Grave Sight is the first in the Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris.
After being hit by lightening at an early age Harper has a talent at locating a dead body if the general area is known. She can also tell how they died. This doesn't make her very much liked by both sceptics (who think she preys on the weak) and by those who hire her (because they don't always like the truth that comes out).
In Grave Sight Harper and her step-brother Tolliver Lang get involved in a murder mystery in the southern town of Sarne. What starts off as a normal case – finding the body of missing, presumed dead wild-child Teenie Hopkins (whose boyfriend's body was found six months ago), becomes increasingly dangerous as more deaths occur. The people of Sarne immediately begin to blame Harper for all their troubles, and Harper is forced by the police to stay in the area. At that point, Harper feels compelled to investigate what is going on.
Overall: New spin on murder mysteries and worth a read. The murderer was someone I guessed at but it wasn't that obvious I think. The writing was absorbing – no troubles where I wanted to put the book down and go do something else, and interesting main characters. Really it's Harper's unusual talent and her life with it, that makes the book so interesting. I couldn't really pinpoint the genre here, it seems to cross a couple of them. There also seems to be a mystery in Harper's past (the abduction of her sister Cameron) which I hope gets more exposure in later books.
Harper was an intriguing character. Sometimes she seems very hard because of her upbringing in a broken home (her mother was a drug addict, as was Tolliver's dad), but also sometimes very vulnerable (with her great fear of lightening, and ailments caused by the lightening strike). She is also very reliant on her step-brother, and their relationship was really strange to read. I have a brother so their relationship didn't seem quite brother/sister, and staying together when they were in their twenties, working together, spending that much time together without their own separate lives - kind of weirded me out. I suspect that their relationship is going to become something more, if I'm reading the subtext right. I am not sure how to feel about that. I have a brother so… eck, I don't know.
The other thing I spent a lot of time thinking about with this book was how almost everyone in Sarne treated Harper and Tolliver badly. It seemed like this small-town, small-minded cliche, and I felt bothered by it. I had a hard time believing that so many people (including the police and city officials) could be so suspicious and rude, and I felt like it gives southerner's a bad name. The whole situation gave me a bad taste, and I was aggravated by the attitudes throughout the book.
Other than those two big issues I had, I did enjoy this book.
Interesting. I really enjoy Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books and I've been wanting to give this series a try. Not sure I'll like it but I am intruiged by the concept.
I recommend reading it if you're intruiged. The writing is good – it's not the same as Sookie, but it has it's own unique flavor.