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Harper Connelly, Book 1
Goodreads⎮Reviewed July 2018
Narrator: Alyssa Bresnahan
Length: 7 hours 51 minutes
Publisher: Recorded Books⎮2006
Synopsis: Grave Sight draws listeners into the intriguing world of Harper Connelly, a woman with a unique gift: she can “see” the deceased and how they died.
A teenage girl from a small Ozarks town is missing and feared dead. Hired by local police, Harper locates the girl’s body in a nearby forest. But there’s more than one corpse in those woods, and the second one raises questions no one wants to ask. Soon Harper and her stepbrother/assistant, Tolliver, are under suspicion. All they want is to get out of town, but they will have to clear their reputations first.
Charlaine Harris writes best-selling mysteries described by Booklist as “gripping and spicy”, and praised by the Denver Post for their “goofy charm”.
4.25★ Audiobook⎮It was just last week that I began a wild ride with Sookie Stackhouse and a few days ago that the ride began to slow because my unlimited listening services (Scribd & Playster) only had the first three books available and wouldn’t be getting the others until the end of July. I hastily bought the fourth book using an Audible credit, but quickly realized that I can’t/won’t spend credits on the remaining 9 books in the series.
So I began to hunt for something, anything, to hear while I wait to get my hands on more Sookie. My eyes didn’t stray too far from Charlaine Harris when they found her Harper Connelly series. I first tried listening to the Grave Sight last year, along with a few other series from Harris, but nothing stuck. This time, however, my expectations weren’t so high. The Harper Connelly series (or what I’ve heard of it so far) is nowhere near as good as Harris’ Midnight, Texas series or even her Southern Vampire Mysteries (AKA the Sookie Stackhouse series), but good writing is good writing and I just needed something to get me through the night, so to speak.
Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised by Harper Connelly. It didn’t knock my socks off like Midnight, Texas, but Harris’ writing always has this cozy quality to it that makes listening easy and enjoyable. It’s never taken me longer than a couple of days to get through one of her books. I know that Harris doesn’t like the term “Cozy Mystery”, but I do. I love a good cozy. The best things in life are cozy. What I don’t like is when a cozy mystery is simplistic, shallow, or predictable.
The premise of the Harper Connelly series is both familiar and original. Harper doesn’t necessarily see dead people, but she can locate dead bodies and suss out how they met their demise. That’s an interesting premise by itself, but the best thing is the depth with which Harris writes. She’s an expert at character development, something which the majority of cozy mysteries lack. Even if the details of Grave Sight’s plot arc were somewhat predictable (I pegged the who and why), Harris laid a solid character foundation for the series. I’m invested in Harper and Toliver. I want to follow them in various books, even if the trouble they will inevitably get into is only a sideshow to me.
I also found it intriguing that the main characters in this series are a brother-sister duo. They’re technically stepsiblings, but I’m confident that Harris won’t take us down a path with any shenanigans. Their devotion to one another and to their siblings is endearing. The story of their rough upbringing was almost oversold and had begun to become redundant by the end of Grave Sight, but I still appreciated the effort.
At the rate I’m already devouring this series, I may make it into the Aurora Teagarden series before I’m able to return to Sookie Stackhouse on July 27. Let’s just declare this Charlaine Harris month for me.
Narration review: This was the first Charlaine Harris book where I have been less than impressed with the narration. Alyssa Bresnahan didn’t do anything wrong, she just didn’t add anything to the experience. I will admit that I’ve become accustomed to a certain level of performance with Harris’ audiobooks. Susan Bennett and Johanna Parker both became instant favorites after I heard them. This performance from Bresnahan was done well enough to keep me listening to the series, but it doesn’t necessarily make me want to seek out her other work. ♣︎