Review: “Grave Sight” by Charlaine Harris
Harper Connelly has what you might call a strange job: she finds dead people. She can sense the final location of a person who’s passed, and share their very last moment. The way Harper sees it, she’s providing a service to the dead while bringing some closure to the living-but she’s used to most people treating her like a blood-sucking leech. Traveling with her step-brother Tolliver as manager and sometime-bodyguard, she’s become an expert at getting in, getting paid, and getting out fast. Because for the living it’s always urgent-even if the dead can wait forever.
Mass Market Paperback, 263 pages
Published September 13th 2007 by Gollancz
Read: 11 June 2011
I started off reading the book and listening to the audio at the same time but the narrator, Ms. Monotone put me off so I gave up on her and relied on my own inner voice as I read the rest of the book by myself.
The first half was pretty interesting but at 51% I’d guessed the main murderer and the motive. After that, the book was no longer as interesting as I waited to be proved right or wrong. The violent attempts on Harper’s life kept me reading but if it hadn’t been for those the rest might’ve dragged. In the end, I was disappointed to be proved right in my guess.
However, Harper’s background with her difficult childhood and family situation together with her intelligent observations and reactions to how others treat her as well as her determination to not be damaged by them, are the reason why I’m awarding this 3 stars instead of 2.
Her relationship with her brother is an odd one and is explained by Tolliver’s observation:
“You need to stop reading mysteries for a while. Or get a new sidekick.”
“Yeah, if you’re the brilliant sleuth, I must be the slightly denser but brilliant-in-my-own-way sidekick, right?”
“More like Sharona.”
“That’d make me Monk?”
“If the shoe fits.”
Monk is a TV show in which Sharona is Monk’s nurse, handler and personal assistant all rolled into one. Harper was hurt by Tolliver’s evaluation of his role in her life because it was a little too close to the truth but just because she was extremely vulnerable without him she managed to survive when she was physically attacked. She fought back with gusto and refused to back down to a pack of teenage bullies surrounding her. I admired Harper for this. She could easily play the role of a typical victim, persecuted for her natural talent for detecting the dead, their names and cause of death after being struck by lightning.
Tolliver, on the other hand, I couldn’t get a complete grasp on him. I wasn’t enamoured with him at all despite his obvious caring and protectiveness towards his step-sister. They live difficult lives on the road and I sympathised with their way of life, their erratic and depressing sex lives and just a general lack of genuine friends and family whom they can turn to in a crisis.
Overall, the mystery wasn’t quite as mysterious as it first appeared but the characterisation and observations of the leading lady made up for this.
In comparison to Harris’ other paranormal series, Sookie Stackhouse, this has a much more serious tone and a darker outlook on the realities of life.
I have the next two in the series so I will continue reading.