Publication Date: May 1, 2012
In Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse, a human who can read human minds, finds her vampire boyfriend, Eric, drinking from a younger, prettier and thinner woman. Said younger, prettier and thinner woman is shortly thereafter found dead on Eric’s front lawn. Sookie must team up with Bill, the area five investigator (and her vampire ex-boyfriend), to solve the murder. Sookie soon finds out that she has a very devious enemy, and while she didn’t think the death of the young girl had to do with her, it’s really all about her. Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood) is the twelfth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.
After reading the tenth Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead in the Family: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood), I wondered if Charlaine Harris was writing the novels to realign with the highly successful HBO series featuring the same characters. Perhaps Harris wasn’t looking to coincide completely with the storyline (after all, Lafayette — his death was the whole point of the third novel —lives in the television series and she has yet to bring him back as a vampire) but to perhaps bending more to what those fans want. I am now completely convinced that’s not the case. Deadlocked for the most part, while better composed than the previous two novels, read like Sookie’s grocery list.
We’re already 22% into the Kindle version of the novel before Sookie even heads to the party that leads to the event driving the core plotline. I do have to give Harris credit for Sookie’s evolution in the series. She’s been able to keep her level but to show growth from experience which not all writers seem to be able to carry off. When we meet Sookie in the first novel, she’s a loner who feels that she can’t have human companionship because of her inability to stay out of their heads, and then she meets Vampire Bill. By book 12, she’s so comfortable with her role in the Vampire Community that she tells the officer when asked if she was offended by comments the dead girl made before her passing, that she didn’t mind because it was like “being insulted by a pork chop your boyfriend is eating.” In another scene after calling an ambulance to take Tara to the hospital, Sookie suggests to her human co-workers that they join hands and say a prayer for Tara and for the safe delivery of her twins. The Sookie of the first book had only one friend and that was Sam, everyone else saw her as odd and she hated that she knew that they found her odd. Her relationship with her brother has also improved to a point where she’s able to call him and share her joy. We know that Jason, an immature jerk when the novels began, is at a good place in his life. Many of the other characters have stagnated (Sam is one big example), but the core characters have grown in a way that makes a reader loath to part with them — no matter how tempting that prospect might be.
If you’re an Eric shipper and looking for big progress in this book, you will probably be disappointed. Despite the core storyline being a death at Eric’s house, there’s not a lot of Eric in this book, and when he is in the novel, Sookie is telling him to go away. Sookie tells us that she and Eric are having problems emotionally. Eric’s prospective vampire fiancé arrives in this novel to size up Sookie and makes some very valid points about love and how useless it is in the vampire world. Let’s face it, Sookie is going to die and never come back, and Eric is already dead. How much longer would it last anyway?
Harris recently announced that there would be one more book in this series after Deadlocked and even if she hadn’t, I think the reader would have known that this series was nearly over. This novel has the feeling of a series winding down. A lot of the sub-characters were resolved in this novel. While I’d be sad to see Sookie go, given the tone, flow and plotlines of the last few novels, this is the time to end the series before it completely goes downhill.
I only recommend this book if you are already a Sookie fan and have read the previous eleven novels in the series. If you have, Deadlocked is essential reading to end the series. It’s not the most interesting novel, but an old sweater that fits just right.
Read the excerpt and buy Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris on