Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked
Charlaine Harris
Ace (May 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1937007448

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Growing up with telepathic abilities, Sookie Stackhouse realized early on there were things she’d rather not know. And now that she’s an adult, she also realizes that some things she knows about, she’d rather not see—like Eric Northman feeding off another woman. A younger one.

There’s a thing or two she’d like to say about that, but she has to keep quiet—Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), is in town. It’s the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric’s front yard—especially the body of the woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s set out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

Next year marks the end of Sookie Stackhouse’s story. The thirteenth novel in the Southern Vampire series, Dead Ever After, coming May 2013 , is the conclusion of the beloved series that has spawned a popular HBO serial, True Blood, and garnered a near cult following. With this final novel looming, one would expect the twelfth novel to be a precursor to the anticipated ending. In many ways, Deadlocked was that. Harris tied up a few loose ends that were left danging in the eleventh book, Dead Reckoning, but she did leave her readers thirsty, (forgive the pun), for more.

Sookie is once again caught up in the midst of a serious situation. This time, it’s the dead girl on her vampire boyfriend, Eric’s, front lawn. A dead girl he was  was seen drinking from  during a party thrown for King Felipe. As with all of the books in the series, there is drama, murder, innuendo and Sookie using her telepathic skills to get the upper hand and, at least help, in saving the day.

As a fan of the series and the television show, I’ll admit to some small disappointment in Deadlocked. While reading the book I did feel like Sookie had been amid similar drama previously, that the conflict in the book felt familiar. However, what really struck me in this novel was the changes in some characters, (we see both Jason, Sookie’s brother and Alcide, the Werepack leader who has always had a soft spot for her, changing, their happy endings or, at least, satisfactory endings reaching the end point), and the idea that Sookie is alone in her struggles.

For someone who is all too aware of the problems of those surrounding her, Sookie is, by her own choice and inability to burden others with her problems, left to sort out her worries on her own. She is a character that is willing to help out, willing to assist in any way she can and that leads to her being taken advantage of. It’s a problem that many who are ‘eager to please’ have. But as Sookie (and Harris’ readers) surf close to the end of the series, she is becoming more independent, more reliant on her own skills and on a future that is likely not to involve the vampires that led her into the dangers that consume her life.

Deadlocked is a book that Harris fans will appreciate. It is a familiar return to the characters her readers have come to know very well. It is also a book that sets the stage for the final installment of Sookie’s life, one that will see her either firmly ensconced in the familiar or completely absent from the troubles (and people, dead and alive) who have effectively altered her life.

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