her brother, Tolliver, are close. Too close. Creepy close. Co-dependent, strange sexual tension, WTF close.

Some things just shouldn't be

Thankfully, we find out that they are not actually siblings, but that their parents married each other when they were teens. Totally different story. In that case, I say, "Just go ahead and do it already. Then, instead of being the creepy siblings you can be the creepy couple that call each other "brother" and "sister". Yeah, that's sexy.

Sexy Level: Grandma sweater.

On the other hand, these two may not actually understand that they aren't siblings. Neither of them are the sharpest tools in the shed. I was practically yelling at them half the book when they couldn't figure out obvious clues or when they went running into obvious traps. Seriously? The fact that these two morons are still alive is some sort of Darwinian Slip. They should have been weeded out of the gene pool as children in some sort of fork-in-an-outlet accident.

This would have done the job

I can't say that there were any big surprises in this book, and the characters were pretty flat and predictable. But, I have a strange compulsion to see where the Creepy Twins go from here. This series is setting up for one big giant dysfunctional family reunion ho-down. I kinda want to see it.

I'm thinking this guy will be there.
Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,804 reviews2,158 followers
July 5, 2015
3.5 stars!

Ok, I'm going to be nice and round this up to 4 stars. My reasoning? I LOATHED, HATED Dead Until Dark by this author. I used to be Tru Blood obsessed (the television series) and the book series was a huge let down.

So when my manager/boss who doesn't read PNR or urban fantasy very often told me that this was a guilty pleasure series, I HAD to read it. Plus this sounded like an adult version of the Meg Cabot (Jenny Carroll) series 1-800-WHERE-R-U, a series I grew up on and loved.

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When Harper Connelly was a teenager she was hit by lightning in a freak accident that should have left her dead. Instead, she is left with the ability to locate dead bodies and can see what happened to them when they die. Harper along with her stepbrother Tolliver, travel the country making a living locating bodies and determining how they died. Most people think she's a quack or spawn of the devil but they keep coming to her for answers.

In a small town in Arkansas, Harper is asked to find the body of a teen girl suspected to have been abducted or killed after her boyfriend supposedly committed suicide. Through a series of events Harper and Tolliver become entwined in the investigation of the two deaths despite desperately wanting to leave town. As time goes by and things become more twisted Harper cannot help but become curious, and soon she is working on the case herself.

I really enjoyed reading this. It surprised me because I hadn't liked this author's previous work, but this series is strong on its own and honestly much better than the Sookie Stackhouse series. I would love to see this book made into a series or film. So for those of you who like murder mysteries with a little bit of a paranormal aspect, this book is for you. Just ignore that godawful cover.
Profile Image for Kati.
1,712 reviews65 followers
November 12, 2015
At first, I thought that this books was great. But then... it didn't quite lose its momentum, I just stopped liking the characters. If I've actually ever liked them that is.

In this book, everything feels a bit off. You don't feel with or for the characters. Their past, their troubles, everything is just "described". They are really two-dimensional and you just... don't like them. Especially Harper.

Even though this whole book was written from her POV, I didn't feel like knowing her at all. I couldn't step into her shoes. She described her painful past but I still felt as if she was talking about someone else. I thought that she had only two emotional states - panic and coldness. Either she was panicking or she was so emotionally distant and cold that there is no other word to desribe it but frigid. Not in the sexual sense, no. But to me, she felt too distant to care about.

The case started in a quite interesting way but as it continued, it was rather easy to figure out what was going on.

I will probably buy the next book in this series but definitely in a paperback form only. The series is not good enough to pay for in hardcover.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,319 reviews1,612 followers
December 16, 2015
Ugh. Just... Ugh. I am beginning to think that the more I read of Charlaine Harris, the less I like her. This was just... bad. And creepy. Poorly written, weak plot, cardboard cut-out characters, creepy relationships and creepy romance, and trademark Charlaine Harris character name and detail errors all in one book.

I don't even know where to begin... I guess I could just write a list, like our heroine, who Charlaine describes as a list-maker with little opportunity, first does 26 pages from the end of the book. You'd think, in a mystery, that a list writer would probably, maybe, keep a list while she's running around tracking down all those clues. Guess not. More likely, Charlaine (hereafter known as "CH") just wanted to rehash everything and wrote in a "personality trait" to do so.

