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Dead and Gone

Dead and Gone

Charlaine Harris

Published 2009           312 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

For Sookie Stackhouse, the day-to-day activities of the vampire and Were communities in and around Bon Temps, Louisiana, are of vital interest. She’s blood bound to the leader of the vamps, is a friend to the local Were pack, works for a man who is a shifter, and has a brother who is a were-panther….

But for most humans in Bon Temps, the vamps are mysterious, seductive creatures – and they don’t even know about the Weres. Until now. The Weres and shifters have finally decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world.

At first it seems to goes well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found near the bar where Sookie works. The victim is someone she knows, so she feels compelled to discover who - human or otherwise, did the deed.

But what she doesn’t realize is that there is a much greater danger than the killer threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings - older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves - is preparing for war. And Sookie finds herself an all-too-human pawn in their battle….

The Review

Dead and Gone is the ninth book in Charlaine Harris’s hugely popular Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire fantasy series. The popularity of this series has increased exponentially over the last year since HBO made a hit of True Blood, the TV series based on Charlaine’s books. If you are new to the world of Sookie Stackhouse don’t start your reading here – these books are best read in order starting with Dead Until Dark.

With any long-running series there is always the danger that the ideas and characters that were so engaging in the beginning will be repeated to the point where they lose their interest. Or worse (as in the case of Anita Blake) the later books in the series will have changed so much that they bear little resemblance to the original books that won over readers in the first place.

Luckily for Sookie Stackhouse fans, Charlaine Harris is still showing no signs of running out of steam. Nine books into the series and her latest story is still as fresh as her earliest offerings. Characters and story arcs keep developing but she never loses touch with the qualities that won over her fans in the first place – namely first-rate plotting, realistic characters and a widely varied fantasy mythology. The rural Deep South setting is the icing on the cake here since it adds a layer of quirky realism that is truly inspired.

As with all of the books in the Sookie Stackhouse series a mystery lies at the heart of the story. In Dead and Gone it’s another dead body in the Merlotte’s parking lot. And, as is the case with previous stories, the murder turns out to be just the start of Sookie’s troubles. Factor in the FBI, some supernatural-hating religious fundamentalists, a fairy war and Eric – and you have the ingredients for another top-notch Sookie adventure.

The fairy war plotline that was seeded in From Dead To Worse comes to a head in Dead and Gone. As a result the body count of Dead and Gone rises giving the author a chance to clear a few more characters from the stage. Sookie’s love life also takes an interesting turn but to say more about whom and how would spoil the story – you’ll just have to read the book and find out…

Charlaine Harris pulls her influences from a number a genres and mixes them up to create a genre and writing style that is uniquely her own. The resulting fast paced novel is written with a light touch that encourages readers to speed through the story in one-sitting (if they so desire.) The last fifty pages of Dead and Gone make truly compulsive reading as the story reaches its climax.

Dead and Gone is great addition to the Sookie Stackhouse series and this instalment of rural (rather than urban) fantasy is recommended reading for vampire, mystery and fantasy fans alike.

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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