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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (245 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his "child" Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows...

Oh, Sookie, say it isn’t so! That pretty much sums up my feelings after reading this very involved and thrilling story in the latest installment of the adventures of Ms. Sookie Stackhouse, mind reading waitress.

Dead Reckoning continues the tradition that Ms. Harris has established. She’s not afraid to challenge herself or readers with the direction her books take. I sometimes get the feeling that the world of Bon Temps in the author’s head must be a very busy and argumentative place and the wind must change direction a lot. Every time I think I know what to expect or want to see, Ms. Harris whips that proverbial rug right out from under me and introduces new and mind stimulating options and possibilities. It’s so much fun!

This is one busy book. There’s mayhem at Merlots, a threat from Sookie’s past comes back for round two and things are stressful at Fangtasia. The coolest element of the story is the heroine finding out a bit more about her fae parentage and the few huge surprises waiting for her. Throw in her cousin, Claude and her great-uncle Dermot and a reader discovers a new wrinkle that was entertaining and fascinating.

Sookie grows and matures a bit more during the course of this story. She has to face some unhappy truths and when she comes out on the other side, she’s all the stronger for it. I adore it when she and Eric get physical. Even though Ms. Harris doesn’t go into great detail, a reader certainly knows there is hot passion with energetic action backing it up. Just when I think things are going well, someone else sneaks into her sheets. That sure stirred up the story at a furious pace. It seems the heroine just can’t get a break. And for Vampire Bill fans, he makes an appearance that makes me wonder all over again; does one really get over their first love? This book has me thinking all sorts of things.

I was so happy to see some of the older characters show up. Well, I was until Ms. Harris had them do something impulsive and over the top. Sookie had to stand up for herself at that point and it was a bittersweet moment. Life isn’t tidy nor is it easy and the heroine lives that truth in this book.

Another messy part is a left over pain in the neck from the previous book, Victor, Eric’s new boss. He is just as mean and ornery as I remember and he ups the ante in this story. He pushed so hard I couldn’t wait for someone to push back. It started off so cute and crafty but turned into an action packed page flipping mouth dropping chapter that I can’t wait to see in the HBO series. It’s going to rock. As it was, it’s an awesome bit of reading.

Sam is back too. His new girlfriend ends up being a love her/hate her kind of character and certainly she’s no doormat. She might eventually be a temporary secondary character but she sure has presence. I enjoyed the scenes she was in.

After the main conflict resolution Sookie gets a visit from another old character that turns out to be more involved with her and her family than she ever dreamed. Even one so powerful has enemies and I was left with more questions on top of answers and a burning curiosity to find out more. Ms. Harris is really good at doing that – introducing something so wild and unusual, you burn to know the truth. Thing is, the truth might be a bit scary and won’t that make for more fun reading?

Dead Reckoning is a fast and furious read with intricate interwoven plot threads that will astound, enthrall and entertain fans and readers. Some plot conflicts get resolved with a few new ones being introduced. This book will shake up some readers and will be the talk about town for a bit and with good reason. There are so many elements to chew on, ideas to bounce around and revelations to comb through -- it’s a joy to experience. It’s a happily for now ending for a story line I’m glad doesn’t really end. The new trinket Sookie has is going to cause trouble; I just know it and I can’t wait. Even when I think Ms. Harris can’t raise the bar any higher, she does and her writing gets better and better. Dead Reckoning gives readers what they look for in this series, but not necessarily what they want and I get the biggest kick out of that. Ms. Harris, thank you for another well told tale.