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Grave Secret (Harper Connelly series book 4) by Charlaine Harris

01/06/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Grave Secret (Harper Connelly series book 4) in the USA - or Buy Grave Secret (Harper Connelly series book 4) in the UK

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pub: Gollancz. 306 page small hardback. Price: 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-575-08553-4.

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'Grave Secret' sees the return of Harper Connolly, the heroine who is able to feel dead people, acquiring the ability to communicate with the recently departed after a near-fatal lightning strike. Her brush with mortality left her with spiderish scars on her legs, a 'gift' that can feel like a curse. She travels with her non-blood related brother and helps people trace their loved ones. She's not a fan of graveyards but spends a lot of time there.

Harper has a new case. A family want to know how their grandfather died and Harper is able to tell them and a lots of other stuff they don't really want to know.

As she delves further into the case, it sparks off a series of events culminating with an attempt on Harper's life. There are devastating consequences and she realise she must solve the case before it gets worse.

She's moved on emotionally as well, in particular to a relationship with her non-blood related brother. That bit's important though and those a bit squeamish might not want to consider it too deeply. They have to cope with their splintered family's reaction to their relationship. 'It's complicated,' as they say.

This ticks all the boxes of the disaffected and spookily talented heroine which gives an opening into yet another in a series. It means us, as readers, don't have to do much work neither other than pick up the book and follow the continuing story. I'm not sure that's enough here. There are some interesting interactions and comments on family and relationships but it's more of the same with a slightly different case. The case itself is fairly slim and, in places, frankly ridiculous and plays second fiddle to the family angle. I wasn't interested enough to want to know who did it or why. There is not enough variety in the tale to make me want to read on. Its only laziness that makes me read these kinds of books and I think I should find something a little more challenging next time.

Sue Davies

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