Well, it’s happened. Stephen King, I hope you’re proud of me – despite having never met me or cared whether I got anything out of your “On Writing” book or not. Well, I did. One of the many – let me emphasize, MANY – things I took away from that masterpiece was the quintessential (and not uncommonly balked at) rule for Writers to Be: Read. Constantly.
Well, though I may have revolted against that advice when I’d heard in my earlier life, apparently I’m actually ready to get serious. I’ve had a pile of books by my bedside ever since.
AN ICE COLD GRAVE by Charlaine Harris is the third novel in the Harper Connelly series. The series revolves around a woman who, due to a lightning strike at fifteen, can now feel and sense the dead. Not like the Ghost Whisperer, ladies and gentlemen. She can find and read corpses. Her existance consists of roaming the country hunting for the lost and deceased of the nation with her devoted Stepbrother, Tolliver, at her side. Though the first two books in the series were centered around mysteries that I solved relatively quickly, the main characters were drawing me in enough that I wanted to keep following along. By the third novel, I loved Harper and Tolliver without a shadow of a doubt. I had all four books on the bedstand before I even started GRAVE SIGHT (the first in the series), which made it easy to devour their adventures one after another. Still the third book was the clincher. AN ICE COLD GRAVE signifies a great event in my newfound reading life. I finished this book in one sitting.
That’s right, one. I started it at dusk and lied in bed reading until six in the morning when I devoured the last page. Undeniable.
Charlaine Harris has a knack for series writing. She has a way of creating tension between characters that can carry for several novels, keeping the reader desperate to see these hints and tensions come to fruition. As a result of seeds planted in the first two Harper Connelly novels, I knew a great event might take place in this novel. And it did.
This book had a love/sex scene that carried more satisfaction and excitement for the reader than any within the ten novels of the Southern Vampire Series (Sookie Stackhouse Novels). The resolution of tension in that one scene blew the Sookie/Eric/Bill triangle out of the water for me. When I was halfway through this book I had a smile on my face and a curiosity to see how the relationship of the two main characters would evolve as a result.
Now, I am one chapter into the fourth book and have just finished researching the series to find that the Fourth book, GRAVE SECRET, is apparently the last of the Harper Connelly series.
“If I write about a character when I don’t feel like I have any ideas left, I have failed the readers.”
That’s the gist of Charlaine Harris’ reasoning on why she would stop at four. My opinion – if you have a character that hooks people, you could write about anything and people will devour it as long as you let them. Still, when you’re writing novels about their bowel movements in a nursing home, one might say you should have let go by now.
So, to sum up this novel – yes, I solved it before the end, but it still kept me turning the page just to see the characters I cared about come out the end of the tunnel. Way to go Charlaine.