Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Published: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Ace
(Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

On Goodreads…

With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

***

HOW IT RATES…

THE LONG…

Deadlocked is the twelfth book in author Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampires or Sooke Stackhouse series. Once again trouble lands right at Sookie’s door in the form of a dead girl. Well, not technically her door, but her boyfriend, Eric Northman’s.

While Eric was the last person to be seen with her, there are any number of suspects. From Felipe de Castro or his entourage who are visiting, to Mustapha Khan, who just so happens to be conspicuously absent when the police show up, to any of Eric’s or Sookie’s enemies. And there are always plenty of those.

Trying to find out who the killer is means figuring out the motive behind framing Eric. Is it to drive Eric and Sookie apart? To get Eric out of the picture to get to Sookie? To cast doubt on Eric’s ability as Sheriff? Or is it part of a much more elaborate and sinister plot?

Deadlocked is a quick read, although the pace doesn’t really pick up until the very end. And while this twelfth book in the series moves the story along, ties up a number of loose ends and answers several questions that have been begging for them, it doesn’t bring the same level of excitement to the story as some of the earlier books in the series. And it seems to wrap up some of the storylines too neatly and conveniently.

This installment in the series did scale back the violence, although there was some. It eliminated all but the briefest sexual encounter. And it once again had very few scenes with of one of the more exciting characters in the series, Eric Northman.

More than anything this book felt as if it was winding the series down, moving it toward its conclusion. Even some of Sookie’s musings envisioned endings to many of the characters’ stories in a perfect world. And it took the story in a direction that may please some fans of the series and upset others, depending on just how they want Sookie’s story to end.

Appearances, albeit brief, are made by some longtime favorite characters in the series. New obstacles to Sookie and Eric’s happiness are introduced. And happy endings are given to some of the many characters in the world and unhappy ones to others.

With a few surprises, a few “Oh Sookie” moments, and an ending that will leave readers on edge as they wait to find out where this series will conclude, Deadlocked is a necessary, if not electrifying, installment in this series.

So, what more can I possibly say about Deadlocked?

I’m caught somewhere between it being just “okay” for me and a “liked.” I liked getting answers, even if they’re not the ones I want. I liked that the plot was moved along. And I liked when the pace picked up at the end.

I just didn’t feel connected to the story. And I didn’t have fun reading it. The mystery didn’t have that quality that kept me riveted as some of the earlier ones did. I found myself more annoyed with Sookie than anything. I felt things were too conveniently wrapped up and I just didn’t care about how things ended for some of the characters.

But more than anything I just missed Eric and Pam. My two favorite characters in the series. For the third book in a row I didn’t feel Eric’s presence. Whether that was the author’s intent or not, I can’t say. But it just feels as if he’s being pulled away from the story. He’s no longer the Eric that is always there for Sookie. Stopping by for a quickie doesn’t count.

And his involvement in this story was negligible, even though it was about a girl found dead at his doorstep.

While I understand trying to wrap up a story and close all loopholes, I felt as if some characters were brought back into the story for no logical reason other than to say goodbye. Some of whom I already thought I’d said goodbye to for good.

I enjoyed Deadlocked more than Dead in the Family, but a bit less than the previous book in the series, Dead Letters. And while I will definitely take this series to its conclusion, no matter how heartbroken I know I’ll be about the direction this story seems to be headed, I will probably stick with re-reading just the first nine books in the series as I’ve done four times already.

…AND SHORT OF IT

Not enough Eric. While the author may have other plans for good ol’ Sookie, it is hard to see such an important character in the series play such a minor role in this book. Especially since the frame job surrounds him.

Not enough excitement. While I admit that the violence was escalating in a rather shocking way in poor Sookie’s life prior to this book, there didn’t seem to be that much going on here. Even with a murder, an underhanded plot and a huge cast of characters.

Not enough heat. While the scenes don’t have to be the steamy kind of hot, there should have been some heat. From somewhere. But there was just no fire or passion in any of the exchanges between any of the characters. The one brief booty call was rushed and not at all sexy. And without any intensity in the glances or fiery arguments, there just wasn’t any real spark.

A nerve-wracking conclusion. Well, the ending certainly delivers. It created that twisty knotty feeling that was missing throughout this read. The way things left off will make many readers very nervous about what to anticipate in the last book. The last ten percent of the story was exciting. And the ending will definitely keep readers guessing about what’s to come.

MY FAVORITE BITES…

[stextbox id="alert"]

I’d loved two vampires. Bill had broken my heart. Maybe Eric was on the way to doing the same thing.

[/stextbox] [stextbox id="alert"]

I began to think I was spoiled. There was no such thing as boring sex with Eric.

I wondered if he’d dance for me, if I asked him nicely. I was having a very pleasant fantasy about that when Claude reemerged on the stage, still in his spangled tights and boots.

[/stextbox]