Speaking of personality, oh lordy me. Were there any personalities in this book? From ANYONE? Harper was just about as boring and cold and unlikeable a character as I've ever read. Why anyone would want to read an entire series about her is beyond me. Tolliver, her brother, is essentially an assistant/care-giver/babysitter/bodyguard to Harper, and besides being a womanizer, he's boring and uninteresting. Hollis is the Haunted Small-Town Cop™. Sybil is the Cold Rich Widow™. Mary Nell is the Teen Cheerleader (With Jealous Teen Admirer) Who Is Lovestruck for Mysterious Older Man™. There is nobody, at all, in this book that was even remotely interesting or unique.

Harper's relationship with her 'brother' is super creepy. SUPER. CREEPY. Even if Harper and Tolliver aren't blood related, their relationship is just... disturbing. Harper is almost totally and completely dependent on Tolliver. She's jealous of his conquests, and he of hers, although neither come right out and say so, but their ONLY disagreements with each other were over the other half making the beast with two backs with some "outsider". They talk about buying a house together, and Harper talks about the possibility of Tolliver marrying, and fleetingly thinks of that for herself, but she seems very reluctant to think about that, and the thought of Tolliver committing himself to someone besides her seems to give her anxiety.

Harper's parents were well-to-do who didn't do too well, and became alcohol and drug dependent and neglected the kids, but that's OK because the kids had each other... mostly. Apparently, this, along with Harper's injury, the one which caused her ability to sense the dead, are where her co-dependence on her brother stems from, but I don't get it. OK, right, you're struck by lightning. Sure, you'd be afraid of storms afterward. Logical. What is not logical is sheer panic when your "lifeline" brother is out of your line of sight for any length of time without a suitable male stand-in. OMG noes! HOW will you copez?!1? Harper and Tolliver seem more like exes who realized that they love each other but are better as friends but who don't really want to let go either. He called her "baby" and "honey", and, sorry, but if my brother ever called me that I'd be really, really grossed out. Harper is even described as having her stomach clench when Tolliver "sweet talks" someone else. CREEPY.

Then, there's the "back story" that CH probably should start hinting at if she wants to drag this out into another too-long series... This includes Harper Family Mystery and Drama. There's the Parental Situation I mentioned above, for starters. Then there's one missing and presumed dead sister that Harper is very clinically detached and cold (aka "avoiding false hope") about, but determined to find, at least her body, and two other sisters raised by Tolliver's religious and manipulative aunt to despise Tolliver and Harper both for reasons unknown. I'm sure that will come out somewhere in book 8 or 9. Stick with it. All in all, there was just no... substance there. It was like the details were thrown in because they had to be, not because they were the characters' actual histories. Sorry Charlaine, you need to know your characters before any reader can. Giving her a gimp leg and some superficial insecurities along with saying that her hobbies include reading and nail-painting isn't characterization. Nor is giving someone acne scars and then saying that he likes really smooth skinned women probably because of that.

Harper's thing with Hollis is another kind of creepy in itself. I really have to wonder what kind of publisher would read this and say, "Yes! This is what we've been waiting to publish!!". We have either a way, way too close brother and sister relationship or a way dysfunctional couple-night stand relationship with extremely-recently-widowed young cop. Hmm... Neither one is exactly steaming up THESE windows.

The story takes place in very late October/early November. Hollis's wife Sally died sometime after February. That's eight months. He gets all almost choked up when he talks about her, and he says he loved her, and even hired Harper to tell him some info about how she died. OK... not creepy so far. Then Hollis and Harper do the nasty. Strange, but not unheard of. Then, during the course of the "investigation", this appears: (There are Sally death spoilers!)

"I'm sorry," I said, making a great effort. "I know this is dredging up stuff for you that you're trying to put behind you."

"No, I'm not trying to put Sally behind me," he said. "But I am trying to think about the rest of my life. And the ideas of the last few days, the idea that Sally was murdered, that the son of a bitch who did it has been walking around this town, talking to me, free, has been curdling my gut. And the fact that every time I see you, I want to screw you so bad it hurts. You practically break into my house, my damn house, and I want to fuck you right here on the floor."
Then they did.

WHAT?!? You go from talking about your DEAD LESS THAN 8 MONTHS WIFE to screwing some new girl in TWO SENTENCES?? It was described as "short and violent and the most exciting encounter Harper had ever experienced." CREEPY.

I almost closed the book right there. That was just... too much. But I was curious about the mystery. I wanted to know. I finished it. I want my two days back. There's absolutely, positively no way that I will be reading any more of this series. It's also unlikely that I'll be reading anything else CH's written. It's sad, because I quite liked the first few books of the Sookie Stackhouse series, but now I'm even doubting myself on that.

