Right after I had finished the second book in this series (you can find my review here), I started on the third one, "An Ice Cold Grave" by Charlaine Harris. And this time, an important thread that was started in the previous story was picked up on; or, actually, more than one thread, and I quite liked how this was done and the way things turned out (I am not going to tell you what I mean because I do not want to spoil it for anyone who wants to read the book).
For the first time, Harper and Tolliver have to deal with a serial killer.
Harper is asked to find one dead boy, and ends up finding eight.
Another boy loses his life in the course of events, and a tenth one only just about survives.
While everybody thinks the case is solved after the finding of boy no. 9 and the rescue of boy no. 10, Harper feels there is more to these terrible crimes, and sets out to confront the murderer.
As opposed to the first two books, where the showdown consists in a more classic confrontation scene, set in a wealthy house, this time we follow Harper being chased through the nightly woods in ice and snow by the murderer, and for one mad second I had the impression she was going to die and the series would end after three books (I have no idea how many there are, actually).
But Harper makes it, although she is injured, and when the case is truly solved, she and Tolliver can finally leave town and move on to their next assignment.
Like in the first book, the paranormal element does not feature very prominently, which I was quite glad about. Instead, the story focuses on the manifold relationships between the characters, and that is done well and in a plausible manner.
Harper gets to have a few surprisingly explicit sex scenes (I am not going to tell you who with), so if you're not into that, you will have to skip a few paragraphs here and there.