Book Review: Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Small-town cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has had more than her share of experience with the supernatural—but now it’s really hitting close to home. When Sookie sees her brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a were-panther for the first time—a transformation he embraces more readily than most shapeshifters she knows. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population, and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks—unless the killer decides to find her first…

The fifth installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead as a Doornail, was one I didn’t care as much for the first time through. On re-reading it, I found I liked it quite a bit better. Someone is taking shots at the local shifters, and Sookie’s brother Jason–newly made a werepanther–is under suspicion. The werepanther leader Calvin and the werewolf Alcide have not yet abandoned their interest in her, while her ex-lover Bill seems bent on making her jealous. Meanwhile, someone actively has it in for Sookie, going so far as to burn down her house. This is the book that initially made me crinkle my nose, as it introduces the weretiger Quinn, and that sort of went over a line for me of “one too many supernatural males interested in Sookie”. But that one objection doesn’t detract from a basically solid and engaging story. It’s not too difficult to ID the perpetrators, but I didn’t mind that much.
Most entertainingly, the vampire Eric spends a good chunk of the book driven to distraction trying to remember the events of Book 4–and when Sookie finally gives in and tells him what he’s unable to remember, that only increases his frustration. This for me is the high point of the plot, since it lays down intriguing hints of what’s to come in the next books. Eric is by far the most amusing character over all to me in the whole series and not just because of the hunk who plays him on the made for television version. His humor is dry and witty and just what you would expect for a being who is over 1, 000 years old and somewhat bored. If you like Eric or are just a fan of the series in general give this book a shot, it is not the best of the series but it lays essential ground work for what is coming next.

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