Grave Secret (Harper Connelly Series #4)

( 458 )

Overview

Lightning-struck sleuth Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver take a break from looking for the dead to visit the two little girls they both think of as family. But as they travel to Texas, memories of their horrible childhood resurface. Family secrets ensnare them both, as Tolliver learns his father is out of jail and Harper finally discovers what happened to her missing sister Cameron so many years before. And what she finds will change her world forever.

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Grave Secret (Harper Connelly Series #4)

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Overview

Lightning-struck sleuth Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver take a break from looking for the dead to visit the two little girls they both think of as family. But as they travel to Texas, memories of their horrible childhood resurface. Family secrets ensnare them both, as Tolliver learns his father is out of jail and Harper finally discovers what happened to her missing sister Cameron so many years before. And what she finds will change her world forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In bestseller Harris's solid fourth Harper Connelly mystery (after 2007's An Ice Cold Grave), Harper, who can not only locate bodies but also deduce the cause of death, and her stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, are summoned to Texas by members of the wealthy Joyce family, who are looking for answers behind the death of their patriarch, Rich. But when an act of violence threatens the pair, Harper realizes that the circumstances behind Rich's death may have ties to her own troubled childhood in nearby Texarkana. Further complicating matters, Tolliver and his drug addict father, who's recently been paroled, have an uneasy reunion that stirs up long-buried memories about the unsolved disappearance eight years earlier of Harper's older sister, Cameron. Harper and Tolliver's relationship, which blossomed into romance in Ice Cold, is the beating heart of the story and helps smooth over the somewhat rushed and questionably coincidental plot. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425237519
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Series: Harper Connelly Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 216,295
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Charlaine Harris writes both fantasies and mysteries.

Biography

A native of the Mississippi Delta, Charlaine Harris grew up in a family of avid readers (her father was a teacher; her mother a librarian). She attended Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, graduating in 1973 with a degree in English and Communication Arts. Although she penned poetry and plays in school, her first serious foray into fiction was with two standalone novels, Sweet and Deadly and A Secret Rage, published (effortlessly!) in the early 1980s.

After her early success, Harris released the first installment in a series of lighthearted mysteries starring spunky, small-town Georgia librarian, true crime enthusiast, and amateur sleuth Aurora Teagarden. When Aurora debuted in Real Murders (1990), Publishers Weekly welcomed "a heroine as capable and potentially complex as P. D. James's Cordelia Gray." The book went on to receive an Agatha Award nomination.

Anxious for another challenge, Harris began a second series in 1996. Darker and edgier than the Teagarden novels, these mysteries featured taciturn, 30-something housecleaner Lily Bard, a woman with a complicated past who has moved to the small town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, to find peace and solitude. The first novel, Shakespeare's Landlord, was well-received. BookList raved: "Harris has created an intriguing new character in this solidly plotted story." [Much to the disappointment of her fans, Harris concluded the Lilly Bard sequence in 2001 with Shakespeare's Counselor.]

Although Harris achieved moderate success with these two series (which she laughingly describes as "cozies with teeth"), she would hit the jackpot in 2001 with Dead Until Dark, a sly, spoofy paranormal mystery starring a telepathic Louisiana cocktail waitress named Sookie Stackhouse, who falls in love with a vampire named Bill. The novel, a delightful hybrid of mystery, science fiction, and romance, was an instant hit with critics. ("Harris' Sookie has the potential to attract more readers than Hamilton's Anita Blake," raved the dark fantasy magazine Cemetery Dance.) Readers, too, adored the Southern Vampire Series and have rewarded the author with bestseller after bestseller. (In 2008, the Sookie saga came to HBO in a top-rated television adaptation, True Blood, starring Anna Paquin.)

With 2006's Grave Sight, Harris added yet another fascinating character to her stable -- a young woman named Harper Connelly whose youthful encounter with a lightning bolt has left her with the ability to find corpses and determine how they died. In addition to juggling characters and plots for her popular series, Harris has also contributed short stories and novellas to several anthologies of paranormal fantasy fiction.

Good To Know

In our interview, Harris confesses:

"I'm really a boring person. My family (my husband and three children) is the most important thing in my life. I go to bed early, I get up early. I love to go to the movies with my husband. My favorite things about finally making some money as a writer are (a) I can buy as many books as I want, and (b) I can hire a maid. The first job I had was working in an offset darkroom at a very small newspaper. I stood on a concrete floor all day and made minimum wage -- which then was $1.60 an hour. I hated it, and I learned a lot, though not necessarily about working in a darkroom. So being a writer is much better."

