Review: An Ice Cold Grave, by Charlaine Harris


“Since the lightning snaked through the window of the trailer in Texarkana when I was fifteen, I’ve been able to locate corpses. Think about it. Cavement corpses, Native American corpses, the early settlers, the more recently deceased – that’s a lot of dead people, and they all let me know where their earthly remains were interred …”

Hired to find a boy gone missing in Doraville, North Carolina, Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver head there – only to discover that the boy was only one of several who had disappeared over the previous five years. All of them teenagers. All unlikely runaways.

All calling for Harper.

Harper soon finds them – eight victims, buried in the half-frozen ground, all come to an unspeakable end. Afterwards, what she most wants to do is collect her fee and get out of town ahead of the media storm that’s about to descend. But when she’s attacked and prevented from leaving, she reluctantly becomes a part of the investigation as she learns more than she cares to about the dark mysteries and long-hidden secrets of Doraville – knowledge that makes her the next person likely to rest in an ice cold grave …

Ms. Bookish’s Quick Take: An Ice Cold Grave is not a book you want to read in the middle of a dark stormy night when you’re at home all by your lonesome. It’s not that it’s a horror story – it’s more along the lines of a paranormal thriller – but there’s a grimness to it that seeps right into you. The plot involves a serial killer, and Harris’ descriptions are likely to get your imagination going down dark alleys of the mind you might not really want to venture down. This was a tense, fast-paced read that I consumed at a gallop.

The Full Review of An Ice Cold Grave

When I began reading An Ice Cold Grave, I hadn’t been aware that it was the sequel to Grave Sight, which I had read last year. Grave Sight is the first in the Harper Connelly series, and I had found it quite enjoyable.

An Ice Cold Grave is not a “fun read” type of book like some of the other paranormal mysteries and thrillers out there. I think that there’s a time and place for the various moods and tones of most books; if you’re in the mood for something more intense and on the chilling side, this book is a good pick.

I like Harper Connelly; her reaction to this power of hers to see corpses is realistic. She doesn’t enjoy having this ability; frankly, I wouldn’t, either. The novel itself is on the grimmer, darker side; there aren’t any quips or witticisms here. People find Harper a curiosity, even slightly freakish, and law enforcement officials use her powers but doubt her at the same time.

Readers who aren’t fond of serial killer plots might want to steer clear of this book, or be prepared to skip over a few paragraphs here and there. Harris doesn’t depict the actual killings, but Harper Connelly does “see” the moment of death when she finds a body. Harris is good with her prose, and and in several short, direct sentences, she gives your imagination a lot to work with; she does this all without being particularly graphic, which is a plus.

The mystery itself is a good one. We have our pick of suspects, and Harper isn’t one of those heroes who accepts everyone at face value. She, too, suspects everyone she encounters, which is quite refreshing because she is always intelligently alert in circumstances where alertness in a hero is much appreciated.

The last few chapters are true page turners – I found myself rapidly reading through the paragraphs (something I try not to do when I’m reading a book for review).

I particularly enjoyed the characters of the psychic Xylda and her son, Manfred; I did wonder, though, just how much of what Xylda “saw” was true, even though her powers were supposed to be clearer as she aged and drew closer to death. I would have liked more of an answer to this.

An Ice Cold Grave is a paranormal mystery/thriller that’s on the darker, bleaker side. It offers a likeable hero in Harper Connelly; she has an interesting power and uses that power well. The plot is intense and fast-paced, with some good twists. I’m not particularly fond of serial killer plots but still, I enjoyed this book. Ms. Bookish’s Rating: A-/B+: Good Read Plus ?

6 thoughts on “Review: An Ice Cold Grave, by Charlaine Harris

  1. Ms. Bookish Post author

    A huge yes to the blurring things in my mind. I waver been liking the plot and storyline a whole lot and not liking so much what my imagination comes up with. Blurring is good!

  2. Beth F

    I’m off to the library to pick up the fourth in this series. The local bookstore had all but the 4th! I can’t wait for the book to be shipped in the mail — especially with a reading weekend coming up.

    Thanks for the review.

  3. J. Kaye

    I read this one earlier this year, I think, shortly after it came out. I had to find out about her love life. That was a sore spot for me. Love the first two, but that last one…yuck. Love this writer though. She is awesome!

  4. Ms. Bookish Post author

    I didn’t read the second one, but in the third you get a hint where her love life is going right from the first, that’s for sure!


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