Don't read this. It's BAD. Did I mention it was creepy too?
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,023 followers
October 22, 2014
I really liked Harris' Sookie Stackhouse, so I thought I'd give this series a try. It's pretty good. The world is ours - no vampires or other fantasy creatures in this book. Harper, like Sookie, has a limited paranormal ability - she can find dead people & see them, along with the few seconds of their death. The limitations of her 'gift' make the story more interesting.

As a heroine, I didn't like Harper as well as Sookie. She's not a happy girl, more depressed & dwelling on her past too often (which she admits). She's a lot more vulnerable, but shows the same stubborn streak along with a moral sense that demands she 'makes things right'. She has a tougher time of it, too. She travels a lot & isn't well received.

The writing is the same as the Sookie series. Well done, quick & easy to read. The plot was well done & exactly what I'd expect from Harris. The character of Harper permeates the book (as it should, since she's telling the story) & she's just not as upbeat as Sookie, so I didn't end the book with the same optimism, but I'm looking forward to reading the next!
Profile Image for Robin.
1,685 reviews60 followers
January 28, 2022
Harper Connelly finds dead people. After being struck by lightning at the age of fifteen, Harper can sense when she is near a dead body, and she can see their last moments. Harper and her stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, travel the country offering their services to find lost loved ones. Their current case takes them to the Ozarks. Teenie Hopkins has been missing for six months. Her boyfriend, Dell Teague, was found dead from a gunshot wound at the time she disappeared. The police believe that Dell may have killed Teenie and disposed of her body before killing himself. Dell's mother, Sybil Teague, wants her son's name cleared, so she is asking for Harper's help.

This is the first book in Charlaine Harris' Harper Connelly series. Several people told me that I would like this series. They were right. I found the story very entertaining. I liked the mystery which had several suspects. I did guess the killer and motive in the middle of the book, but that did not detract from my enjoyment. My rating: 4 Stars.
Profile Image for Vintage.
2,371 reviews421 followers
May 28, 2019
Great series. I tried the Sookie series as well as Aurora Teagarden and they just didn’t do anything for me. Charlaine Harris’ Harper Connelly series is an edgier read. Harper was hit by lightning as a teen and can now identify the dead. Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver now travel the United States as she tries to find bodies for families that are grieving. She can also identify how the person died. On top of the baggage of being the survivor of lightning strike and associated with the dead she also has to deal with suspicion and outright hostility from people that think she and her brother are scam artists and charlatans.

I’m not going to review each book, but with just four books in the series the overall arc is the changing relationship of Harper and Tolliver and their search for their dead body. Harper’s sister went missing years ago, and part of their journey is to one day find out what happened.

Each individual book deals with specific murder mystery which can run the gamut of creepy to sad to downright gruesome. No gross violence, but some of the murders are pretty intense. If you like a well done mystery with a smart heroine, then take a chance.
Profile Image for Shainlock .
720 reviews
July 6, 2018
Great new series by this author. I love the concepts and am warming up to the characters. I love the unusual things Harper is blessed with. This one seems a lot different than Sookie, Aurora, or Lily. Which is good. I think of all her characters as distinct.
Edit: it’s not new anymore. That is just what I thought when I started reading it. I liked Harper’s ability. I had read the ones mentioned above and now I have read all of these with the addition of the Midnight Texas series.
Profile Image for Spuddie.
1,524 reviews84 followers
September 20, 2008
First in the Harper Connelly paranormal mystery series, featuring this young lady who has the ability to speak to the dead after being struck by lightning at the age of fifteen. She and her step-brother, Tolliver, travel around taking assignments to locate bodies. They work mostly on word of mouth, and for the most part are treated as something akin to the freaks in a circus side-show. While Harper can’t tell who killed the person if they were murdered, she can tell how they died, and actually relives the last moments of the person’s life.

In our introduction to this interesting duo, Harper and Tolliver are summoned to Sarn, Arkansas by a wealthy widow who wants to locate the body of her dead son’s girlfriend, Tini Hopkins. Sybil Teague is upset because Del’s (her son) good name has been under a cloud for these many months since his death, as it’s rumored that he killed Tini and then himself, but Tini’s body was never found. Since she was a bit of a ‘wild girl,’ some folks think she just went away. Sybil wants to put the rumors to rest. Harper DOES find Tini’s body, discovers that she was shot twice in the back and also visits Del’s grave and discovers that he most certainly didn’t commit suicide. Harper and Tolliver are not made to feel welcome in Sarn at all, and while they want nothing more than to head on out to their next assignment, they are cautioned by the sheriff to stick around when Helen Hopkins, Tini’s mother, is found bludgeoned to death shortly after they visited her at her request.

