Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

grave sight

The basics

Title: Grave Sight

Author:

Series: Harper Connelly #1

- Grave Sight (2005)
- Grave Surprise (2006)
- An Ice Cold Grave (2007)
- Grave Secret (2009)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

Harper Connolly is honest, ethical and loyal - and ever since a bolt of lightening zapped her on the head, she's had an extra-special talent: she can find dead people. It's not a common-or-garden job. Some people find Harper's talent useful and fascinating, but she's getting used to most people treating her like a blood-sucking leech. She's become an expert at getting in, getting paid and getting out, fast.

When Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver, travel to the Ozarks to find a local teenager, missing, believed dead, they discover that someone is willing to go to great lengths to bury a secret.

Before long Tolliver's locked away on trumped-up charges and Harper's fighting for her own life...

in short

Harper and Tolliver are kind of detectives. Harper uses her power (which she got when she was struck by lightning) to find dead bodies and find out how they died. They usually get paid then and they leave town. They go to Sarne, and Harper finds the body of Teenie, whose boyfriend died a few months ago. Someone has a grudge against Harper and Tolliver and the latter gets arrested for stupid reasons. Harper finds out that Sybil Teague, the mother of the dead boyfriend Dell, was having an affair with Paul Edwards. She also discovers that Dell had a different father and puts two and two together. Paul Edwards was the father of Dell and Teenie and he killed them both because their baby would have been inbred. He also killed Helen, Teenie’s mother, because she knew as well. Sybil killed Sally, Helen’s other daughter, because she had figured out that Dell wasn’t Dick’s son.

what went down

  • Harper and her brother go to Sarne, a small town in the USA. She’s there to use her body finding psychicness to locate a missing person. The sheriff thinks she’s wasting his time, but Harper proves what she can do when she points out a dead body of a man who died of natural causes.
  • Sybil Teague wants to pay Harper to locate Teenie Hopkins. They’re hoping that she’s just run away, but she was with Sybil’s son, Dell, when he went missing, and his body was found. This all happened six months ago.
  • A theory going around town is that Dell killed Teenie and then killed himself. But there was no gun next to Dell’s body.
  • Harper locates Teenie’s body and faints. Teenie was shot twice in the back. Harper shows the cops where the body is using a map. The cops want Harper to accompany them while they go to the site.
  • Harper explains that she was struck by lightning, and ever since then she’s been able to find dead bodies. She also sees the last few minutes of the people’s lives.
  • Harper and Tolliver go to a motel. Hollis arrives and says that Teenie was his sister-in-law. His wife is dead. Hollis takes Harper to a cemetery and tests her ability on several graves before taking her to his wife’s. Harper sees that someone drowned her.
  • Teenie’s mother, Helen, asks to meet with Harper. Tolliver accompanies her, of course. Helen starts to question if what Harper is doing is right. She starts asking about God and stuff. Harper tells her about what happened to her older daughter, Sally, and how someone drowned her in the bathtub.
  • Tolliver shouts at Harper for letting Hollis into the motel and for going with him to the cemetery. It’s a lover’s tiff :’)
  • Harper goes to see a woman called Geneva, whose husband died in the bath. Harper sees that Geneva’s cat knocked the radio in and the guy was electrocuted.
  • Harper and Tolliver go back to Sarne. They’re questioned by the cops because Hollis tells them that Harper took his money. She didn’t, she left it in his truck. He shows up at the motel and Harper politely tells him that he’s a dick.
  • Mary Nell Teague, Dell’s sister, shows up and asks Harper questions. She’s always believed that her brother didn’t kill himself.
  • Mary Nell joins them for dinner a couple of days later. She reveals that Teenie was pregnant with Dell’s baby.
  • Harper and Hollis talk about the future (Harper doesn’t want Tolliver to get married, nor does she want to), other cases (a tornado case in Texas which consisted of a baby getting caught up in a tornado and left in a tree), and Harper’s neglectful parents.
  • Harper gets threatened in the street by some boys and she pepper sprays them in the face. The sheriff intervenes.
  • Helen Hopkins is killed by a man with a candlestick. Everyone who knew who Teenie’s father was has been murdered, apart from a woman called Annie. Annie refuses to tell Harper and Tolliver who it is.
  • Harper and Hollis have sex at the motel.
  • We learn that Helen previously got a restraining order on Sally’s father, Jay, through a lawyer called Paul.
  • Harper gets a phone call from a woman called Iona, who says that Harper’s younger sister Mariella has run away with a boy. This reminds Harper of her sister, Cameron, who went missing years ago.
  • Harper and Tolliver go to speak to Jay. They get some of Teenie’s hair from her old hairbrush. Harper wants to have the DNA tested.
  • Harper finds out about Sybil’s affair with Paul Edwards, a lawyer.
  • Tolliver gets arrested because he apparently has outstanding warrants. Harper calls their lawyer, Art. Tolliver has been set up by Marv, a deputy and Mary Nell’s uncle.
  • Harper breaks into Hollis’ house to find a book that Sally had been going on about before she died. Hollis finds her and gets mad. They have angry sex and then Harper finds the biology book. Hollis walks Harper back to the motel and Scot is in there. He attacks her but is stopped. Vernon, the owner of the motel, let him in. Scot gets arrested.
  • Harper tries to decipher the initials she found in the textbook: SO MO DA NO.
  • She goes to the cemetery to investigate the Teague family. Someone starts shooting at her so she calls 911. The guy who arrested Tolliver arrives and is sceptical.
  • Harper goes to see Tolliver at the jail and fills him in on what’s been happening. He doesn’t know what the initials mean either. Tolliver and Harper agree that it’s probably Jay Hopkins who wanted him there.
  • Mary Nell suggests that Hollis is the one behind the arrest.
  • Harper starts asking questions about Mary Nell’s hospital stay in the next town over. Apparently Dell and their father were in the same hospital at one point.
  • Phyllis Folliette arrives and says there’s something weird going on with Tolliver’s case. No shit. Apparently if he really did have a warrant out for him in Montana, he wouldn’t be appearing before the Sarne District Court. She asks if Harper is related to Cameron Connelly.
  • The court case goes well and Tolliver gets off with a fine, which Harper pays for him. Tolliver and Harper decide to leave in the morning.
  • Tolliver gets a call to say that Mariella has returned home and she’s fine.
  • Sybil asks Harper to meet her that night. She says that Mary Nell is talking about killing herself. Harper doesn’t believe her.
  • Harper thinks she’s cracked the code. S = Sybil, M = Me, D = Dell, N = Mary Nell. And the other letters are blood types. Dick must have discovered that he’s not Dell’s father, as two O blood types can’t have an A. Sally also found out, and told her mother.

how did it end?

Harper and Tolliver go to the Teague residence. All the lights are off. Someone screams and a shot goes off. Paul Edwards and Sybil are both there holding guns. Paul talks about his affairs with Sybil and Helen. He says that Dell and Teenie were both his children. Mary Nell says she told Paul about Teenie’s pregnancy. Paul admits to killing Teenie and Dell and Helen. He doesn’t admit to killing Sally though. Sybil killed Sally because she figured out that Dell had a different father. Hollis hears. He shoots Paul and arrests both him and Sybil. Tolliver and Harper drive to Memphis.

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