Dead Reckoning

by Charlaine Harris (Gollancz) ISBN: 9780575096547

 

When you have an urban fantasy that has a heroine named Sookie picking up synthetic blood for her vampire boyfriend at the Grabbit Kwik shop, or Elvis Presley turned into a bloodsucker by a distraught Memphis morgue assistant, you know this is a novel you shouldn’t take too seriously.

 

The good news is that Charlaine Harris doesn’t want you too. It’s obvious that she has a whole lot of fun writing her far-fetched Sookie Stackhouse yarns—and it rubs off on the reader.

 

Of course, the series has been turned into a hit HBO television series, True Blood, starring Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer.

 

The books are narrated by Sookie, a bargirl living in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She doesn’t just serve ice-tea and burgers in a short skirt—she also has the telepathic gift of reading people’s minds. In the stories, vampires and other paranormal beings have come out of their closets and crypts and live openly among humans. Harris presents this crazy community of werewolves, shape shifters, elves and vampires with sardonic, off-beat humour—she even has a fairy character who is a gay stripper.

 

In Dead Reckoning, Sookie has a whole bunch of human and non-human forces trying to kill her, including a white-trash psychogirl with a grudge and a truculent mafia-style vampire king. But the plot is not important: the pleasure is living vicariously through these crazy, sexy characters’ daily lives.

 

Unlike the stiff, weepy Twilight saga, the Sookie books have a loose, steamy Southern charm that mixes seedy urban drama with witty and outlandish fantasy to deliver an exciting adventure story. A really great read!

 

Anthony Ehlers 

4/5

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