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Charlaine Harris

Gollancz (2012)

ISBN: 978-0-575-09658-5

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack

Deadlocked is Charlaine Harris in a return to the form which first hooked me on the Sookie Stackhouse novels. None of the novels in this series have been bad, but a couple of the recent ones seemed to focus on character development or advancing the overall story arc at the expense of a plot complete within the novel. Deadlocked offers an interesting self contained plot, important character developments, and a step forward in the overall story arc.

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.

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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.

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Edited by Charlaine Harris

Orion (2011)

ISBN: 978-0-575-09753-7

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack

I tend to eye “guides” and “companions” with some suspicion; too often they seem designed for people who have crossed that fine line between dedicated fan and obsessed geek. However, this particular volume offers enough new material to avoid that trap. As the name suggests, it’s a companion to the Sookie Stackhouse books (such as Dead in the Family, reviewed here.)

The companion is edited by Charlaine Harris, the author of the novels, and she’s at pains in the introduction to be clear: it’s a companion to the Sookie Stackhouse novels, not the TV series True Blood which is based on the books. If you’ve tried both then you’ll know that they are very different. Harris does include a few nods to the TV series, most notably an interview with series creator Alan Ball. Appropriately, many of the questions focus on differences between the books and the TV series.

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Charlaine Harris

A Sookie Stackhouse novel (12)

Gollancz (2011)

ISBN: 978 0 575 09653 0

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

Mindreading human (sort of) Sookie Stackhouse is a magnet for trouble of the supernatural kind. Not only is her boyfriend a vampire, but she has all sorts of shapeshifters, fairies and other magical creatures harassing her regularly. It’s not just the supes though, because Sookie’s made some human enemies along the way as well, which never helps. This time, the action gets started when Sookie’s workplace, the bar of shapeshifter Sam Merlotte, is firebombed. Sookie mostly escapes injury, although that doesn’t stop vampire Eric Northam from insisting she get looked at by a hairdresser – yes, you read that right – providing a convenient introduction to the main story, involving Eric and his ‘child’ Pam. The book then lurches from plot point to plot point, labouring along without any real engagement of character or story before ‘climaxing’ in the hurried and open-ended sort of way that has become the norm for this series.

If I sound a little cynical about the storyline of Dead Reckoning, that’s because I am. This series has undergone a revival in popularity thanks to the HBO television series adaption True Blood but unfortunately, it feels like Harris really should have wound it up by now. The books are quite long but very little forward momentum has been achieved in the past several novels. Sookie seems stagnant, and while Harris continues to throw new roadblocks in her path to happiness, there is little resolution of any kind, which makes the books seem kind of pointless.

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Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse series

Gollancz

ISBN: 978-0-575-08933-4

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack

Dead in the Family is the tenth in the Sookie Stackhouse series, now known to many readers as the True Blood series, due to the successful television series based on the novels. Despite the extended series, Harris has kept it relatively fresh, largely through genuine character development throughout the series.

In broad terms, the series follows the adventures of Bon Temps waitress Sookie Stackhouse. Bon Temps is a very small town in Louisiana, and when the series first opens Sookie has a fairly small life. She’s a telepath, and that’s prevented her developing many real relationships. She can’t help hearing everything someone is thinking, and that kind of one-sided honesty can really crimp a relationship, especially a romantic one. Sookie also has trouble sometimes sorting what she’s heard from someone’s mouth and from their head; as a result she’s got a reputation for being a bit crazy. She lives a fairly circumscribed life, working as a waitress in a bar where pretty much everyone knows her, living with her grandmother, with just a few friends and her selfish
brother Jason for company.

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Charlaine Harris

A Sookie Stackhouse novel

Gollancz (2010)

ISBN: 978-0-575-08933-4

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

There are some series that I think really should end. I have enjoyed reading Sookie for a number of years, and I love the TV adaptation True Blood, but sadly, Sookie has jumped the shark. I’m pretty sure this occurred as soon as the fairy storyline was introduced, but regardless of when it happened, I wish Harris would gracefully retire her telepathic Southern Belle and her massive cast and move on to fresh pasture.

Sookie’s life is more complicated than ever, with her fairy cousin Claude insisting on moving in, her vampire boyfriend Eric having trouble with his sire, and the werewolves of Shreveport asking for favours. Add to that Sookie’s ex, Bill, needing help and the general malarkey that goes on in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and this book is packed with “stuff” happening.

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Charlaine Harris

Gollancz (2009)

ISBN: 978-0-575-08554-1

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack, June 2010

Grave Secrets is a novel by Charlaine Harris, currently best known for the Sookie Stackhouse novels, which have become the TV series True Blood.  This is apparently the fourth in a series starring Harper Connelly.  Although I knew Harris’ name and reputation, this was the first of her novels that I’d read – and I was really impressed by how good it was, and how reluctant I was to put it down.

Harper was struck by lightning when she was 15, and when she recovered she found that she could “read” graves – she could tell what a person had died of, and sometimes something about their last few minutes. It’s an odd talent, but enough to make a living at. People will sometimes pay her to find an unmarked grave, or to reassure them of the cause of someone’s death, or perhaps just for the curiousity factor. Together with her lover and step-brother Tolliver, she travels America reading graves.  In this novel, she is hired to read the grave of Rich Joyce, to confirm what killed him, and accidentally uncovers what might be a murder.  It’s hard for her to focus on this, however, as their lousy family history is coming back to confront Harper and Tolliver.

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