Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse, Book 12

Gollancz (2012)

ISBN: 978-0-575-09658-5

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

For me, the Sookie books are a bit of fairy floss; they are easy to digest, comfort reads that don’t ask too much of me, intellectually, and sometimes give a bit of sustenance (did my metaphor get lost? Ah well.) I have to say, I get a bit annoyed with how over the top they are at times – I liked Sookie far more in the early books, when she wasn’t so embroiled, enamoured and empowered (by that, I mean empowered with supernatural power, not empowered as a woman, because that’s always been one of the GOOD things about her!). I keep reading the Sookie books, but I don’t adore them.

Deadlocked sees Sookie adjusting to the fact that all her friends are settling down, and still trying to come to grips with her relationship with Eric, and the other supernaturals around her. When an unexpected visit from the vampire King of Louisiana, Nevada and Arkansas ends in the death of an unknown girl, Sookie finds herself once again in the middle of a murder investigation, while at the same time dealing with her boss’s psycho girlfriend who wants to kill her, a bunch of displaced fairies who are struggling to find a place in the human world, and a rival for Eric’s affections. Just another day in Bon Temps really.

Once again, the thing I most take away from a Charlaine Harris book is the sense that the writer’s pacing is terribly off. So much of the novel is really quite plodding, then in the last couple of chapters, everything happens! I would prefer to see more plot progression throughout the story. However, this one had me close to tears a couple of times, which earned extra points.

I do wonder when Harris will decide to call it a day on Sookie. With the success of the True Blood series, which deviates quite significantly from the book series, and which is frequently a lot more exciting these days, surely the demand for new Sookie books can be pushed back, particularly as the cast of thousands has become so unwieldy, generally cluttering up and slowing down the flow of the story. I’m sure the income from each new book is nothing to be sneezed at, such is their popularity, but I wish Harris would wrap up in Bon Temps and move on to something fresh – because really, nothing ever changes here.