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Charlaine Harris

Gollancz (2009)

ISBN: 978-0-575-08554-1

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack, June 2010

Grave Secrets is a novel by Charlaine Harris, currently best known for the Sookie Stackhouse novels, which have become the TV series True Blood.  This is apparently the fourth in a series starring Harper Connelly.  Although I knew Harris’ name and reputation, this was the first of her novels that I’d read – and I was really impressed by how good it was, and how reluctant I was to put it down.

Harper was struck by lightning when she was 15, and when she recovered she found that she could “read” graves – she could tell what a person had died of, and sometimes something about their last few minutes. It’s an odd talent, but enough to make a living at. People will sometimes pay her to find an unmarked grave, or to reassure them of the cause of someone’s death, or perhaps just for the curiousity factor. Together with her lover and step-brother Tolliver, she travels America reading graves.  In this novel, she is hired to read the grave of Rich Joyce, to confirm what killed him, and accidentally uncovers what might be a murder.  It’s hard for her to focus on this, however, as their lousy family history is coming back to confront Harper and Tolliver.

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