I liked this book a lot. The reader was excellent and I felt that she brought out the voice of Harper very well and helped me to understand her a little. I did think that the relationship between Tolliver and Harper was a bit weird, almost to the point of making me uncomfortable, and there were times when Harper’s vulnerability was a little tiresome—but then, she has had a very difficult life, even with the whole “I’ve been struck by lightning” thing aside, and her character was written in such a way that she wasn’t really trying to get sympathy or make excuses for her weakness, she just had very much of an “I am what I am” aura about her, and I liked that. I also thought Harper was pretty mature, given that she’s only twenty-four years old—it seemed that life has made her wise beyond her years. I have already got the downloadable version of the next book in this series on my list at the library and I don’t think it will be too long before I actually go and get it! A
Profile Image for Anne.
3,869 reviews69.2k followers
March 9, 2021
Well...It wasn't awful, but it wasn't great. I'm unsure how I feel about it. I did stay up till 1:30 am finishing the book up, so that says something...right?

Due to a freak lightning strike when she was a teen, Harper Connelly has the ability to find dead bodies and know how they died. She and her brother (step-brother, we find out later), Tolliver, make a living locating bodies for grieving families. Of course, most of the families aren't as grateful as you would think. I guess it's the "shoot the messenger" syndrome. That...and she freaks people out.

The story starts when they are called in to locate the body of a missing teenage girl in a small town. They locate her and determine that she was murdered. Nothing was unusual about this job until the girl's mother is found dead within hours of speaking to the two of them. The local authorities become suspicious and ask them not to leave town. Even though they both have solid alibis, they decide to stay because they are afraid their business will suffer from bad word of mouth. They spend the rest of the book regretting that decision and trying to figure out who-done-it, so they can get out of there.

Honestly, I didn't find myself really caring what happened to either one of them. Harper seemed to have very few qualities that I liked. If she wasn't having a full-on panic attack, she was sulking, whining, or just generally feeling sorry for herself. Toliver seemed to be a one-dimensional character. He was Harper's protector/a man-whore.

I thought the mystery of who-done-it and why-they-done-it was fairly obvious, too. I think that was why I went ahead and finished up the book last night. I kept thinking that it couldn't be that easy...there must be some huge twist at the end. Nope.

I do love Charlaine Harris' Sookie series, so I may try to give the Harper books another shot. I know I didn't fall in love with the Sookie books until I read the second one, so maybe it will be the same thing with this series.
Profile Image for Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey).
1,379 reviews469 followers
May 7, 2013
Quick review:

Cover: Interesting
Rating: NC-17
Steaminess: Steam
Thumbs Up: 4
Overall: I found it very interesting
Characters: Well Done
Plot: Small town secret come to bite you every time
Page Turner: Yes
Series Cont.? Yes
Recommend: Yes
Book Boyfriend: Tolliver

SUMMARY (50 words or less)
Okay, so mysteries are my first love so I enjoyed this one. I had it figured out but still enjoyed watching it unfold. I liked Tolliver and Harper’s relationship. I like the tension and the dynamics created between them and I overall enjoyed the story.

For a full review and yummy pic, see my blog post at:


Audio Review
Alyssa Bresnahan did a really good job with this series. She really brought this series to life for me.
Profile Image for Carol.
2,325 reviews71 followers
December 13, 2021
The story is told from the perspective of the lead character, Harper...making it easy reading. I really liked the characters of Harper and Toliver along with the unique gift that Harper processes. it seems it came about as a result of her having been struck by lightning. Ever since then she has had the ability to locate dead bodies. An interesting "gift" but I believe being able to locate missing money, or lost socks in the laundry would have been a more useful gift...but alas, not a great storyline:) Harper's ability is unique and so is the way she received it. (I had to chuckle some at that) ... but it was one of the things that I liked. Also, that it was limited was a clever plotline as it leaves more room for the stories to grow and to be a bit more believable. Harper's relationship with her stepbrother, Toliver is also another good point. Overall, I believe this will be an interesting series for those that either love everything this author writes or wants something a bit more than just "cozy". I won't be continuing this series...not because it's a badly written, or unreadable...but because I like a great deal, more "meat" in my mysteries.
Profile Image for Krissy.
1,624 reviews300 followers
May 26, 2016
**2015 Reading Challenge W/Josh: #42 A Book You Own But Never Read**

Great book! Harper was struck with lightening when she was young. Since then she has sort of a beacon that directs her to dead bodies. Once close enough she can see how that specific person died and see their last moments. Though she can't ever see the murderer (if the person was murdered). So she is called out to this small town to find a body of a girl that went missing a while back. While on the job lots of questionable shit happens and other murders are brought to the forefront and chaos ensues.

