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Charlaine Harris

Published 2012         327 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

Sookie has a murder investigation on her hands. 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, not having caught him enjoying the victim's blood minutes before she was killed.

But something strange is going on. Why had Sookie been 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 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. And there is one last complication. The cluviel dor her grandmother left her. It will grant her one wish, which could fulfil Sookie's heart's desire. The only problem is, she still doesn't know what – or who – her heart truly desires…

The Review

Deadlocked is the twelfth full length Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood urban fantasy novel by bestselling author Charlaine Harris. Twelve books into a fantasy fiction series and there is always a danger that the vital spark which made the first books so special will be lost amongst the need to fulfil a never-ending book contract. I’m happy to say that Charlaine Harris, proving once again why she deserves her bestselling awards and accolades, can still turn out a top-notch fantasy mystery and keep all her characters fresh – even as readers revisit them for twelfth time.

At the heart of Deadlocked is a solid murder mystery – who killed the girl Eric was last seen drinking from, and why dump her body on his front lawn? There are endless potential suspects and motivations – after all Eric’s life is endlessly complicated by the vampire power games he likes to play. He has no shortage of enemies who would like to do him a bad turn and the timing – a dead body found on his lawn during the party he is hosting for the vampire King of Nevada – isn’t ideal…

Witnesses go missing and evidence turns up that suggests to the Sookie and vampires that this was a set up. Sookie does a little bit of investigating of her own but every clue she discovers just leads to more questions. Unravelling this mystery, wrapped in an enigma, takes up the majority of the novel and leaves readers guessing until ultimately reaching a satisfying conclusion when all is finally revealed.

The magic of Charlaine Harris’ books is the marriage of awe inspiring magic and amazing fantasy with the mundane domestic details of everyday life in a small Southern town. In Deadlocked the murder mystery, the fantasy action and Sookie’s Fae relatives perhaps take up a larger than usual part of the story line – leaving little space for Sookie’s ongoing domestic drama with Eric. Their relationship is subdued and bad tempered for the most part but with a new character introduced (Freyda, Queen of Oklahoma) that side of the storyline would appear to be gearing up for a big showdown in a later series instalment.

There is little romantic development for Sookie in Deadlocked (something that is sure to disappoint some fans who might have been expecting more Eric and Sookie revelations after the build up to Eric’s forced betrothal to Freyda in the previous book, Dead Reckoning) but with the complex mystery to be solved and no shortage of fantasy interest provided by the Fae staff and strippers at Hooligan’s who has time for romance? Deadlocked makes a gripping and engrossing read – a one- or two-sitting reading is a distinct possibility here – so take my advice and remember to finish your chores and switch off the phone before turning the opening pages…

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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