Book Review: Charlaine Harris’ Deadlocked

Posted June 13, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

by Kathy Davie

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12)Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
Series: Sookie Stackhouse, 12
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Twelfth in the Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series about our favorite telepath, Sookie Stackhouse.

My Take
Talk about disappointing. It’s a good thing that this didn’t start the series or it would never have become so popular.

This feels more like a bridge novel. One in which Harris is tying up all sorts of loose ends even as she leaves the big one hanging. It’s such a twisty time for Sookie. All the conflicting statements about the party at Eric’s. The warnings. Mustapha disappearing when Eric and the police need to talk to him. With Claude’s absence, the fae at Hooligans are getting restless and not likely to be swayed by Dermot.

There’s something odd, too, about the dead girl’s parents, Oscar and Georgene Rowe showing up at Sookie’s with a ghost writer, Harp Powell. They don’t seem too cut up about their daughter’s death.

Harris certainly makes a good case for Sookie to worry about which way Eric will decide to jump and I think Harris’ reliance upon the cluviel dor and the last scene she set up does not reflect well on him. That whole last bit seemed rather contrived and Eric has no right to be upset. Still, it is a tense situation with practicality on one side and Sookie on the other. We also learn more about the cluviel dor. Then there’s Sookie’s increasing ambivalence that’s just making this whole thing so confusing.

This installment simply doesn’t have the warmth of previous stories. It’s more like Harris is ticking things off on an outline.

The Story
Sookie and her friends are having a girls’ night out at Claude’s strip club where it soon becomes obvious that Kennedy and Danny are having troubles and Tara is about to be troubled.

But these human troubles are nothing compared to what awaits Sookie at home when Grandfather Niall suddenly shows up. Seems the question of just who cursed Dermot has arisen and Niall is determined to get at the truth. More trouble simply keeps on coming when Mustapha tells Sookie about King Felipe’s upcoming visit to Louisiana. Seems Felipe has some questions about Victor Madden’s disappearance. And someone has set Eric up with a booby-trapped blood donor who causes all sorts of problems with the police and between Sookie and Eric.

Then Jannalynn decides to up the hostilities with Sookie. It’s just one thing after another until answers begin to appear.

The Characters
Sookie Stackhouse is a telepathic waitress at Merlotte’s who happens to be married to a vampire Sheriff. Except they are keeping their relationship on the DL while Felipe is still a threat. Her fairy cousin Claude Crane and half-fairy, Great-Uncle Dermot are still living with Sookie. Needing that hit of fairy companionship. Claude owns and runs Hooligans while Dermot manages it. Jason is her brother and looks exactly like Dermot.

Eric Northman is the vampire Sheriff of Area Five in Louisiana. Pam Ravenscroft is his second-in-command as well as his child. Mustapha Khan, a werewolf and a.k.a., KeShawn Johnson, is Eric’s daytime guy. Another one with conflicting loyalties. Warren is his so-vulnerable friend. Bill Compton is another vampire and Sookie’s first real boyfriend. Thad Rexford, a.k.a., T-Rex to wrestling aficionados, Cherie Dodson, and Viveca Bates are humans who came along to the party. Freyda is the vampire Queen of Oklahoma and determined to enforce the betrothal set up by Eric’s sire, Appius Livius Ocella. Bubba, another vampire with a preference for cats, is looking out for Sookie. Colton is one of two surviving humans from that night of death at Fantasia when Victor bought it. Palomino is a vampire who works at the Trifecta where Colton is being held. Seems she much prefers Eric’s rule.

Sookie’s girlfriends include the very pregnant Tara who is married to JB du Rone. The man is hot, but missing a can from his six-pack. It seems he’s also missing Tara finding him hot and has found himself another outlet. Holly is a witch, waitresses at Merlotte’s, and is engaged to Hoyt Fortenberry. Kennedy Keyes is a former felon who was a first runner-up in Miss Louisiana and is hooked up with Danny Prideaux. She tends bar for Sam. Amelia is back with Bob, but still not restored to Sookie’s good graces. Michele is Jason’s girlfriend. Sam Merlotte is a were-shifter and owns Merlotte’s where Sookie works. (Sookie has loaned money to Sam to help keep Merlotte’s afloat while Victor’s various economic schemes do their dirty work to destroy Sam’s place as well as Fangtasia.) Antoine and D’Eriq are still there and India, Kenya’s half-sister, is a new hire.

Kenya and Kevin are cops who eat at Sam’s frequently. Desmond Cataliades is a demon lawyer and Sookie’s godfather. Diantha is his demon niece with a gift for reallyswifttalking; turns out Barry is his great-great-grandson. King Felipe de Castro of Nevada, Arkansas, and Louisiana brutally took over Louisiana and has been looking for reasons to hurt his new subjects. Horst Friedman is his second-in-command. Victor Madden had been appointed regent for de Castro’s new territory. Detective Cara Ambroselli is in charge of investigating the murder of Kym Rowe on Eric’s front lawn. Brenda Hesterman and Donald Callaway run an antiques store where Sookie has a number of pieces of furniture for sale after Claude and Dermot helped her clean out the attic.

Sookie’s great-grandfather, Niall, is a Fairy Prince who shut all the portals to earth. Any fairies who got left behind are now in exile with many of the left-behind fae working at Hooligans and include Bellenos, an elf warrior who needs that glamour to appear in the human world; Gift is a waitress there; Dirk and Harley are strippers; and, Siobhan takes tickets. And they all refer to Sookie as “Sister”.

Alcide Herveaux is the alpha of the Long Tooth pack in Shreveport. Jannalynn Hopper is his enforcer and Sam Merlotte’s lover. And, oh boy, does this girl wolf have the issues! Kandace Moffett is Alcide’s undercover wolf operative.

The Cover
The cover is primarily purple night with bats flying and a bright green cone of light flashing up from the cluviel dor Sookie inherited from her grandmother even as Sookie is ascending within that cone of light bearing a letter for the Other Side. It’s curious that wolves are hovering around her, looking up at her.

The title is where Eric and Sookie are—Deadlocked. Expectations they each nourished.