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Grave Secret (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 4) Mass Market Paperback – November 2, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 242 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Harper Connelly Series

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A series that just might surpass all her others." Booklist "An author of rare talents." Publishers Weekly "Paranormal mystery at its best." The Romantic Times" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780425237519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425237519
  • ASIN: 0425237516
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #287,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charlaine Harris (born November 25, 1951 in Tunica, Mississippi) is a New York Times bestselling author who has been writing for over twenty years. She was raised in the Mississippi River Delta area. Though her early works consisted largely of poems about ghosts and, later, teenage angst, she wrote plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She began to write books a few years later.
After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris launched a lighthearted series "starring" Georgia librarian Aurora Teagarden, with Real Murders, a Best Novel nominee for the 1990 Agatha Awards. Harris wrote eight Aurora titles. In 1996, she released the first of the much darker Shakespeare mysteries, featuring the amateur sleuth Lily Bard, a karate student who makes her living cleaning houses. Shakespeare's Counselor, the fifth--and last-- was printed in fall 2001.
After Shakespeare, Harris created The Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series about a telepathic waitress who works in a bar in the fictional Northern Louisiana town of Bon Temps. The first of these, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001. Each book follows Sookie as she tries to solve mysteries involving vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures. The series, which now numbers nine titles, has been released worldwide.
Sookie Stackhouse proved to be so popular that Alan Ball, creator of Six Feet Under, announced he would undertake the production of a new show for HBO based upon the books. He wrote and directed the pilot episode for that series, True Blood, which premiered in September of 2008. It was an instant success and was quickly picked up for a second season.
In October 2005, Harris's new mystery series about a young woman named Harper Connelly debuted with the release of Grave Sight. Harper has the ability to determine the cause of death of any body. There are now three Harper titles (GRAVE SIGHT, GRAVE SURPRISE, AN ICE COLD GRAVE) with a 4th (GRAVE SECRET) to be released in 2009.
Harris has also co-edited three very popular anthologies with her friend Toni L.P. Kelner. The anthologies feature stories with an element of the supernatural, and the submissions come from a rare mixture of mystery and urban fantasy writers.
Professionally, Harris is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the American Crime Writers League. She is a member of the board of Sisters in Crime, and alternates with Joan Hess as president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance. Personally, Harris is married and the mother of three. She lives in a small town in Southern Arkansas and when she is not writing her own books, she reads omnivorously!

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If this book isn't the end of the Harper Connelly series, it certainly feels like it.

"Grave Secret" is a pretty solid conclusion to Charlaine Harris' short but sweet series about a woman able to sense the dearly departed. Mysteries are solved, plot threads are wrapped up, relatives are dealt with, and dirty little secrets are unveiled -- and while one pivotal secret is rather far-fetched, it handles all the loose threads deftly while keeping the door open for more possible stories about Harper and Tolliver.

After doing a job for the wealthy Joyce family, Harper and Tolliver face their toughest challenge yet: telling super-rigid Aunt Iona, Uncle Hank and their younger half-sisters that they're a couple. It doesn't help that this town is also where they lived as the abused blended family of neglectful junkies, and where Harper's beloved sister Cameron mysteriously vanished. As if their family relations weren't strained enough, Tolliver's creepy dad Matthew appears in town, claiming he wants to mend fences.

At the same time, Harper has been hired by the Joyces to find a missing baby that may be their grandfather's secret love child -- but someone is determined to keep her from finding it. People around her are getting injured, kidnapped and murdered -- even Tolliver has been shot. And as Harper tries to unravel the mysteries from years ago, she realizes that the Joyce family has a long-ago link to her own...

It's fairly obvious in "Grave Secret" that Charlaine Harris is ending the Harper Connelly series, although she leaves the door open for future adventures (if and when she ever wants to continue).
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Format: Hardcover
Now better known for her Sookie Stackhouse series, this series was my first introdution to this authors' work. Having read all her writings, I don't know why this series did not take off. It seems so much deeper and had a melancholy richness that her other stories do not. Considering how deeply skilled this author is, from the silly cozy mysteries to the philosphical quandry of this series--I cannot pass up a book with her name on it. All of her books are keepers, but this series has a special place on my bookshelf. The common theme of her stories is how women cope when undreamed of changes shatter an old life and demand new groundrules. Plus the various "helpers" all come with their own set of challenges. Start at the beginning of this series and allow yourself a place in Harpers' world. Notice how the rhythm of the writing is different--almost slower--and the problems far more tragic and pointed. Be very careful--as is wise Harper--as to who you let get close.
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Format: Hardcover
There are two main mysteries going in the concluding volume of the Harper series. One of them's pretty well-done, and the other seems like an afterthought. But by the end of the book, there aren't any lingering questions that would merit another book in the series, so there's that.

The story moves along at a fair clip, and unfortunately relies on contrivance a lot to either prolong suspense or force resolution. At times, Harper and her brother/lover/whatever (and it's pretty weird that they haven't settled THAT bit of vocabulary) make mindblowingly stupid choices to further the plot. There's a lot of peppering description with "she saw someone suspicious out of the corner of her eye, but didn't bother to look closer" and a couple of instances when you wonder if Harper and her brother/lover/whatever have learned anything about caution from their previous run-ins with people who want them dead. These protagonists are not particularly smart, is what I'm saying.

The previous book in the series was far creepier and more suspenseful, and actually had me reading late into the night. This one takes a more Dan Brown route, building up a confrontation only to blow it within a few paragraphs. Read it to wrap up the series, there's nothing wrong with most of the story elements. But it's not as smoothly crafted as I think it could have been, with more time and editing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the final installment in Charlaine Harris's Harper Connelly series. It's the story of a young woman who, having been struck by lightening as a teenager, is able to sense the dead. In the presence of a dead human body, she can "see" the final few moments of their lives and determine the cause of death. Following a difficult and abusive childhood and adolescence, she travels the country with her stepbrother, contracting out to law enforcement and private individuals to locate the lost deceased, or to determine the cause of death.

I love this series for its bravery in tackling certain serious subject matter - child abuse and neglect, making one's own way in the world despite tragic circumstances - and I love the characters, who are portrayed in an immensely interesting and realistic way. I enjoyed the first installment (Grave Sight), loved the second (Grave Surprise) and was blown away by the complex and riveting third installment (An Ice Cold Grave). I enjoyed this fourth and final installment too, but I felt the plot relied a bit too heavily on contrivance and convenience. As the last book in the series, I know certain threads needed to be tied up, but this book could perhaps have used some additional editing, and it didn't flow as organically as other books in the series. [Obviously I can't speculate on the whys, but it seems like Ms. Harris must have a lot of demands on her time these days with the success of Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood. If that's so, then I for one thank her for making time for this last Harper Connelly book. I couldn't have stood not knowing how things turned for Harper.
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Grave Secret (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 4)
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