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From Dead To Worse (A Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mystery) by Charlaine Harris

01/10/2008. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy From Dead To Worse in the USA - or Buy From Dead To Worse in the UK

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pub: Gollancz. 359 page small hardback. Price: 12.99 (UK only). ISBN: 978-0-575-08394-3).

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Another day at the bar for Sookie and another night in mortal peril. Sometimes having a gift can be a real burden. She gets to meet some interesting people but is often in over her head. Yes, Sookie has some powerful allies but she also has to come up with some quickish thinking just to escape with laddered tights and a mild headache.

I like Sookie. She is just the heroine that we feel comfortable with. She's in trouble but we love it and her. Sookie feels like the real deal and it's tempting to think that Charlaine Harris is living a vicarious existence she writes so lovingly about. She enjoys her Sookie and that enables her to create a cast of admirers who are willing to lay down their own lives for her.

Sam the owner of Bar Temps has become more and more part of Sookie's story. The 'will they, won't they?' story-line is always popular (see X-Files). Then there is the first boyfriend, Bill the vampire, previously revealed to be a lying, cheating...oh well, now he's trying to be the person she thought he was. Too late? Maybe.

What about Eric? The local sheriff of Vampire Territory he wields enormous power but is undone by his memories of the brief encounter with Sookie. Their blood-tie means they must, have-to, look after each other.

In the last novel, Sookie met a potential life-mate in Quinn the were-tiger but at the start of this one, he's missing presumed 'gone off her' kind of way. She regrets their intimacy and accepts his rejection. There are more pressing matters. The local were-packs are not only in-bred but also now in-fighting. There's a lot of death about. The Vampire Queen is gravely wounded and her power-base is slipping.

Sookie has another couple of surprises to come from her family. With Jason, it's not going to be pleasant but there is someone around the corner for Sookie who could make her life easier and might just offer a reliable shoulder.

Harris continues to push the boundaries of her beloved Sookie. The action of the novel is compressed in a few short days. You might hope that Sookie could get the occasional time-out but it is relentless, She does get to do the washing, shopping and cooking and the domestic interludes serve to remind the reader just how far out her world is from ours.

Another good read from Harris. She continues to come up with some new and entertaining twists on a supernatural life-style.

Sue Davies

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