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    1. Hometown:
      Southern Arkansas
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tunica, Mississippi
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English and Communication Arts, Rhodes, 1973
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 458 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(200)

4 Star

(164)

3 Star

(66)

2 Star

(19)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 464 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Ms. Harris has been spending too much time on Sookie

    I can appreciate and admire Ms. Harris' success with the vampire series. What I can't appreciate is the half-hearted effort that she put into this book. Readers of this series have been anxiously waiting to find out what happened to Cameron. Although the mystery was finally solved, the culprit was a joke, as was much of the book. Save your money and wait for the library edition.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2009

    Hope the next is better.

    I love this series but I thought this enstallment was a bit of a let down. It was nice to have the interaction with Harper's family and some past issues resolved but overall I though the book was a little boring. #3 was much more entertaining and much more of a page turner. However, it was nice to get family things out of the way. Maybe the next book will move forward instead of backwards.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2009

    A little disappointed

    The book was good, I just expected more from it. Plus I kind of felt like the author was cutting this series short, almost like she was bored of writing it. Just considering, most of her series are fairly long. The ending came abruptly and she seemed to sum up the series in a couple paragraphs. I was left a little disappointed.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2009

    Too boring, too coincidental, and a poorly conceived plot...this book is disappointing!

    This was a perfectly awful book. I read the first three books in this series and enjoyed them, but this book was boring and predictable. The coincidence at the end is ridiculous. There's almost no mystery to this book at all. None. Mostly it is Harper wandering around and running errands. That's it. Readers almost always know what Harper had for lunch because Charlaine Harris always includes that mundane and not very interesting information. I get the feeling, as I did with her last Sookie Stackhouse novel, that Harris is writing these books just because she has to because she already accepted the advance. She wrote this one as if she had something more important to do, such as her laundry. The far-fetched and completely unbelievable (and oh-so-convenient) connection between their most recent case and the disappearance of Harper's sister Cameron is just ridiculous. None of the characters are interesting. The big ending, in which the bad guys reveal themselves, is almost exactly like one of the endings she wrote in a previous Harper book. When the overall mystery of Cameron's disappearance is solved, I'm irritated. It is too convenient and not believable. I'm extremely disappointed that I bought this book and will try to get a refund. Also, Harper continues to refer to and think of Tolliver as her brother even though they are a couple and have a sexual relationship---um, gross. Then she gets mad because people are confused and disgusted by their relationship. Uh, duh. The Harper and Tolliver in this book aren't the same interesting and compelling people they are in the earlier books. Don't buy this book. It is absolutely not worth the money.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    enthralling mystery

    Harper Connelly's childhood was a nightmare living with her mother and stepfather, who were addicts having dopers and paying Johns coming and going at all times for drugs and sex. Her rock was her stepbrother Tolliver who with his sibling Mark tried to earn enough money to keep the family together. Harper and her sister Cameron took care of their half-sisters Gracie and Mariella. A lightning bolt struck Harper enabling her to find the dead which led them to having a job. People go to her to find out where the dead are buried or to find out how they died. Tolliver is her business manager.

    The step-siblings are in a small Texas town near their hometown of Texarkana because wealthy Lizzy Joyce wants to know how her father Rich died. She is shocked to learn that her father's caretaker died from bleeding due to childbirth. Rich died when someone threw a snake at him. Lizzy believes Harper and now knows her dad was murdered. While near their home, they go to see their half-sisters adopted by their aunt and uncle. They learn Tolliver's father was just released from prison and wants to see them to make amends, but he does not want anything to do with his dad. Harper is still trying to find out what happened to her sister Cameron who vanished without a trace while walking home from school. Someone is upset that Harper is asking questions and tries to kill her
    .but Tolliver and a cop save her life taking a bullet each aimed at her.

    GRAVE SECRETS looks back into the childhood nightmares of Tolliver and Harper, who have come a long way from their past because of their caring for each other, which turned into romance (see ICE COLD and AN ICE COLD GRAVE). Questions that have haunted Harper since Texarkana might finally be answered if she has the courage and survives long enough to figure them out. Although a major coincidence helps the story line, Charlaine Harris provides an enthralling mystery that mesmerizes the audience with an underlying soulful romance while Sookie appears on TV.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing....

