review: grave secret

Grave Secret

Book Jacket Summary:

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.

My feelings about the fourth and final installment of the Harper Connelly series are easily summed up in a single word: disappointing.

While I appreciate that this novel weaves two mysterious deaths into a complex narrative which reveals more of Harper and Tolliver’s background, while pushing them emotionally to their limits as they struggle with family matters…I just don’t believe the book was very well executed.

Individually, the two mysteries are well-thought out and potentially engaging, especially as they both relate to Harper and her family. However, when intertwined at the end, the ending seems entirely rushed and forced. As if Harris just wanted to be done with the series, so she wrapped up at least two books worth of plotlines in one. I can easily see how her plans might have changed, leading her to finish the series off…but I left the series with a bad taste in my mouth.

To address the Harper / Tolliver romance: I understand why it creeps out many readers, though logically I believe there is no need to be disgusted with their romance as they are not genetically related; furthermore, they became a family late in life, so it’s not as if they grew up from birth as brother and sister. Rather, the aspect of the relationship which annoys me is the disgustingly overt romance that they express. Considering Harper and Tolliver’s original characterization, I never became fully engaged in their relationship – and considering how much I enjoy chick flicks and how easily my disbelief is suspended when it comes to romance, that’s saying a lot.

Well, the first three books were a worthwhile read, and the last is worthwhile if only to wrap up all loose ends so you don’t go crazy wondering what ever happened to Harper’s sister. But honestly? I’m glad I didn’t buy the books, but rather borrowed them from the library.

If you love Charlaine Harris, go for it. If you’ve never read her before? Well, I’d look at some of her better series first (Sookie Stackhouse, Lily Bard…you pick).

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