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An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

01/02/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy An Ice Cold Grave in the USA - or Buy An Ice Cold Grave in the UK

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pub: Gollancz. 280 page paperback. Price: 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-575-08399-8.

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When Harper Connolly gets to Doraville, she is already wary. The Sheriff is openly hostile to her talents. Who wouldn't be? Harper is special. She can find corpses and knows how they died. Her talent or curse comes from a lightning strike that nearly killed her. Instead, it gave her a new life and career. She just has to cope with the scepticism and sometimes hatred of the folk she is trying to help.

Doraville is not a safe place for young men. Eight have disappeared and when Harper uses her skills, her worst fears are confirmed. There is a serial killer in the town and he hasn't finished yet. Angry at being disturbed, he hits out at Harper. Now she is helpless in the hospital. She can't leave and relies on her brother, Tolliver. He's only brother by marriage but it's the relationship with Tolliver that sustains Harper. They are a mutual support system but there is something more for Harper. She is in love with Tolliver and she daren't tell him in case he walks away.

Charlaine Harris weaves the story around the cold dark winter and challenges it with the warmth of the growing relationship. Despite what the genre police say, it is possible to have romance and death in the same pages. It is a fine balancing act and she is well practised. Despite the grim subject, Harris lightens the darkness with hope. She combines great description with chases, violence, and even chit-chat to make a very enjoyable whole.

Sue Davies

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