[This is one of Jean's picks for the year. Here is her review.]
The prolific Charlaine Harris has long been a favorite. I started with her series about small town Southern librarian-turned-realtor Aurora Teagarden and enjoyed them all. I stuck a toe in the Lily Bard series (set in Shakespeare, Arkansas) and thought they were just fine. When she introduced Sookie Stackhouse, the mind-reading, vampire-loving heroine of her best known series (and the inspiration for the HBO series �True Blood), I was hesitant at first but they grew on me. In her latest series with Harper Connelly, she combines some of my favorite elements found in the other books (quirky main character, Southern setting and just enough of the supernatural thrown in to be intriguing) and gets the mix just right.
Harper Connelly -- first introduced in Grave Sight -- has what you might call a strange job: She finds dead people. Ever since she was struck by lightning as a child, she has been able to not only locate dead bodies but discover how they died. Hired to find a missing teenager in Doraville, North Carolina, Harper soon realizes that she has discovered the fate of not one boy, but of several who have disappeared over the course of five years. Harper is stunned by her discovery and is reluctantly drawn into investigating the most painful case she has encountered. I do recommend that readers start with the first book in the series, so you can get to know Harper right from the beginning.