Review of DEAD RECKONING by Charlaine Harris
A SOOKIE STACKHOUSE NOVEL
Ace, May 2011
Even before the bar where Sookie Stackhouse is firebombed, business had been bad. It's also bad at the vampire bar run by Sookie's boyfriend (husband by vampire code) Eric Northman. Eric's nominal boss has set up competing bars and seems intent on forcing Eric to respond--which would give him an excuse to kill Eric and eliminate any challenge Eric might impose. Meanwhile, Eric's second in command desperately wants to turn her lover into a vampire as she'd dying of an otherwise incurable disease--but Eric's boss won't let her do that, either. The firebomb, though, seems to be another problem--another of Sookie's enemies is hunting her down.
Sookie still hasn't forgiven Eric for tricking her into marriage, or for creating a psychic bond between them that eliminates any sense of privacy. When given a chance to break the bond, she grabs it--without really considering how it will impact Eric... or herself. Meanwhile, she's got her fairy roommates to deal with, plus an upcoming baby shower that should be holding all of her attention and would... if it weren't for all the killing.
There's a lot going on and it's definitely to author Charlaine Harris's credit (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of fantasy by Harris)that she's able to take all of these strands and still give us an interesting story. Harris gives us a few 'normal' moments in Sookie's life as she tries to help her young nephew learn to handle his psychic gift (or curse), run a wedding shower, and help her friend Sam who's on the verge of losing his bar, then throws us into violent action as Sookie is forced to confront a world where way too many people think that killing her would be a great idea.
I like Sookie and like Harris's writing. DEAD RECKONING kept me involved in the story throughout and made me care about Sookie's relationships and survival. The story builds up to a crisis between Eric and his boss--with a solution that I thought needed a bit more subtlety or cleverness. Meanwhile, the romance remains unresolved as Eric confronts new problems stemming from his now-dead maker.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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