Dead as a Doornail (Charlaine Harris)

Dead as a Doornail is the fifth book* of the Sookie Stackhouse Novels (Southern Vampire Mysteries) by Charlaine Harris. [Here’s my review of the other books.]

Plot:
Somebody is shooting shapeshifters in the area: A young woman dies, Calvin Norris ends up in the hospital and Sam is shot in the leg. To keep Merlotte’s going, Sam asks Sookie to ask Eric to lend him bartender. Eric complies and sends Charles Twining, his new bartender to Bon Temps. Which is a good thing, since Charles, together with Claudine, saves Sookie’s life right away when her house is burnt down by a member of the Fellowship of the Sun. And then the leader of Alcide’s werewolf pack is killed and Sookie gets pulled into the search for a successor.

The book feels like preparation, building up of backstory for books to come and I can only hope that it really turns out to be that way because I could do with a strong plot for once.

*Pro-Tip: If you read the short story Fairy Dust before delving into this book, Claude’s introduction won’t be that much of a surprise.

[SPOILERS]

Alcide completes his voyage to Assassinated Character. (I hear it’s beautiful there in the spring.) If he doesn’t like Sookie anymore after she’s killed Debbie, which I’d understand of course, why doesn’t he just leave her alone? Instead he behaves like a dick when he searches her out.
But my heart did break for him a little bit when his father died. That was really a very sad moment.

Another development I didn’t appreciate: There was hardly any Eric in this book, and instead Quinn is introduced who has about as much sex appeal as Bill, which is to say none at all. And speaking of Bill: why is he still in these books? And Tara is about as annoying here as in True Blood.

Also, I still can’t help but wonder why Sookie never asks Claudine, “Does everybody have a fairy godmother? No? What makes me so special?” Come on, Sooks, ask the obvious questions!

I would like to see more shifter action. Sam is great and Calvin Norris is a wonderful character and both just get about  5 minutes mention. It’s just a waste. Especially since the plot with the shifter shootings was again so weak. I mean, the new cook was about as inconspicuous as the various new Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers.

Summarising: Definitely a step back after Dead to the World.

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