REVIEW: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris – Released Today

Sookie has a murder investigation on her hands. A young girl has died at a vampire party – and it looks as though her lover, Eric, might be responsible. Eric swears he didn’t do it, the police don’t believe him, and even Sookie isn’t so sure. Nor is she inclined to take his word for it, not having caught him enjoying the victim’s blood minutes before she was killed. But something strange is going on.
Why had Sookie been asked to come to the fateful party a few minutes early – just to catch Eric in the act? And why had the victim spiked her blood before approaching Eric? Was it simply because she wanted to be irresistible, or was it something more sinister? Sookie will have to find out . . . but it’s the worst moment to investigate, as her Fae family are having troubles of their own and Sookie is, inevitably, drawn in. And there is one last complication. The cluviel dor her grandmother left her. It will grant her one wish, which could fulfil Sookie’s heart’s desire. The only problem is, she still doesn’t know what – or who – her heart truly desires . . .
 (synopsis from Amazon UK website)

I have been fighting with myself back and forth on how to write this review and not give anything away.  It’s no secret that I cant stand reviews that have spoilers in them.  I hate reviewers that completely ruin a book for me and wrap up and say “I highly recommend it!  You should totally read it!”.  Well, why would I now?!?!?!  You just TOLD ME everything that is going to happen!!  This is probably one of the hardest ones I have ever had to write just due to the fact that we are SO CLOSE to the end of this series.  There is SO MUCH riding on the events of these last two books that will tell us where our dear Sookie is going to end up.  If I were the one reading this review, I would be PISSED if it got blown for me.  So I decided to go back to basics.  I am going to break this review down old school. 
Writing – Charlaine Harris is a wonderful author and Deadlocked proves that once again.  As with the rest of this entire series, she has put together a very well written and complex mystery.  However, it’s not so complex that you cant wrap your mind around what’s going on.  I never once found myself getting confused….well, not in the bad way.  There are definitely times in this book that you will be confused but it’s not a WTF is going on?”  moment.  They are moments of pure dumbfoundedness (not a real word, I know) instead.  As with any good mystery, Ms. Harris keeps you on the edge of your seat constantly guessing as to what’s going on and just when you think you’d got it figured out, think again!  We get round-house kicked square in the face with a jaw-dropping revelation.  Jaw-dropping.  No joke. 
Characters – This being the 12th book in the series, we are all pretty familiar with the characters in Deadlocked.  Yes, there are a few newcomers here and there (one of which is one of those jaw-dropping moments).  I am happy to report that there are a good number of “reprised roles” in Deadlocked.  There are a few characters that I was very sad to see fade into the back ground in previous books and I was pleasantly surprised to see them brought back into the story in Deadlocked.  Some of these characters are even playing their part in the mother of all story arcs – who will be our lil’ Sookie’s big love?  Some characters get some……clarification……in Deadlocked as well.  I don’t want to say too much but trust me on this, there will be some bad vibes floating around Bon Temps when you read this book.  A lot of pieces are brought to light.  A lot of unexplained gets explained.  The readers get a much clearer picture of who stands on what side of the line in the sand.  And I can already tell a LOT of you… are NOT going to like it.  Seriously.  I teared up. 
The Big Love – We are getting closer to having this question answered.  Now that Charlaine Harris has confirmed that Sookie Book #13 will in fact be Sookie’s last, it was obvious when this story was written that Ms. Harris is trying to wrap up that story line.  Deadlocked was a parade of memories and cameos from past loves/lovers.  Deadlocked seemed like a good long look at why she should or should not be with any of the guys that have come in to her life.  I am sad to say that a definitive answer has not happened by the end of Deadlocked but we sure do have a whole bunch more to think about.  Think back.  From Dead Until Dark (book 1) to Dead Reckoning (book 11), we have had a great number of prospective suitors:

  • Bill Compton – bleck!  That’s all I have to say about that!
  • John Quinn – One of my favorites!!!
  • Eric Northman – Current beau and bad ass vamp Sheriff
  • Sam Merlotte – although they’ve never had an actual relationship, I have always viewed him as a prospect just because of how close they are.
  • Alcide Herveaux – Packmaster of the Long Tooth Pack and former almost flame of Sookie’s.

