Sookie At The Crossroads: An Advance Review of Dead Reckoning (Plus Enter to Win!)

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Go on the Sookie Stackhouse Narrow Avoidance of Death Diet! Run for your life, and miss meals, too! Exercise plus starvation. – Dead Reckoning

Snarky Sookie is back! In the eleventh book of the Southern Vampire Mysteries series, Dead Reckoning, heroine Sookie Stackhouse seems to have come through events both horrible and bewildering to a place where she’s still the kind, Southern lady we first met but with an edge and an inner strength that are new. Her quirky sense of humor reflects that with snarkiness that would make Pam proud. Unlike True Blood, the books upon which the TV series is based are told in the first person, from Sookie’s point of view, so the reader is constantly in her head. That’s been painful in the past as Sookie endured heartbreak and torture, but this time it brought this reader to laughter more than once. Her internal monologue as she navigates a new set of crises shows a Sookie who is coming into her own.

Dead Reckoning is very much about Sookie figuring out who she is and what she wants from her life and her relationships. After all she’s been through since meeting her first vampire, and even before, growing up as “Crazy Sookie” who could read minds, she’s realizing that she wants to be proactive, not reactive. Look out world! We’ve seen her struggle with her desire to kill Victor, now the Regent over Louisiana at King Felipe’s bequest. Now, the more she interacts with him, the less of a struggle it becomes, leading to a war council of sorts with Sookie, Eric, Pam, and a pair of new characters plotting against Victor.

Listen to our interview with Charlaine Harris on True Blood Radio.

War isn’t the only thing on Sookie’s mind, though. At one point she wakes up and realizes that she needs to “prioritize my crises” in order to make it through the day. We’ve all had days like that, but Sookie probably wins the prize for Most Supernatural Crises In One Week. Because you want to discover the specifics yourself, here’s a brief rundown of what, and who, Sookie is dealing with this week:

  • Eric – Vampire husband, lover, and enigma. He and Pam are fighting about something, and Sookie’s pretty sure it involves her. It does. In a big way. And an impulsive decision she makes to test her feelings for Eric complicates matters even further. But there is a scene to rival the shower scene in book 4. I’m still blushing!
  • Sam – Unlike the vampires’ Great Revelation, the “twoeys” (shapeshifters and weres) announcement did not go over well. Between the backlash and Victor opening two new bars nearby, Merlotte’s is suffering and Sam is stressing. Fortunately girlfriend (and Alcide’s second in command) Jannalynn is a bright spot in his life as is his friendship with Sookie.
  • Alcide – Speaking of the big were, he puts in a most unexpected, hilarious appearance here that has both him and Sookie laughing at the ridiculousness of it. The broader implications, however, worry Sookie.
  • Bill – Now fully recovered from silver poisoning, Sookie’s first love is drawn back into her life in an only-in-fiction chain of events that leads to a rather compromising position for the two of them. Sookie doesn’t spend much time analyzing her feelings about him, mostly because she has too many other things to think about, but she isn’t pushing him away, either.
  • Claude & Dermot – Her relatives/roommates continue to be a source of both exasperation and unexpected comfort. In exploring the latter, Sookie makes some startling discoveries and finally gets some answers about her Faery ancestry and Gran’s relationship with Fintan.
  • Amelia – Sookie’s witchy friend comes to her aid, along with Bob who is no longer a cat. While Sookie values her friend’s willingness to drop everything in order to insure Sookie’s safety, Amelia’s meddling in Sookie’s personal life puts their friendship at risk.
  • Sandra Pelt – Sookie killed Debbie Pelt in self-defense back in book 4, but her troubles with the Pelts continue when Debbie’s sister, Sandra, reappears with a vengeance.

In addition to these familiar faces, we (and Sookie) briefly encounter Jason and Tara. Jason is still seeing Michele and staying out of trouble, much to Sookie’s relief, while Tara is about to give birth to twins and, on top of everything else, Sookie is in charge of the baby shower! Bubba also returns and is involved in a significant storyline, and characters from another Charlaine Harris series have a cameo. Some new characters are introduced, including our first elf. Sookie isn’t sure what to think about him, but I suspect she has the wrong impression of his thoughts about her.

Chock full of action, some knock-you-down surprises, some sexiness, and a surprising amount of humor, Dead Reckoning is clearly leading us to the end of Sookie’s story in book 13. Fans and “teams” will have much to debate until the next book comes out, thanks to a somewhat ambiguous ending and a lot of foreshadowing.

Dead Reckoning arrives in stores on May 3, 2011. Pre-order your copy from Amazon now to get it fast!

Enter to Win

Excited yet? We’re giving away a copy of Dead Reckoning to one (1) lucky winner! Here’s how to enter:

  • Fill out the form below and click Submit;
  • Be sure to use a valid email address;
  • Entries must be received by 11:59PM Pacific on Thursday, May 5, 2011 to be eligible;
  • One (1) winner will be drawn randomly from eligible entries and notified via email.

