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Archive for October, 2010

Harper Connolly is honest, ethical and loyal – and ever since a bolt of lightning 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 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.

The summary in the back tells quite well what this work is about. Harper Connolly has the ability to sense the last experiences of corpses. Therefore she also perceives when a dead body is near by its last memories. However, she is not able to communicate with dead people, see who murdered them or any other kind of medium abilities. She and her stepbrother travel through the USA, to where they are hired by people who pay for Harper’s services: finding dead bodies and discover the cause of death.

This is an all-American work, about all-American people aimed to all-American readers.

The story is a crime plot, which is told in a direct straight-forward way, without any literary embellishments. The characters are all-American people, and it is hard for a European reader to feel some sort of identification with them. Also, there are no characters deep enough to become really interesting. Even Harper, who the author took great care to remark that was intellectually superior to the other characters, seems quite shallow.

By this book, the Harper Connolly series seems very similar to the Sookie Stackhouse series in the kind of characters, way of writing and sense of humor, but the Sookie series feels more special for the higher amount of fantasy elements, and the way it makes the characters more appealing.

Grave Sight is entertaining, easy and fast to read, but feels too light.

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Karl Glogauer, a time traveler from the 20th century, arrived to Palestine 28AD. The time machine was damaged and he was saved by a group of Essenes, whose leader was John the Baptist.

Glogauer suffered from many neuroses and chronic psychological problems related with childhood traumas, his strong Christian education, the rupture with Christianity in later years, and his messed up views upon sexuality. Although he felt no longer a Christian, he volunteered to test the time machine built by a friend. And so he decided to go to Palestine and witness the crucification of Christ, a decisive event in human History and in his own life.

However, when he arrived (one year before the death of Jesus) John the Baptist’s group never heard about Jesus and they were still waiting for their Savior.  Glogauer was stuck in the past, the “greatest moment” was approaching, and things were not happening as they should… someone had to do something for the sake History!

Behold the Man is a novella with a plot that becomes interesting by the way it is told. The story starts by Glogauer’s arrival in Palestine, and the events before the time travel (London, 20th century) are given by flashbacks and memoirs that come parallel with the events in Palestine. Also, some passages from the Bible are placed in the proper places to offer the alternative description of the events, and to give the final touch to the dark humor of the tale.

Even the main character, Glogauer, becomes interesting by its frailty, as he is the opposite of what is expected in a hero: he is weak, depressed and neurotic, with a personality crushed by the society that, after all, was his own creation.

Behold the Man won the Nebula Award for best novella in 1967.

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