Dead as a Doornail is the fifth in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series. Depending on where you are in the series, you might want to read my reviews of Club Dead (book 3) and Dead to the World (book 4). This review does not contain spoilers for Dead as a Doornail, but it's a little hard not to reveal things that happened in the first four books. You might want to at least skip down to the last two paragraphs.
All Sookie Stackhouse wants to do is live peacefully and to be left alone by the supernatural beings who live in northern Louisiana. But the impending full moon will be Jason's first experience as a were-panther, and Sookie is a little worried about how her brother will handle the change. Before the night is out, a were has been shot dead, and the local police turn to one of their favorite suspects, Jason Stackhouse.
When Sam Merlotte, her boss and friend, is shot in the leg, Sookie goes to Eric for help. Eric agrees to loan Sam a vampire bar tender, and Sookie is forced to give the vamp a place to wait out the daylight. Meanwhile, the were-political scene is heating up: Despite the shootings, a new leader must be chosen, and Sookie is involved because of her relationship with Alcide Herveaux.
And as if Sookie didn't have enough to deal with, her best friend, Tara, has gotten herself involved with the wrong kind of vampire. Before anyone can figure out who's behind the shootings, Sookie gets a deeper look into the supernatural world than she ever wanted to have.
This entry in the Southern Vampire Series is full of action and politics. And here Sookie begins to feel a bit stretched as she attempts to remain friendly with an ever-growing variety of beings who live in this world. She has the street smarts to realize that her allegiance should not be given freely or even publicly, and she recognizes that she could easily become a victim if she lets down her guard.
Dead as a Doornail lets us see the inner workings of the were/shape-shifter world and gives us some hints about another type of supernatural: fairies. Harris's characters and creatures are true to themselves and to their species. At the same time, people grow and change, so there is room for surprises, evolving relationships, and interesting plot lines.
Sookie Stackhouse continues to stand up for herself and to try to do the right thing by others. She is not completely enamored of vampires, like many of her peers, and she's pretty sure she doesn't want to involve herself too deeply with the were-people. Unfortunately for Sookie, she seems to be a voice of reason in the wilderness, and her self-assuredness and her telepathic talents are attractive to all kinds of beings.
I listened to this audiobook read by Johanna Parker. She does a brilliant job capturing the unique combination of cute and tough that characterizes Sookie. I highly recommend this series in either print or audio (or both?).
Published by Penguin Group (USA), 2006
Challenges: Themed Reading, Cozy Mysteries, Sookie Stackhouse, 999, Support Your Library, 100+