Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse #11

Piatkus (2011)

ISBN: 9780575096530

Reviewed by Stephanie Gunn

Dead Reckoning is the eleventh book in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris, now filmed as the television series True Blood.

Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic waitress and part fairy, is now involved with the vampire Eric and sharing her house with two of her fairy relatives – her cousin Claude and great-uncle Dermot. After much tumult, her life has achieved something like stability. But this is Sookie, and that stability is never going to last for long.

In Sookie’s world, vampires are long “out of the closet” and living a public life; now the “two-natured” – weres and shapeshifters – have joined them in going public. When Merlotte’s, the bar owned by Sam and workplace of Sookie, is attacked, Sookie presumes it to be because of Sam’s double nature. She is immediately drawn into turmoil, made worse when she discovers that Eric and his second, Pam, are plotting something, and determined to keep Sookie out of it.

Those familiar with this series will know what to expect. For all that there has been development in Sookie’s world as she discovers more about herself, she seems always somewhat untouched by it all. During this book, she discovers more about her family and how she came to have fae blood. She also has to deal with the after effects of trauma, and it is here that the book falls down.

Harris has a good opportunity, with the popularity of this series and the television show it spawned, to tackle some deeper issues in this book. Unfortunately, she sidesteps a lot of it, with Sookie basically thinking herself out of post-trauma effects. This makes her feel much less real as a character, and more like a woman who is just buffeted along by what happens to her, rather than someone who can determine her own fate.

Harris has certainly developed as a writer over the course of writing the series, with the pacing of each book improving as they go along. This book isn’t an exception, with the pacing being fairly spot on. There are more than enough reveals in this book to keep long-time readers interested, and most of the main events within this book do wrap up well enough to leave a feeling of satisfaction.

Harris has recently announced that there will be only two more books in this series, and one wonders how she’s going to manage to wrap everything up in a satisfactory enough manner.

Fans of the series will no doubt find this a satisfying enough read, so long as they don’t harbour expectations of anything deep and meaningful.