I kind of figured out the motive behind the murders pretty early on. What I couldn't pinpoint was who the actual murderer was.

Another aspect of the book was the very close, borderline incestuous relationship Harper had with her step-brother, Tolliver. She is extremely dependent on him not only professionally but for emotional stability. Harper has some extreme anxiety issues that only Tolliver can keep grounded. You can feel the sexual tension between these two and I would not be surprised if they actually hook up later on in the series. No they are not blood related but she refers to him as her brother through the entire book. This does not bother me in the slightest. Bring on that step-sibling lovin'!
Profile Image for Debbie "Buried in Her TBR Pile".
1,901 reviews241 followers
December 6, 2017
Read this one a couple of years ago. Picked up an Audible copy on sale. A good read/listen while on a long car trip. Harper and Tolliver are stepbrother/sister - very hard childhood - parents were alcoholics and one of their sisters missing. Harper was struck by lightening and ever since she can sense how someone died when near their remains. Usually looked upon with suspicion, they travel when hired to answer questions for the bereaved or law enforcement. The series is good. 4 stars.
Profile Image for Laura (Kyahgirl).
2,051 reviews145 followers
June 27, 2020
I read this quite a few years ago and really enjoyed it and this week found it on audio at the library. I really enjoyed re-visting this story. Harper and Tolliver are such interesting characters and I like how Charlaine Harris gives subtle insights into human behaviour (as well as non subtle ones).

I’ll have to listen to the whole series now. This was a great listen while mowing the lawn for six hours!
Profile Image for Luce.
521 reviews
October 4, 2017
4 Stars for the Audiobook.

Narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan (5 Stars for narration). I liked her narration. Some reviewers on Audible did not care for her. I didn't hear the background noises they said they heard and were annoyed by it - that she makes a smacking sound, page turning, etc. I suspect they cleaned up the recording because I didn't hear any of this and the complaints were from 2013 and earlier. As for her narration, I thought it was very good. The series is first person narrative (I think, I'm never sure what all the terms mean), as told by Harper.

Charlaine Harris is best known for her Sookie Sackhouse series that were made into the HBO Series, True Blood. This series is paranormal, but more along the line of cozy mysteries rather than Sookie's books that are dark, sexy, and filled with vampires and other paranormals.

Harper Connelly is a 24 year old, who finds dead people (bodies) for a living. She travels with her manager, supporter, protector and step-brother, 27 yr old Tolliver Lang. Harper's mother married Tolliver's father. They met as teenagers and together as teens they basically raised their younger siblings because their parents were drug addicts.

When Harper was 15 she was struck by lightning. As a result she has various physical ailments but the big one is that she can find dead bodies and see their last moments of their life. She is hired by people who are usually looking for a missing relative, whom they suspect is dead thus Harper gives them closure.

In this book she and Tolliver are in a small Southern town. Harper was hired to find a teen girl who the authorities suspect may have been abducted or was a victim of a murder/suicide. She succeeds in finding the girl's body but the true nature of the crime is questioned. They are thrown into a murder investigation in which Harper's life is threatened and Tolliver is thrown in jail on bogus charges. Harper takes it upon herself to find the true story and killer if they are ever going to be able to leave this town.

This was a re-read for me - I read the 4 book series when they came out in 2006-2009. I liked this series better than Sookie's series - but I love, love cozy mysteries. Most reviewers seem to give this series "its OK" reviews. But I suspect they were expecting stories like True Blood and this isn't True Blood.

Oh, I what I found fascinating is the side effects that lightning survivors suffer from - medically and psychologically. Many doctors do not believe that the patients suffer long term effects. I'm assuming Harris did her homework. I'm also assuming that the vast majority do not become psychics or find dead people!

On to book 2...
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,386 reviews11.8k followers
November 1, 2009
"Grave Sight" is the first book in Harris' newest mystery series. After reading her Sookie Stackhouse books, I checked out all her other series. I am weirdly addicted to Charlaine's writing and her books will probably forever remain my guilty pleasure. I liked all Aurora Teagarden books (this librarian who lives in a tiny southern town sure finds herself in a middle of murder investigations quite often) and disliked Lily Bard series (too much pointless violence). I think I will like Harper Connelly.

This series has a little paranormal element to it, but it's very far from being an outright urban fantasy (like Sookie books are). After being struck by lightning, Harper can "feel" dead bodies and their causes of death. This is the extent of "paranormalcy," the rest is just straight mystery. In this book Harper and her step brother Tolliver are invited to Sarne, a small AR town, to help find body of a missing teenage girl. The body is found very quickly, but this discovery for some mysterious reason triggers a series of crimes, some against Harper and Tolliver. The two are forced to stay in town and eventually uncover who is behind these awful crimes.

