Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

An Ice Cold Grave
An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In An Ice Cold Grave, Harper Connelly is in the fictional town of Doraville, NC, which is described as being near Asheville. Several young men have gone missing, and Harper is called in to find one in particular. That doesn't take her long, but then forces conspire to keep her there, and she feel compelled to solve the mystery of who would kill all those boys in the violent way she senses. While she's trapped in a lake cabin during an ice storm, she and her not-related-by-blood brother confess their feelings for one another, and consummate the relationship Harper has wanted since at least the last book.


Okay, so intellectually, I know Harper and Tolliver aren't related by blood, and therefore there's no incest taboo to be broken, here. But the relationship between them still had me squirming in discomfort. I felt like their platonic, sibling-like bond was fairly well established in the previous books. So to have it turn into a physical relationship in this book left me thoroughly grossed out. I never felt sexual tension between them, or like the "love" Harper describes had a physical aspect to it. Then, suddenly, she's describing his penis in loving detail and talking wistfully about his "dick." Yes, she uses that word. So in addition to feeling gross about listening in graphic detail to these two boning, I was left questioning her emotional maturity, too.

From a writing standpoint, too, I found the book lacking. Harper annoyed me with her constant bellybutton-gazing as she reviews all the crucial things she knows for the reader, there's far too much time taken up in the narrative on puttering, and her constant attention on politeness grated. The woman is hit on the head with a shovel, and she's obsessed with not coming across as grumpy to the parade that marches through her hospital room. It shows a curious set of priorities, at the very least.

There are constant references to things that are going to come up in later books (how handy psychics are, when one wants to smack the reader over the head with foreshadowing), but there's no movement toward solving those mysteries yet. If they're half as plodding as this narrative, I want nothing to do with them.

I'm stopping with this book, because my sense of curiosity in those greater mysteries doesn't override my squick factor with the physical relationship between the siblings-by-marriage. I really don't want to have to sit through another sex scene that makes me throw up in my mouth.

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