**This giveaway is over. Congratulations to our winner, Paivi N.!***


  1. Freyja

    April 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Thank you for a great review! As if I wasn’t already jumping up and down waiting for this book 😉
    Love that we are getting fun, snarky and emotionally stronger Sookie. It’s been difficult reading all her heartbreaks and hurt. Hoping everything goes well between her and Eric. I’ve never been much of a ‘shipper’ but they just make it impossible not to root for.

    • Mel

      April 25, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Glad you enjoyed it, Freyja. Sookie’s life will always have drama, it seems, but it’s nice to see her more “herself” in this book at last.

  2. lkpmommy

    April 22, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Thank you so much for the review and the vodcast! I am counting down the days and need these little tidbits to keep me from going crazy : )

    I am looking forward to more Amelia, Bubba, Sandra…and an elf!

  3. Jenn

    April 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Thrilled that Sook is waking up about the viking and Bill at least may have a chance.
    The woman knows how to sell books.

  4. Jen

    April 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Thank you so much for this review! Just when I think I can’t get any more excited about Dead Reckoning, I read something like this and my excitement jumps through the roof. I have to say I am nervous about Eric and Sookie’s relationship. I’m also worried about Eric and Pam’s relationship after reading chapter 3, but I am ecstatic that we are getting snarky Sookie back. I am really glad that she is standing up for herself and learning to be proactive; it’s about time!! I can’t wait for Victor to die; if that doesn’t happen in this book, I seriously hope it’s set up to happen in book 12. I was surprised to read that Bill had significant facetime in DR; I am interested and a little anxious to see where Ms. Harris is going with that. I am looking forward to anything humourous involving Alcide. I liked him way back when, but he has taken a pretty dark turn and I don’t like the way he interacts with Sookie.
    I am glad there will be no Jason drama. I am totally fascinated by the Fae and want to learn more about them in general and more about Claude, Dermot and Niall specifically. I can’t wait for Sookie to find Gran’s letter.

    *sigh* I really can’t wait to read this book!!

  5. Diana U.

    April 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    This just made my DAY!! Thank you so much!

  6. Dee

    April 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    This definitely sounds better than Dead in the Family, which was surprisingly disappointing. It’s a bit sad though that Charlaine really is ending the series with book thirteen.

    I had a feeling that Sookie is not going to end up with Eric at the end, which doesn’t make me sad one bit. The overall plot, wit, Sookie, and the rest of the characters is what I love about this series. I can’t wait to get the book!

  7. Bethany

    April 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you so very much for the review. I for one am not afraid of a good pile of spoilers. Some confirmed the speculations I have made from reading the two chapters they have online, and others piqued my interest and made me look that much more forward to the book’s release. I have always been an Eric/Sookie fan, but have always felt that CH was leaning in a whole other direction since she has said she will never turn Sookie over and over again. I have been almost obsessed with the cleaning of the attic sequense in the preview chapters, and now feel more certain than ever that I am right, there is more to this than has met the eye so far. I just knew that they would not spend so much time spelling out the cleaning if there was not more to it. They would have just had it happen off page and maybe refer back to it at some point to let us know it had happened if they needed a crossover/filler point.

    I for one loved DITF but did think it had veered away from what made me fall in love with the series in the first place. It looks to me like with DR we are going to get back to what made these novels so much fun to read. I am just so sad that it also appears the books really drives home that they will be over in just two more books.

    One question. Wasn’t our first Elf in Two Blondes? Is this a relative of his or hmmmm? Now you got me thinking about even more stuff. THANKS. All smiles here, that thanks was sincere.

    • Liz

      April 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      Not having read that book, I have no idea about the elf. Sorry! I can’t wait until everyone reads this book and we can talk about it in the forum. I’ve already opened a thread for it, in anticipation. 😉

      • Bethany

        April 23, 2011 at 11:43 pm

        12 refreshes and I finally found my original post. Whew, I have no idea what is up with my computer. It doesn’t seem to like me going to one of my favorite sites. Yeah, I mean this one. ha ha ha

        The short story Two Blondes is the one where Pam and Sookie take a vacation together. As always they find themselves in trouble, and a half-elf or elf is involved. I think that gives a good impression of the story without ruining it for those who have not read it.

        I too can’t wait. It is almost like watching a pot come to a boil. It seems like it is taking forever. I can blink and a whole year flies by, but waiting for this book to be released seems to take much much longer. LOL

  8. Moonbeam

    April 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Thank you very much for the early review.

    It is wonderful to see Bill still in the picture, but then again he was never ever gone. Charlaine has kept him purposely in the background, but yet still has him show up in key moments. She has been quite naughty to make us wait for more of him, but I believe he was always worth the wait.
    What we have seen of Bill, especially in the last few books, proves that Sookie still has very strong feelings for her first love as he has always had for her.

