In this fourth and final installment of the Harper Connelly series, Charlaine Harris does a wonderful job of creating new twists while reviving unresolved plot fragments from previous books. Grave Secret effectively ties together all the story lines of the prior three books.
As a teenager, Harper was struck by lightning and subsequently developed a strange talent of being able to hear the dead in their last few moments of life if she is near the body or standing on the grave. Shortly after the lightening strike, her family is torn asunder as an older sister goes missing, the baby is dying, and a difficult and abusive childhood is revealed resulting in her parents being taken to jail. The remaining children are parceled out to foster homes, homes with aunts, or to live on their own at a very young age. In earlier books, we see Harper and her step-brother, Tolliver, slowly build their "corpse talking" business while searching for clues to their missing sister and trying to rebuild their scattered family. In this latest book, Harper and Tolliver reveal that they are now engaged to their sisters when they travel to Texas for a job.
In Texas, they are supposed to discover how a wealthy family patriarch died, but they find a mystery that the client had not bargained for, when it turns out that someone will kill to keep the secrets buried. Tolliver gets shot, the abusive step-father is released from jail and wants to make amends. Or does he? All the little sub-plots, danger and turmoil that Harper faces keep the book moving along until a surprise conclusion is revealed.
Harris has a wonderful skill with developing enjoyable, believable characters and is brave enough to address real life issues of drug abuse, broken homes and the children who can and will rise above a terrible start to their lives. I think this is her best series and some of her best writing, and I will be sorry to say goodbye to her wonderful characters.
Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for over twenty-five years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. Now she lives in southern Arkansas with her husband, her three children, three dogs, and a duck. The duck stays outside. In addition to her work as a writer, Harris is the past senior warden of St. James Episcopal Church, a board member of Mystery Writers of America, a past board member of Sisters in Crime, a member of the American Crime Writers League, and past president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance. She spends her "spare" time reading, watching her daughter play sports, traveling, and going to the movies. She loves to have readers visit her website.
Authors/Publicists: For promotion purposes, you may quote excerpts of up to 200 words from our reviews, with a link to the page on which the review is posted. ©Copyright to the review is held by the writer (review posting date appears on the review page). If you wish to reprint the full review, you may do so ONLY with her written permission, and with a link to http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org. Contact our Book Review Editor (bookreviews at storycirclebookreviews.org) with your request and she will forward it to the appropriate person.
StoryCircleBookReviews.org has received a copy of this book for review from the author, publisher, or publicist. We have received no other compensation.