Top critical review
Dead As A Doornail: The Title Says it All
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2010
Charlaine Harris is an average writer, but a first class story teller, loves conflict, and great at personal insights into the life of a courting female. These are facts which have been proven over and over again throughout this series. This book, however, comes down to a poorly executed formula which has worked until now.
The four major parts of a Sookie Stackhouse novel include 1) World creation. New info on "Supes" or supernatural beings. Sometimes she introduces a new supernatural creature, while sometimes, she provides more detail on existing supernaturals. 2) Mystery. Strangulations. Abductions. Torture. Missing Persons. Shootings. Something to keep your attention if the rest of the book fails. 3) Romance. Boy Next Door, Rebound Boy, Amnesiac Lover. Take your pick. 4) Action. Sookie is always in the middle of the action, getting beat up, staked, shot and stabbed.
"Dead as a Doornail" starts out with a fairly uninteresting premise, and continues on with a fairly uninteresting story. A sniper is attacking the were community. Several people have ben shot, including Sam, and one has been killed. Oh, and then Sookie's house is burned down, and Sookie is saved by her fairy friends. The pirate/bartender vampire who Sookie is keeping at her house claims to have killed the guy who set the fire, but the guy doesn't really seem like the culprit.
The problem with this story besides being trite is that the story introduces two new characters (bartender and Tara's creepy boyfriend) who turn out to be the two new bad guys. Neither character had much time to develop, and you really had every reason to be suspicious of them. The other bad "gal" (the cook) was introduced in the previous book, and again little development. As the story develops, the cook is revealed to be an ex-stripper (gads! a reason not to like her) and the pirate doesn't turn into a legitimate love interest (why I have no idea) so we emotionally keep our distance from all of them.
The dual story (or sub plot if you prefer) in this book details the silly way that Were's decide who is packmaster. It's a silly Were olympics contest which in this case includes (GASP!) cheating! The character you root for is one you really don't know (another character's father) so you really aren't emotionally involved. Then Sookie's telepathy exposes the cheating. The twist comes when the revealing of the cheating results in things getting easier for the cheater, and requiring the final fight to be a fight to the death. This is somewhat nonsensical, but it makes things more interesting, especially when the only one you could root for is killed.
In the end, you have read several non-emotionally involved stories which might help set up future books to be more interesting. A necessary evil on the road from A to B.
This book is Sookie without much world building. This books is Sookie with a somewhat uninteresting mystery. This book is Sookie without any real romance. This book is Sookie with very little action.
This is a dull drab book with good old relatable Sookie. But dull and drab nonetheless.