    I hope that what Sookie finally decides is to break the blood bond. I believe that is something that is long overdue, It has been to much a forced influence, and along with other methods, has been subtley controlling. Getting snarky Sookie back, IMO, must mean that she is hopefully released from that influence. It is paramount to have Sookie once again be her own woman and if it means that she and Eric end their relationship, well than it is done of her own accord, and really, more power to her.

    Cant wait to see the other characters as well as they help to shape up the story.

    I am happy to say I am looking forward to this book.

  9. Aramata

    April 23, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Let me start that yes I am an E-fan, but! I think CH is throwing Bill around just for some drama, nothing permanent!! CH cannot stress enough the dangers that are poised with vampires and the fan following of the vampires. Also she has stated this will have a Shakespearean ending. What is he famous for but tragedies… and some comedies(comedies not in a funny way.) Be still my beating heart; Eric and Sookie’s relationship is on borrowed time. I cannot help but feel set up. The whole series pointed towards Eric and Sookie, finally they get together and admit the L-word.

    And then there is good old Sam. From the “subtle” hint about Alcide’s second, it appears their relationship will be ending, leaving S+S=Single….

    • Mary Anne Sanchez

      April 25, 2011 at 12:18 am

      i totally agree. i love eric + sookie more than bill + sookie. i want to hear the l-word between them too 😀

  10. Bethany

    April 23, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Hey, I posted on here when I entered. What happened to all the posts that were there like 12 hours ago? I don’t remember when I posted, but I did it before midnight last night sometime. And the posts that were on here were completely different from the ones that are here now. What’s up?

  11. lanibean33

    April 23, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    OMG Im so excited for the new book!!! Im reading Dead in the Family again!!! Thanks for the review, im looking forward to Sookie’s adventures!!!

  12. Bethany

    April 23, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    I refreshed like a dozen times. I see I am still here. I was getting worried. I know it is not your site, just my crazy computer. It is like it has a mind of its own.

    Keep up the good work gals. I will just go ahead and reread the review to see what else I might be able to gleen from it. LOL

  13. eriklover

    April 24, 2011 at 8:15 am

    any adventure with Eric is fasinating & if it takes Sookie to bring that to me, then OK.

  14. Karyn Wheeler

    April 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    This review is fantastic! I’ve been avoiding reading anything to do with Sookie because the anticipation is killing me but its only a few more sleeps – and yes I’m counting. Cannot wait!

  15. Mary Anne Sanchez

    April 25, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I’ve been waiting for the book for so long and its almost here! The review helped somehow to quench my thirst (no pun intended) for the book. thanks for the review 😀

    • Mel

      April 25, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Glad you enjoyed it. Only 8 more sleeps!

  16. Clover

    April 25, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Yummy, Bill is back!!!

    Thanks a lot for the wonderful review. It’s already hard enough waiting so I really appreciate this review.

    The joy of reading about billtastic Bill and Sookie again *squeal* so happy!!!

    Looking forward to the compromising situation 🙂

    • MeredithLee

      April 28, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Bill is disgusting!! He has done nothing but lie, cheat and rape Sookie. I think he is more in love with her blood and sex than with her. I would like to see her in a long relationship with Eric but I don’t know if that will happen but I for sure think that Bill would be the worst person for to end up with.

      • Liz

        April 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

        Sooo, does this mean you’re not a Bill fan?

  17. Lindy Cummins

    April 25, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I just cannot wait for the 11th installment of the Sookie saga. I have just reread all 10 books and cannot wait for DR. I really hope Victor dies in this one and Sookie and Eric come to some understanding about their relationship although I wish Sookie would just give in to Bill one more time.

  18. Naty

    April 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I hope Sookie ends up with Eric, he always loved her… but I get the felling that maube 60% chance she will be with Bill- I hated it when she hold his hand after the fairy war and felt a wave of love for him during- poor Eric, if that was the case in my mind I would re-writed for she belongs with Eric!!! I hope, pray the end of the series is husband and wife, Eric and Sookie!

  19. janny

    April 27, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I cant wait to read this..but ill have to. The paperback will probably be released in the netherlands next year. I just bought the previous one, it has just been released.. 🙁

  20. Karyn Wheeler

    April 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Just read Dead Reckoning and my stars Im reading it again!!

    • charhamblin

      May 1, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      How did you get a copy of DR already? Care to share any spoilers? If you do, my email is charhamblin at aol dot com.

      • Karyn Wheeler

        May 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm

        its in store in australia and there is sooo much going on with all the charactors

  21. karla

    May 6, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Just read the book. It seems as though charlaine is sticking to her word about eric & sookie, is no longer.. boohoo

    • Liz

      May 6, 2011 at 10:58 am

      Don’t forget that there are still two more books left to be written and read. We don’t know how Charlaine will end her series.

      Also, let’s have some consideration for people who have not yet read the book. No spoilers, please! We have opened a thread for discussion in our forum, if you wish to chat about the book without spoiling it for someone else. 😉