I enjoyed this book very much. I found the characters very interesting and vivid (Harris is at her best here), and mystery engaging. Even though I figured out who the perpetrator was early on, I still enjoyed the writing. I did find that Harper's back story was a bit of stretch - mother and stepfather attorneys who succumbed to their drug addiction, sister kidnapped, father in jail, the list goes on. Nevertheless, I am planning to continue reading about Harper, the 4th book in the series just came out.

Reading challenge: #13 - mystery
Profile Image for Marianne.
3,328 reviews128 followers
September 6, 2020
Grave Sight is the first book in the Harper Connelly series by American author, Charlaine Harris. The audio version is narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan. After being struck by lightning at fifteen, Harper Connolly is endowed with a special talent: she can find dead people and tell how they died. Life hasn’t been particularly kind to Harper, so she charges to use this talent, needing to make a living somehow, even if most people find this distasteful. With her step-brother and support system, Tolliver Lang, she comes to Sarne, a small town in the Ozarks, to find a missing local teenager, which she does with efficiency and respect. But it seems that someone in this small, somewhat incestuous community is unhappy about what Harper has revealed. Soon enough, Tolliver is in jail on a trumped-up charge and Harper fears for her own safety. In this foray into the paranormal, Harris has created a likeable if damaged heroine, an appealing sidekick and a cast of typical small-town characters. The dialogue is snappy and the plot has plenty of twists that, whilst entirely credible, will keep the reader guessing to the end. In this instalment, Harper is threatened, shot at, made love to and attacked. This is an excellent mystery and readers who enjoy this novel will look forward to the second book in the series, Grave Surprise.
Profile Image for My_Strange_Reading.
511 reviews82 followers
April 3, 2021
A re-read review:

This world is a lot more straightforward than the Sookie Stackhouse series. After being struck by lightning, Harper can find dead people and see the last few seconds before they die. So, she and her step-brother Tolliver travel around the country as consultants to help people find their lost loved ones.

I forgot how slow this first one is, but I do remember the horrible town of Sarne and the crazy case of Teenie and Dell.

If you enjoy a paranormal twist to your mysteries, then this is the book for you.
Profile Image for Lauren.
2,243 reviews162 followers
April 16, 2016
Grave Sight
4 Stars

Harper Connelly has the unique ability to sense not only the whereabout of human remains, but also the cause of death. Together with her stepbrother/business manager, Tolliver Lang, Harper travels to Sarne Alabama at the request of a grieving mother desperate to locate the body of the young woman her deceased son is accused of killing in a murder/suicide. However, this seemingly simple case takes a dangerous turn when Harper becomes the target of someone determined to keep the truth buried...

Charlaine Harris’s cozy mysteries are rapidly becoming addictive. Harris is a master at characterization and is exceptionally skilled at capturing the essence of small town life (although not everyone is Sarne is as open and accepting of Harper’s differences).

Harper's dry, matter of fact personality and intriguing abilities make her a very appealing heroine. She and Tolliver have an interesting dynamic as they share a closeness not usually found in non-biological siblings, and there is a certain amount of subtle sexual tension between the two that they are apparently not yet ready to confront.

The who-done-it is well written with a number of plausible suspects and sufficient clues to figure out the twist before the end. The incorporation of paranormal elements feels natural and adds another layer to the suspense.

Alyssa Bresnahan's narration is well-executed and she relays the dry wit and stoicism inherent to Harper's character very well. Looking forward to Harper and Tolliver's further adventures.
Profile Image for Sherwood Smith.
Author 156 books37.5k followers
April 25, 2015
I called this mystery cozy, but it really wasn't cozy. In fact, it was nearly at the edge of my tolerance for mysteries. Things I really liked: Harper and her brother. The descriptions, especially Harper's worldview, given what had happened to her. Glimpses of the numinous, though those were rare and wispy, more rare than the humor, which was also sparse.

Things that pushed me toward the edge: claustrophobic atmosphere, and far too many murders, especially of helpless people. The thing is, I don't read mysteries because I don't want to read about murders. One, especially of a dislikable person, is my favorite. I like mysteries that don't have anything to do with murder. This one had a depressing set of characters, histories, and murders . . . I did some skimming through the middle, as we descended to one note, everyone hating on Harper as she grimly pushed forward to assemble clues.