    I have to agree with the other reviews that say Mrs. Harris' focus on the Stackhouse Series caused the quality of this series to slip*. There is a noticable decline in the quality of the storyline that begins towards the end of 'An Ice Cold Grave'(book 3) and continues throughout this book. I found myself at times struggling to care, and for the first time, forcing myself to finish the book. The pace was too quick and choppy at times, struggling to seperate the action sequences from the dramatic family related portions. There was so much coming to a head at the end of this book, plots stemming from this individual novel and others that have been rolling along since the start. The ending came on suddenly, without warning. It was a massive set up for a lackluster conclusion. I wasn't sure what was more absurd the final showdown with her case and clients, or with the conclusion of her sister's disappearance. The aftermath.... which entails her sisters and her relationship with Tolliver, are basically wrapped in a few measely paragraphs, almost as footnotes. Of course everything was loosely tied up, where it could stand as a finished series, or be re-opened down the road. *Note: I don't blame her for focusing her attention on the series that is making her money and bringing her fame, but it is apparent that this series, which was very good in it's own right, took a nose-dive towards the end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Winner!

    Charlaine Harris was a great find for me. I love her book and since I've been to New Orleans quite a few times and have friends that live in the South, I feel real at home when I read her books. They are very true to life and it's hard to believe, at times, that the characters are not real. I look forward to every book she writes.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2009

    Good Book - as always from Harris!

    Such a great book! And I never would have guessed at that ending! You should read it!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2013

    Grave Secret is the fourth and final book in the Harper Connelly

    Grave Secret is the fourth and final book in the Harper Connelly series by American author, Charlaine Harris. Whenever Harper and Tolliver head to Texas, the disappearance of their sister Cameron, some eight years previous, looms large. This time, they are hired by wealthy heiress, Lizzie Joyce to discover the means of her grandfather’s death. Lizzie’s brother, Drexell and her boyfriend, Chip seem vaguely familiar to Harper. When Harper reveals a few unknown facts about the Joyce family, she unwittingly sets in motion events that lead to Tolliver being shot, and a policeman taking a bullet for her. The reappearance of Tolliver’s father, Matthew, a death threat, anonymous callers claiming sightings of Cameron and a murdered PI all add complications. Psychic Manfred Bernardo’s appearance is welcomed, even by Tolliver.  This final instalment neatly wraps up a series full of interesting and appealing characters. The plot has several twists and turns and an exciting climax. an excellent Harris series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2009

    Charlaine Harris continues to produce offbeast, loveable characters. . .

    I have read all of various series Ms. Harris has produced and outside of Sookie Stackhouse (which I've read form the first volume), I believe that Harper Connelly is smartly written; an intelligent study of reactions that are possible after being struck by lightening.

    The family dynamics are credible and in this fourth leap into the relm of paranormal mystery, truly a page turning adventure.

    I couldn't put it down -

    Thanks Charlaine for a wonderful romp. . .

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    Great

    Love the complexity of the characters and plot. Great read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2013

    A gift for a friend who enjoyed it very much.

    A gift for a friend who enjoyed it very much. I did not read it.

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  • Posted November 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    PB/Mystery: Book 4 of the Harper Connelly series. I've looked a

    PB/Mystery: Book 4 of the Harper Connelly series. I've looked around and I'm pretty sure this is the last book of the Harper series. If it's not, it should be. All the loose-ends had their finale including Harper's relationship with Tolliver and what happened to Cameron. Tolliver is hurt in this book along with him being with Harper and frankly, he got boring. I liked him when he was on a Harper emotional roller coaster. Harper becomes stuck in a town where she becomes someone's doormat. The story is okay, but there were too many coincidences between Cameron and the current case. With all that, the story was readable, but I only recommend it if you have read the other three books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    Grave Secret

    What a twisted ride! Was not expecting that ending to the series but very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Another great one!

    Loved it! Didn't want to put it down.

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  • Posted June 21, 2012

    The best book yet

    I loved this book and wondered is it the end of this series?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Love this series!

    She is one of my favorite writers and this book did not disappoint!

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  • Posted January 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful ending to the series!

    What a great ending to a good series. While most authors will continue series and let them get stale (just substituting killers or people for the same story line), Charlaine Harris decided to switch it up in this book. While I rather enjoyed the Harper Connelly series and think she could have squeezed a couple more out of it, I really appreciate the way she ended it. She tied up the loose ends with Harper and Tolliver's family, and gave us a totally different story line. I'm sad to be done, but thankful that I read it!

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  • Posted December 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting and ties up the story lines from the previous books.

    As usual Charlaine Harris has produced an interesting book that provides, not necessarily a neat conclusion, but one that both satisfies and makes you want to read more about Harper Connelly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    Excellent

    I loved Harper and how this plays out.

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