by Fiona Crawford - September 11th, 2012
Having had her life dominated by the 10 or more impossible-to-put-down books in the Sookie Stackhouse series, my friend Carly had requested that she not be told when the next book came out. So I of course sent her a message as soon as I heard Charlaine Harris was releasing Deadlocked. Then I pre-ordered a copy for myself.
I’ll not deny I felt a little as Carly did when Deadlocked turned up in my letterbox—stoked that it had finally arrived after an apparent between-books eternity, but trepidatious (that’s a word, right?) about how inconsiderate the book would undoubtedly be of my need to get other work done and to sleep. Particularly of my need to sleep.
The book opens with Sookie and her gal pals attending ladies’ night at Hooligan’s, her fairy cousin’s strip club. It also opens with Harris’ trademark boundary-pushing humour, having Sookie open the book and describe the scene as follows:
It was as hot as the six shades of Hell even this late in the evening, and I’d had a busy day at work. The last thing I wanted to do was to sit in a crowded bar to watch my cousin get naked.
Oh, and her relationship with Eric—yep, Eric—is on the rocks. It’s about this time I wished I’d done a reading refresher because I couldn’t for the life of me remember what had happened in the preceding book. The only Sookie book whose plot stood out to me was the one where Eric had his memory wiped by the witches and he turned up starkers at Sookie’s place. Eric Northman = Alexander Skarsgard = ’nuff said.
Clearly that relationship continued and she’s now his ‘wife’ (that prompted some vague recollections of some trickery to keep her safe). Beyond that, though, I had no idea what had made their relationship, much less made it rocky.
Their romance not helped by the fact that Sookie turns up late to a party to find Eric feeding on another woman and that that woman ends up dead. Even Sookie’s not sure Eric didn’t kill the woman and, well, combined with in-fighting and impending catastrophes in the fae and shifter worlds, Deadlocked is the reassuring mix of Sookie Stackhouse-themed mystery and romance I’ve come to love and adore.
It made me chuckle too, not least when Sookie overhears her fae cousin watching and discussing an American sitcom with a visitor:
‘It’s called Two and a Half Men,’ Dermot was telling his guest.
‘I understand,’ Bellenos said. ‘Because the two brothers are grown, and the son isn’t.’
‘I think so,’ Dermot said. ‘Don’t you think the son is useless?’
‘The half? Yes. At home, we’d eat him,’ Bellenos said.
I vaguely think Deadlocked is the penultimate book in the Sookie Stackhouse series (I’m happy to be proved wrong if not), and I know I’ll hit that final book with mixed emotions—lots of excitement and little bit of relief. I’ll also be sure to tell Carly when it comes out. But first, I’m off to catch up on deadlines and sleep. Mostly sleep.