There have been some minor characters in the love interest column but these guys are our major players.  And Sookie has some serious thinking to do on each and every one of them.  Prior to reading Deadlocked, I have always had a theory as to who Sook will end up with in the end and I will be honest, the events of this book did nothing but solidify those theories.  I am not warming to the theory by any means but after reading Deadlocked, I can understand why.  Want to get more into detail on it, feel free to e-mail me and we shall discuss but no spoilers here!  *wink wink*
When I was approximately half way through this book, a friend of mine asked me how it was.  At that point, I said “it’s good.  There’s just so much going on that I am not seeing how this could possibly get wrapped up in another 170 pages.”  I also told her that so far, there were about 6 or 7 concurrent story lines.  Ms. Harris, you are a miracle worker of sorts.  Not only were you able to successfully juggle that many story lines but they all made perfect sense!  No confusion.  No tangents.  Nothing.  Just clear concise, storyline that might as well have been delivered in a neat little package with a bow.  One thing that I have realized recently in my reading adventures is how common it is for a writer to spew out way to much coincidental detail and convenient discovery when trying to write a mystery and books like Deadlocked really make you appreciate the art that goes into writing a good mystery.  It really is very well put together. 
Now, I know what you are all thinking.  What about the cluviel dor??? Just by looking at the cover, you already know that the cluviel dor is a major player in Deadlocked and that is no lie.  Sookie spends a good amount of time in Deadlocked trying like hell to decide what she should do with the fairy love token.  Well…..I am not going to say another word on it.  If I say one single thing it will blow apart the entire story line and you’ll regret ever reading this review.  And I do not want that. 
One thing I want to make mention of is character development.  We have watched Sookie go from a starry-eyed virgin to the woman we see in Deadlocked.  Although the entire series only takes place over the span of a few years, Sookie has been through so much that she would inevitably change.  Deadlocked showcased that.   Even as recently as Dead Reckoning, Sookie has had a naïve piece to her personality.  She loses that altogether in Deadlocked.  Not only does she see everything with eyes wide open, she’s started to go into situations that way instead of allowing herself to get blindsided.  Quite frankly, she’s starting to think like a vampire.  A scary thought to some but I say it’s about damn time.  You cant date someone like a 1000 year old Viking turned vampire and not have it rub off on you just a little bit.  I, for one, am happy to see that naïve streak go away. 
Deadlocked is riddled with some seriously MAJOR events that were needed, wanted and dreaded.  Charlaine Harris has really outdone herself with this installment in the series and although I am DYING to get my paws on the 13th (and final) book, I am incredibly sad to see the series come to an end.  I was only introduced to this series about a year ago and it has been a wild ride.  Ms. Harris has created a wonderfully edgy fantasy world and I am not looking forward to seeing it come to an end.  Ok.  I think I might start crying again…..
Overall, I give Deadlocked 5 super enthusiastic stars.  This was a great book, a fast read and almost knocked my series favorite (All Together Dead) out of its top spot.  Almost.  There are laughing moments. There are teary moments.  There are moments that will infuriate you to the point of wanting to just stab someone.  And (my favorite) there are some straight up stunner moments that will leave you slack jawed, bug eyed and…..just……betrayed.  OMG type moments.  WTF type moments.  If you are a big fan of this series, you will LOVE Deadlocked!!! 
And a piece of news for everyone:  I am hoping that I am not shooting myself in the foot by announcing this….  When I requested the advanced copy of this book, I also asked Charlaine Harris’s publicist if I could do an interview with her for the release date.  Charlaine has accepted my request and I couldn’t be happier.  I am just hoping this doesn’t turn out like the Anne Rice situation (agreed to a post review interview to never be heard from again – highly disappointing).  I am sending the questions off to her today and I plan on posting the interview before or on the release date. 
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  1. “I don’t want to say too much but trust me on this, there will be some bad vibes floating around Bon Temps when you read this book. A lot of pieces are brought to light. A lot of unexplained gets explained. The readers get a much clearer picture of who stands on what side of the line in the sand. And I can already tell a LOT of you… are NOT going to like it. Seriously. I teared up. ”
    Why do I get the feeling I’m gonna wanna get out my pitchfork again? Sigh. Guess I’ll find out soon.

  2. Northwoman says:

    I stayed up and read it. I may have more to say when I have had more than <3 hours of sleep. I thought it was much better than the last few books. I did figure out the major villiain right away, but not the accomplice. I'm no good at that kind of thing so I was surprised.
    It looks like from your comments and favorite book that you are a Quinn fan. UGH UGH and more UGH.
    I am an Eric lover and there is never enough Eric in any book for me. 🙂 Eric & Sookie – I wish they would grow up and actually talk to each other. If they love each other (they say they do) then they need to talk to each other and support each other. Sookie shares everything with everyone BUT Eric, it seems like.

  3. […] Jena:  Don’t forget!  Deadlocked was released May 1st and you can order your copy today by clicking here!! […]

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