I’d never want to stand in a bathing suit next to Heidi Klum. Or sing after Aretha Franklin. Who would? We’d all suck by comparison. Much like any book with the misfortune of coming after the best installment of a series. The first time I read Dead as a Doornail, I thought it was lame. It’s about Jason and Sam and problems with the shifters. I want Eric and vampires and sex. But with a little time and distance… and a patience born out of knowing what will happen next… I can look at the book a bit differently. It’s still not my favorite in the series. But the things that bother me about it now are totally different.
This book picks up just a couple of weeks after the last one ended. Sookie is waiting to see if her brother Jason will shift into a were-panther in the wake of his attack. And beyond that, she’s worried about how he’ll deal with it emotionally. That situation resolves itself quickly, but an even greater problem presents itself. Someone is shooting shifters. First some random girl, then Calvin (the leader of the panthers in Hot Shot,) and now, Sam. The panthers suspect Jason is to blame, so Sookie makes it her personal mission to find out who the shooter is, to help protect her brother.
In the meantime, the leader of Alcide’s wolfpack is killed (in an unrelated accident.) Alcide invites Sookie to the funeral and she quickly realizes he is seeking her help in his father’s bid to take over the pack. We see a new side of Alcide in this book. One that disappointed me greatly. This was a guy who it seemed could really fit with Sookie. He is handsome and sexy. He is decent and loyal. But he also blames Sookie for things that are not her fault. He manipulates. He judges. And he hurts her in the process. I think watching him fall from the pedestal I placed him on bothered me more than the whole Lorena affair ever dead.
And this brings me to my real problem with the book. Sookie gets kicked down too many times. She is a target, over and over. Her home is destroyed. She is sought for answers in Debbie’s disappearance. She is used and disappointed by Alcide. She has to watch Bill move on. She has to live with the memories of what happened with Eric, while he remembers nothing. She has to shoulder responsibilities for Jason, the shifters, Alcide, her job, her friends… all while living with constant rejection and pain of both the physical and emotional varieties.
It’s not all bad. We’ve got a great moment where Sookie finally tells Eric what happened between them. And we meet Quinn. (I’m aware not everyone is a fan, but I really ended up liking him down the road.)
I’m just ready for Sookie to get a little light back in her life. Almost 4 stars.