Desert Isle Keeper Review

Dead and Gone

Charlaine Harris
May 2009, Vampire Romance
Ace, $25.95, 312 pages, Amazon ASIN 0441017150
Part of a series

Grade: A-
Sensuality: Hot

Note: This review contains series spoilers.

This one is tough to write because…well, gee, because I just can’t tell you much of anything about the plot without spoiling the book for Sookie readers – something I really, really don’t want to do.

For those new to the party, my advice is to not even think about starting with Dead and Gone, the ninth in a series of books about the adventures of telepathic Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse. In our heroine’s world, vampires, whose “nutritional requirements” can be met by a synthetic Japanese blood, came “out of the coffin” a few years earlier. Everyone in the world in which Sookie lives is coping with the aftermath.

So, without going into detail about Sookie and the ins and outs of her relationships with both the supernatural world and the human one (Dead until Dark, the first book, has an excellent DIK review on this site), what can I say about this latest entry?

  • Weres and shifters follow the lead of the vampires and come out as the book begins. (This information is featured in the jacket copy so I think I’m okay spilling it here.)
  • There is a brutal murder of a character we’ve known for a few books now. In an unexpected (ha, ha!) twist, Sookie’s n’er do well brother Jason is suspected of the crime. There's also the death of a supernatural character who's been featured for a while now that is really quite a sad one.
  • We learn more than we have ever known before about Sookie’s family, including her great grandfather and his...er, kind.
  • There is a big, monumental, gigantic, and huge payoff that many series readers have been waiting for.

And, honestly, that’s about all I can say. Well, beyond the fact that said payoff is one I really (really, really, really) wanted and it was…let’s call it cathartic. And very satisfying.

As a viewer of HBO’s True Blood series based on the books, my reading experience this time out was quite a bit different since I pictured the actors from the TV show as I was reading the book. I felt right from the start that the casting was perfect, and the fact that they so seamlessly fitted into “my” version of Sookie’s world proves it.

Generally, the story moves at a ripping pace, with the author skillfully building her plot brick by careful brick and everything coming together so well that I stayed up far past my bedtime finishing it. What didn’t I like so much? Not to put too fine a point on it, but Sookie’s lack of commitment to a mate is starting to feel a bit contrived. Hey, plenty of series continue with the heroine and her hero in happy couple-dom and I hope it’s something Charlaine Harris will consider.

But, bottom line? I loved this entry. Even more than I loved Dead to the World, the fourth Sookie book. And that’s all I’m saying.

-- Sandy Coleman

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