This week I’m reviewing Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris. I picked this one up in Booktopia’s Boxing Day sale, pretty sure it was under $5. I chose it because I really liked the Sookie Stackhouse series, although I’m yet to finish those; the cover changed towards the end of the series and I was disappointed they wouldn’t all match haha priorities!
Grave Surprise is the first person narrative of Harper Connelly, who after being stuck by lightning has the ability to ‘read’ dead bodies; she can pick up their names and experience their emotions as she relives their final living moments.
This unique skill opened a career in finding missing persons believed to be deceased. Her step brother Tolliver acts as her agent as they travel around collecting fee for service.
When I updated my Goodreads I discovered this is book 2 in the series, but it didn’t feel like I’d missed anything. This book centres around Harper discovering the body of an 11 year old girl she had been unable to find 18 months earlier. She and Tolliver suspect they’ve been set up, and the novel continues as a murder mystery.
Sadly I didn’t enjoy this one, there was just too much that I disliked.
Early in I wondered if this might be Harris’ first series, as I felt a lot of the sentences were structured poorly, and I had to reread them to properly follow what was going on. But it turns out this was published in 2008.
The main thing that bothered me was the step sibling relationship. I have 3 younger brothers, and we’ve been close all our lives, yet none of them are anywhere near as affectionate as Tolliver is towards Harper. It wasn’t a surprise at all when Harper realises she is in love with him, and the way she handled it just made me feel weird. I just didn’t gel with Harper’s character at all, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how her name is essentially Harper Collins, the publishing company lol
Verdict: Would not recommend. The only reason I read to the end was so I could count it towards my goal of reading 30 books this year.
Next on the read list: Out of the Ice by Ann Turner