Guest Review: "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris

Romy Nelson brings us a review of "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris, the 11th novel in the Sookie Stackhouse saga.

Romy is a registered dietetic technician and personal trainer, and her show, Ingredients for Life, is about helping people find their path to health and fitness.

As the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Reckoning, begins, we see Sookie dealing with more of the same: intense violence and drama. It starts off with Merlotte's bar being fire-bombed during Sookie's shift... of course.

I get a bit exhausted for Sookie. There are always someone or some things "out to get her." Throughout Book 11, there are constant threats from different sources, and Sookie is on high alert most of the novel. Sookie still struggles with being a good person, for her world is continually violent and evil visits her seemingly day in and day out. In Dead Reckoning, you don't see her grow much as a character, as she doesn't have time to do much of anything except try to stay alive.

The first threat is the re-appearance of Sandra Pelt and her attempt -- again -- to re-visit vengeance upon Sookie for the death of her sister. A second threat also evolves from a previous plot line, the vamp politics story from Book 10, Dead in the Family. Victor, a nefarious vampire managing Louisiana for Felipe, is working to destroy Eric's business enterprises. Victor is quite evil and his threat reaches out to affect many others, supes and non-supes alike. It would have been a nice change for Sookie to solve a mystery that didn't involve her directly. Sometimes, it seems the entire supe world revolves around her.

Vampire Pam is much more serious in this book, due to the fact that her new love interest is gravely ill. Pam and Eric are at odds about Pam turning the girlfriend. While Pam and Eric are constantly fighting, they deal with Victor's obvious bid to destroy Eric's life and businesses, including Fangtasia.

The sexual connection with Eric in this book is a bit lacking. There just isn't time, as Sookie is dealing with too many threats and her fairy cousins Claude and Dermont living with her. There isn't much room to breathe, with multiple plot lines and various characters keeping her busy. An exciting plot line involving Sookie and Eric occurs as Sookie is presented with an opportunity to sever the blood bond, courtesy of her witch friend Amelia. Sookie can't help but wonder if she will still love Eric without the blood bond.

Bill does appear and has a role in the novel, but Harris continues to disengage the connection further between Sookie and Bill, as we feel a solid friendship continue to develop, replacing their past relationship as lovers.

Sookie once again has a special "supernatural event" to attend, an opportunity for her to once again to dress to the nines. Here Harris incorporates many new vamp and human characters into one room in which you see unprecedented cooperation for a larger goal to create, as always, a consummate blood bath. Despite this scene, it was a refreshing change to see Sookie not get tortured, bitten, clawed or staked within an inch of her life.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this novel was the deepening of the story line regarding Sookie's fairy lineage and her telepathic abilities. In a sense, there is a reckoning, as Sookie learns more about her grandmother's relationship with her fairy grandfather and a mysterious object of fairy magic. While Dermont and Claude, her fairy cousins are living with her, Dermont becomes quite likeable, but Claude remains aloof and self-centered.

My favorite plot line was the return of attorney and demon Desmond Catalides in an interesting twist involving Gran. Sookie does somehow manage to deepen her friendship with Sam in the midst of all of threats of violence, lessons in fairy family history, and vampire politics.

Overall, a good read, though I do hope Harris gives Sookie a bit of a break to live her life and work on her tan in Book 12. The poor girl needs a respite!

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Ace Hardcover (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0441020313
ISBN-13: 978-0441020317