But I will try another, as I did like those things up top.
Profile Image for Chelsea Moreen.
717 reviews17 followers
August 10, 2019
I’ve been meaning to reread this for years, albeit the fact it was very quick and easy to read, and the whole finding dead bodies thing is really cool, this book isn’t great. I remember loving the story and the characters before but having reread it now I’ve realized how bland the main characters are and how ridiculous the rest of the side characters are. The plot itself is really simple, more of a mystery thriller than any sort of paranormal read, I wish the main characters ability had been used more to solve said mystery. I’m not certain if I’ll continue with the series as I would have to get them from the library but I might be tempted. Wouldn’t necessarily recommend unless you’re really interested.
Profile Image for Jennifer Wardrip.
Author 5 books479 followers
November 12, 2012
I'm probably only one of two people in the world who isn't a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series, but I was definitely looking forward to reading Charlaine Harris's GRAVE SIGHT. I wasn't disappointed--I think this book is an excellent start to a new series.

Harper and her brother, Tolliver, are both interesting and well-developed characters with the requisite flaws to keep them entertaining. When Harper was a teen-ager, she was struck by lightning--and given an extraordinary gift in the form of the ability to find dead bodies, and relive their last moments of life (i.e. tell how they died). She travels around the country with her brother as her assistant/bodyguard/accountant, traveling to aid whoever has hired her to find the body of a loved one or determine if they met with foul play.

As they travel to the town of Sarne, the bodies start piling up, Harper and Tolliver are suddenly suspects in a murder, and the suspect list just keeps growing and growing. The outcome was definitely, at least to me, unexpected, and I thoroughly enjoyed this beginning of Ms. Harris's new series.

The only small problem I had with the book was it's verrrrry slow-moving pace. I felt like the whole book could have been told in about 100 less pages, but it might just be that I was feeling in a hurry.

Overall, GRAVE SIGHT was a dark, brooding, suspenseful read--just the kind I like!
Profile Image for Dawn Michelle.
2,290 reviews
June 19, 2020

3 1/2 Stars

I really like this author. With this series, she really likes to keep you guessing. My only complaint about her (with these books AND the "Sookie Stackhouse" books) is how she can go the whole book without any bad language and then all of the sudden, "WHAM!!", you get git with tons of it. Which is disappointing, only in that the books are already really good without it, it seems unnecessary and it bothers me.

That said, this was a REALLY good book. I really enjoy how she writes and how she develops her characters, and how, even with their "gifts", they are so very human, in their choices and experiences. And that is what keeps me coming back.

Harper and her brother Tolliver are great characters. And the way this story unfolds around them, makes you feel all the emotions you would feel if you were watching a friend go through it. I cannot even begin to review this book without giving SO much of it away. It is one you have to experience for yourself.

Really good read!!
Profile Image for Deb✨.
299 reviews4 followers
May 9, 2022
This was a pretty fun read for me. Ever since Harper Collins was struck by lightning ehen she was younger, she has been able to find the bodies of dead people, and then also sense and be able to tell exactly how they died. Since she is very accurate at it, she is very well known and she makes her living doing it for people. This book revolves around a particular case in a small town and becomes a murder-mystery of sorts. It is an interesting story and I enjoyed listening to it on audible. The narrator did a great job.
Profile Image for Vleigh.
384 reviews38 followers
January 12, 2019
I had read book 3 of this series and loved it so much, I finally got around to reading the whole series from the beginning. Hard to tell but I may like it better than the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
463 reviews14 followers
December 31, 2019
I wanted to read something light and entertaining, so Charlaine Harris seemed like a good idea. I got the book for free at one of those book exchange-places. Also, I loved Sookie Stackhause, but haven’t read anything again after that unsatisfactory ending… Well, here we are:

Harper Connelly sees dead people and is otherwise as boring as can be – she generally has no interest in solving murder mysteries and weirdly depends on her stepbrother for reasons unknown. I guess I got to read what I wanted: one-dimensional characters, a stupid murderer, small-town gossip and bad writing. I mean the only amusing sentence was probably this one:

“The waitress had filled my coffee cup and taken my first swallow […]”

I actually have the second book ready (also for free), but I don’t think it will be worth my time.
382 reviews21 followers
January 17, 2019
I will not give clues but to say I loved this. I always enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse books by Ms. Harris and although was a much different take on a similar subject I thoroughly loved. By halfway I was guessing at the truth and while not that obvious by the end I had guessed it all but even so had to keep reading because I had to know I was right and how it had all come to the point it had. I liked the main female character and the main male character is the typical mysterious good/bad boy that intrigues me. For lovers of cozy mysteries and those who are not naysayers completely on after life that this book which is the first in a series is definitely worth the little time it takes to read it.
Profile Image for Drew.
199 reviews8 followers
March 15, 2009
I read through this book quickly, in two settings, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I read it for a book club that I am sort of a member of (only "sort of" because I only ever started reading the books they were reading because they meet at the store where I work, while I'm working), and wasn't sure if I'd get much of anything out of it. It is a book that walks the tightrope between two currently-popular genres, "cozy romance-themed mystery" and "chick-lit paranormal mystery." Not being the target demographic for either of these categories, I wasn't sure what this book would have to offer me. While it was hardly deathless classic literature, though, I did find myself enjoying it.

