Reviewed by: Amanda Wrangles
Published by Gollanz
Paperback, 327 pages
ISBN – 978 0 575 09658 5
The end is near for Sookie Stackhouse… well, the end of her incredibly successful series of novels by creator Charlaine Harris is near, anyway.
Deadlocked has been announced as the second last novel in The Sookie Stackhouse series, and it’s with a heavy heart I have to admit – it’s time. The novels that inspired the TV series True Blood have just about had their day. That’s not to say Deadlocked wasn’t an enjoyable read, a real page-turner that was done and dusted in a day or two, but it was just kind of meh when held in comparison to early Sookie books.
As a character, I love Sookie. She’s one of my favourite fictional friends. Her voice makes diving into the next novel like a big, warm southern hug, and Deadlocked is no exception there. All our favourite characters get their chance to make an appearance from the (usually) irresistible Eric and Sookie’s ex-lover the vampire Bill, to shapeshifter Sam, Alcide the werewolf and his pack, Tara, Jason and various creatures of the fae, even Quinn the weretiger plays a small part. There’s the standard murder to kick things off, which of course happens right under Sookie’s nose. The plot follows her attempts to solve it while mixed up with relationship woes, vampire and fae politics, the impending birth of Tara’s twins and the mysterious gift left to Sookie by her grandmother – the cluviel dor.
Harris’s/Sookie’s dry sense of humour is always apparent, and fans of The Simpsons will quickly pick that Harris is also a fan with a nod to the animated series via the name of the beer delivery guy.
As a crime novel, Deadlocked doesn’t hit the spot like previous instalments. The murder of part-were Kym Rowe, while a large part of the plot at the beginning, slides to a conclusion that doesn’t make a lot of sense – there just aren’t enough clues dropped in previous novels or early in this one. However, it does tie one sub-plot up in a cute little bow by the end. And that’s much of what Deadlocked seems to be about: tying things up before the final book is out next year. Missing too was the electrifying scenes between Sookie and her vampire boyfriend/husband Eric – there wasn’t much lovin’ to be had by anyone, certainly nothing that holds a candle to that shower scene from Dead to the World (book 4). Instead, Deadlocked seems to be a lot of ‘filler’; Sookie going to work, Sookie admiring her long, brown legs, Sookie doing the dishes, Sookie baking for family and friends and Sookie choosing what to wear.
For all its failings, Deadlocked is still well worth reading. Not every book in a series this big or complex can be a complete winner. Charlaine Harris seems tired, as does Sookie herself when she dreams of a life outside of Bon Temps, away from the constant threat of her own demise. Fans (and friends!) of the telepathic waitress can only hope she gets what she’s looking for in the final book – I just hope there’s a bit more action to close what has been a generally consistent and certainly one of the best paranormal crime series in recent times. If you haven’t yet delved into Bon Temps and Sookie’s world – what are you waiting for? With twelve books ready to go, there’s plenty of entertainment to be had. Just make sure you start at book one, work your way through chronologically, enjoy the ride… and some very, very hot vampires.