Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris has an interesting idea behind it, but poor writing and research
I happened to be shelf browsing at the library, and I saw the Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris. I liked the earlier Sookie Stackhouse books, so I thought I would give this series a try. Harper was struck by lightning as a teen, and this has given her the ability to find dead bodies and to see the person's final moments. She uses this talent to find missing people who are dead, as long as she knows the general location of the body. Also, she can see what the person experiences in the last moments, so she can explain the death. If it was murder, she can't see the murderer, but she knows the person was murdered. Harper's step-brother Tolliver Lang, acts as manager/bodyguard when Harper does her work for money. It seems that people don't like that Harper can find the dead, even though it helps them find the missing loved one. People tend to want to hurt her.

Grave Sight is the first book in the series, and Harper is called in to find a missing teenage girl, named Teenie, in Sarne, Arkansas. It seems that everyone in power in the town is related to everyone else, and after Harper finds the body, and discovers that not only was the girl murdered, but her boyfriend, who was found dead in the general area of supposed suicide, was also murdered. This doesn't go down well with the townsfolk, who make Harper's life miserable. Then Harper discovers that the Teenie's sister was murdered earlier. Then after Teenie's mom talks to Harper, she winds up dead. Obviously something is going on, and Harper and Tolliver are stuck in the town. Harper decides that while she is stuck there, she might as well figure out why everyone in Teenie's family was murdered. However, someone in the town is determined to stop Harper at any cost.

The plot was interesting. I mean who would think of a person being struck by lightning then being able to discover dead bodies. Harris does come up with some interesting ideas, but she really does need to work on her mechanics. First, her grammar is atrocious. This is an example of one of her poorly written sentences from page 10: "The waitress filled my coffee cup and taken my first swallow before the sheriff spoke." Wow! So the waitress took the sip for Harper. With the number of grammar errors, it's obvious that Harris isn't an English major, and it's also obvious that her editor sucks. Then there's the matter of common sense and research. On page 46, Harris talks about an approaching thunderstorm: "A boom of thunder was followed by a brilliant bolt of lightning." Anyone who has any common sense, or lived, knows that light travels faster than sound, and that you see the lightning and then hear the thunder. The errors in the book really detracted from my enjoyment of the story.

The book was okay. Harper is a stupid and sloppy detective. Harper finds out from Hollis, cop and former husband of Sally, Teenie's murdered sister, that right before her death, Sally had been cleaning the house of Dick Teaque, father of Teenie's boyfriend, after Dick died. She then came home in a bemused mood and looked through one of her high school textbooks. Well, Harper lumbers in, grabs the biology textbook, and shakes a paper out. Duh! Idiot! She should have flipped through so she could see where the paper was placed because that would have been a clue. However, Harper ain't known for her smarts. She can just find dead people. I may give the second book a chance just to see if Grave Sight was an aberration. It it's not better, I would suggest skipping the series because the first book is not that good.

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