For one thing, I wasn't expecting it to have as dark of a tone as it had. The main character, Harper Connelly, was struck by lightning as a teenager. In addition to the recurring health problems that she's had ever since, she also gained the ability to detect corpses, and to see how they died. Working with her (step)brother, Tolliver, she parlayed this ability into a career, doing freelance work finding bodies and naming causes of death for curious relatives and others with an interest in such things. This is a rather dodgy and unreliable line of work, as the plot of "Grave Sight" shows us.

Harper and Tolliver arrive in a small Arkansas town to attempt to find a local teenaged girl who disappeared months before. She had been dating a local boy who'd been found shot and killed in some woods outside of town months before. A lot of the townsfolk think that the boy, Dell, must have shot the girl, Teenie, and then killed himself. Dell's mother hires Harper to locate Teenie's body and determine how she died, with the hopes of proving that Dell didn't kill her. Harper locates the body quickly, and determines that Dell indeed did not kill Teenie, but instead of calming the situation, this only sets the town into a more pronounced uproar, which drags both Harper and Tolliver right into the middle of it and ends up involving everyone from high school football players to the town drunk to high-powered lawyers and the local sheriff. All of these people are related, you see, in one way or another, and the nature of the town, which has everyone in everyone else's business, makes the whole thing an emotional powderkeg waiting for a spark just like the one Harper has unwittingly struck to send the whole thing sky-high.

Some of the plot points of this book seemed a bit obvious, while others seemed a little tossed-off and not explained all that well in terms of character motivation, but on the whole, I did find the story to be well-told. The characters mostly worked most of the time, and while most of the secondary ones were one-dimensional and not fleshed-out much at all, Harper and Tolliver were at least multi-dimensional, compelling, and sympathetic. In terms of quick, engaging mystery that requires little deep thought, this book did a good job of filling its role. I typically look for more profound reading material than this, and probably won't return to the series anytime soon, but all in all, it really wasn't too bad.
Profile Image for Tina.
1,753 reviews279 followers
November 2, 2009
I have never read a Charlaine Harris book. I did not (and probably won't) read her Sookie Stackhouse series because a) I discovered them when my vampire paranormal reading enjoyment was seriously on the wane and 2)I really like the Alan Ball version of her books on HBO. So I prefer to stick with the televised series and not read the books.

I hadn't realized until very recently that she wrote other series. I saw a blurb on the most recent Harper Connelly book and it looked very interesting so I decided to start at the beginning.

This series follows Harper Connelly, a woman who was struck by lightning at the age of 12 and who, as a result, can find dead people. She can also tell how they died. She sees the last moments of their life. Because of her special skills she finds that she is in demand from various people for various reasons. People will hire her to learn about the death of their loved ones. But even though she is hired, she is also the subject of fear, ridicule, derision and sometimes harassment because of it. She is accompanied by her step brother Tolliver who acts as her manager of sorts. He also grounds her. Her ability can be debilitating and because of her being a lightning strike survivor, Harper has some issues both psychological and physical.

In this book the two of them are hired by the richest widow of a small town in the South to find the body of a missing teenager. Harper does, but finding the body of Teenie Harper sets off a series of events that serve to unearth a whole host of unsavory town secrets.

The story itself is a fairly standard sort of small town secrets, murder mystery dealie. What set this book apart for me was learning about Harper and Tolliver. I think Harris does a superb job of revealing their family background in such a way that makes it informative and interesting without it being a data dump or too expositional. And what a family background it is. I often talk about an author who can add texture to a book, and Harris does it extremely well just by giving Harper and Tolliver the family background she has.

I also like how she positions Harper and Tolliver toward each other. They staunchly introduce each other and brother and sister, but in fact they share no blood relation at all. There is a sexual tension underneath their dealings with each other that is very, very subtle. Again, kudos to the writer for not making it glaring, romance novel obvious. There are just ephermal whiffs of it that peep through once or twice even as they are pursuing sexual relationships with other people.

I highly recommend.
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