Our favourite cocktail waitress, Sookie Stackhouse, is once more embroiled in another adventure… A young girl has died at a vampire party – and it looks as though her lover, Eric, might be responsible. Eric swears he didn’t do it, the police don’t believe him, and even Sookie isn’t so sure. Nor is she inclined to take his word for it, having caught him enjoying the victim’s blood minutes before she was killed.
But something strange is going on. Why was Sookie asked to come to the fateful party a few minutes early – just to catch Eric in the act? And why had the victim spiked her own blood before approaching Eric? Was it simply because she wanted to be irresistible, or was it something more sinister? Sookie will have to find out… but it’s the worst moment to investigate, as her Fae family are having troubles of their own and Sookie is, inevitably, drawn in.
This is the penultimate book in the series, and I think even if you didn’t actually know it, there is a sense of Harris drawing together various storylines and starting to provide us with the concluding storylines for some of the main players in this popular, likeable series. There is a marked darkening in the overall tone of this book. Sookie is increasingly unhappy with her single status as her biological clock is chiming… There is also a significant lack of steamy sex in this book. Having turned 28 and experienced enough tumult in the last few years of her life to fell an ox (the two-natured kind, of course) Sookie is bound to be tired of constantly being in danger – and fed up with the lop-sided power ratio in her relationship with Eric. Even the most infatuated girlfriends start counting the cost when they have to continually drop everything to spend quality time with that special someone – and Eric is never going to do contented domesticity. While Sookie is, at heart, an intensely domesticated woman…
Hooray for Harris having the guts to shine a bit of honest relationship reality in amongst the supernatural murder and mayhem! So, does Deadlocked unduly suffer with Sookie so depressed? Well, the pace is certainly slower than the usual headlong rush – but that didn’t find me wanting to skim or skip. I was enjoying catching up with the other characters, while appreciating Sookie’s issues. It’s refreshing to find a feisty female protagonist struggling to cope.
Harris is clearly cranking up the overarching story climax ready for the final denouement in the final book of the series, Dead Ever After, due to be released next year. In the meantime, does the murder investigation in Deadlocked reach a credible conclusion? Yes, I think it does. Like many others, I’d already guessed who had killed the girl well before the end – but that isn’t the heart of this plot. The other issue surrounding Sookie’s unique qualities were being addressed in this book – I’m going to some lengths to avoid Spoiler territory, here – which was one plot-point waving in the wind that was starting to annoy me, anyhow. So I was quite happy to see Harris tie it into previous storylines and other characters, while providing yet more information on Sookie’s background. I happen to think that she is one of the most competently written main characters in urban fantasy and all that Deadlocked has done is confirm that opinion.
I know that I’ll miss my annual visit to Bon Temps, but the way that Harris is winding up the series makes some kind of crisis leading to a step-change in Sookie’s fortunes an inevitability. All I’m hoping is that poor Sookie ends up with someone who will ultimately make her happy – and I, for one, am not convinced that someone should be Eric…