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    Review of AN ICE COLD GRAVE by Charlaine Harris (see her website)


    Berkley Prime Crime, September 2007

    Since being struck by lightning, corpses talk to Harper Connelly. The talent was disturbing at first, but now she makes a living finding bodies--and determining what happened to them. When she's called into a small North Carolina town missing a series of boys, she fears she'll discover something unpleasant--but she has no idea how unpleasant it will be. The boys were tortured, sexually abused, and left to die--and whoever did it is still at large.

    Finding the bodies is Harper's job, but when she's attacked, the case gets more complicated for her. Since the police won't let her leave the town, she decides to investigate a bit more.

    Being hospitalized does serve one additional purpose, though. Harper has been in love with her step-brother for years but has been afraid to tell him for fear that it will destroy their relationship. There's no way that truth can avoid coming out this time--although Harper worries that she'll lose everything by making the gamble.

    Author Charlaine Harris (see more reviews of mysteries by Harris) continues her Harper Connelly series with a mystery that stretches Harper's talents to the limit and also brings back psychic Xylda and her grandson, Manfred--a young man who happens to have a crush on Harper. With a strong start and an action-packed conclusion, there's a lot to like about AN ICE COLD GRAVE. Harris's writing is engaging, and the first person narrative brings us into Harper's thoughts and dangers.

    I would have liked to see a bit less of the romance between Harper and her step-brother. To me, this element slowed down the story. While it's perhaps understandable to be afraid of change, Harper's inability to see Tolliver's jealousy and desire as anything other than what it really is makes her seem less intelligent than we know her to be. On the other hand, Harris's handling of the animal-torturing youth, Chuck, is strong and compelling.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 11/18/07

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