Dead As A Doornail
Published 2005 295 pages
Sookie Stackhouse is back for more adventures in the fifth book in the Southern Vampire series. It’s the first full moon since her brother Jason was bitten by a were panther and she knows that he’s going to turn into a panther before he does. Since he was bitten, not born as a were panther, he doesn’t change into a true panther but into a kind of wild panther-man. Strangely enough Jason actually likes shifting and takes his transformation quite well.
Sookie’s relief that her brother is going to be okay with turning into a panther once a month for the rest of his life doesn’t last long. Someone in her small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana is shooting the local shifter population at random. If that wasn’t worrying enough, when Calvin Norris (head of the local were panther community) is shot and seriously wounded the rest of the were panthers suspect Jason might be the sniper. Known for dispensing their own kind of justice the real shooter needs to be found before the were panthers turn on Jason.
To further complicate matters the pack master of local werewolves dies suddenly and the pack need to decide on who the new leader will be. Alcide’s father wants to lead the pack and Alcide soon drags Sookie into the power struggle, hoping that her telepathic abilities will give his dad an advantage. However because this is the werewolf leadership competition you just know that the winner is not going to be decided by a democratic election….
Sookie certainly is in for a dangerously exciting time… if you think that having her house burnt down with her still in it and getting shot by the mystery sniper qualifies as exciting, rather than an indication of how dangerous her life has become since she started associating with vampires!
What can I say? This is yet another gripping instalment of the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic cocktail waitress from small town Louisiana. All the regular characters that we have come to know and love from the previous Sookie Stackhouse books are in Dead As A Doornail, as well as some interesting new characters, such as Charles the vampire barman who originally was a pirate in life and Quinn the mysterious shifter that the werewolves have brought in to referee their leadership contest.
Sookie seems to have an abundance of men (well vampires and shapeshifters) interested in her in this story. The shifters romantic interest was provided by Sam, Alcide and Calvin. I know that in a previous review I said that I thought Alcide was weak willed (this seems to be backed up in this story) and I also didn’t like his character because I was a cat person rather than a dog (sorry wolf!) lover. Well the character of Calvin, leader of the were panthers, leaves me cold too! I know that panthers are cats but the were panthers and Calvin all seem too inbred for my taste. This seems to make the vampires – romantic interest provided by Eric and Bill – even more attractive.
The story has three separate plot lines which work well together and all get tied up nicely at the end. There is the usual mixture of mystery and the supernatural that Charlaine Harris makes work so well. She has her own unique way of blending extraordinary supernatural rituals with the ordinary mundane routines of every day small town life and making it work cohesively.
My only gripe about this story was the author recycling of two characters from her previous books. The private detectives (Lily and Jack) that question Sookie about the disappearance of Alcide’s ex-girlfriend are the central characters from Charlaine Harris’s Shakespeare novels. There were no vampires in the Shakespeare books because these books are a crime/mystery series and are not in the fantasy genre. Lily and Jack seem lost and out of place in Sookie’s world.
Summing up – Dead As A Doornail is just as good as the previous Sookie Stackhouse books, which if you like books in this genre is about as good as a book can get.
LoveVampires Review Rating:
You can read the first chapter of Charlaine Harris’s new Sookie Stackhouse book at her website. Visit Charlaine’s site.