Dead and Gone By Charlaine Harris

(Sookie Stackhouse, #9)
  Urban Fantasy

For Sookie Stackhouse, the day-to-day activities of the vampire and Were communities in and around Bon Temps, Louisiana, are of vital interest. She’s blood bound to the leader of the vamps, is a friend to the local Were pack, works for a man who is a shifter, and has a brother who is a werepanther…

But for most of the humans in Bon Temps, the vamps are mysterious, seductive creatures–and they don’t even know about the Weres.

Until now. The Weres and shifters have finally decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world.

At first it seems to go well. Then the mutilated body of a werepanther is found in the parking lot of the bar where Sookie works. The victim is someone she knows, so she feels compelled to discover who–human or otherwise–did the deed.

But what she doesn’t realize is that there is a much greater danger than the killer threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings–older, more powerful, and far more secretive than vampires or werewolves–is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-to-human pawn in their battle

“I realized that I was really tired of people popping on and off of my property like it was a train station on the supernatural railroad.” 

As always, I read this one in a single sitting, unable to tear my eyes away from the beloved series. It measured up highly in my mind, likely influenced much by my preference of Eric. I've never hated the Quinn character, but I felt it unneeded to add another love interest in the mix via Anita Blake, and didn't want this series to go down the same road that one did where the pollution spreads so badly it's nearly unfixable. We did get a Quinn scene, which IMO was a good tension-filled one. Charlaine Harris managed to include plenty of Eric and Bill, whoopee for me.

Character wise, I was in book heaven. Sookie is still her old hillbilly type charming self - she goes through a wide assortment of emotion and experiences, still standing tough but proving she's all human and realistic when things get too tough for most to face. Honestly I felt she was a bit too irritable in some of the past books but here she's filled with tenderness when its deserved and anger when it's not. Sam was there as moral support while donning his typical disappointed, worried expression, getting a sub-story of his own and still staying highly rated in my mental book of kick-ass fiction friends.

Bill is there in his old-world type glory with plenty of back-up and emotional devotion for Sookie. Really, I like him even more now with this book. It's depressing what happened to them in the past but the whole current situation is slightly bittersweet. Eric shows his more serious side and genuinely seeks Sookie, particularly showing his depth of emotion for her toward the end of the book. We even get some more Tara time, the beloved fairy Claudine, the return of the grandfather, and a little of Jason. A nice big surprise was a repeat appearance of Bubba, who had been mainly MIA from the last few books.

Browsing other reviews I notice a lot of fans are irritated about the lack of continuity and some things seeming out of character. I don't see it much myself. Sure, some things aren't answered but isn't this always the way with the series? Leaving those things unanswered so people will look forward to the next book for resolution? It's not an uncommon method used for popular series, and just gives me a cliffhanger to wonder about in the next installation. As for the out-of-character thing, I didn't notice either. I've seen some say Eric has abandoned some of the playful banter, but he did use playful banter in the's just that a more serious side was mainly shown, which I enjoyed immensely.

Every book packs a mystery and this one isn't that different. There were a few red herrings on who the naughty culprits were with a certain death scene, and while Sookie didn't seem to be as hands-on investigative compared to other books in the series, the plot was a worthy one to side up with the other main dilemma, the fairies. Regarding the fairy situation, it's one of the more brutal and dark-themed wars any of the former stories have faced yet.

I had been forewarned the book would end with a sad occurrence, and it did. The book is not a light one at all, and as usual has its share of violence. Not to be spoiler filled, but you will find an ending of some regulars in this series, and not always by death.

I would say Harris seemed to rush the ending a bit. Book eight felt longer and with more sub-plots and depth. This one she almost seemed to want to cut off at about page 300 for some kind of guide. There are still sub-plots, but it just seemed slightly less complex than some of the other stories.

Bringing up some other minor "bad" stuff, I noticed two to three typing errors and a few inconsistencies, which I've seen as well in some of the former books. Tighter editing wouldn't hurt. The situation with Mel angered me too, I found it unfair and depressing, on both the side of Sookie and the others.

Overall I've loved every book so far in the Sookie Stackhouse series. This one didn't disappoint me because it included almost every great character, each staying true to their form. The story was an interesting one while ended up an extremely dramatic, but not over-done note. I recommend it to all fans of the series and end with a burning question, how to really categorize this series? I'm leaving it as a mystery but that almost doesn't quite fit. I never agreed with the label of Fantasy for the Tanya Huff blood line series, which also included supes, but it's certainly not horror. Whatever the genre though, it's an excellent one.

   Book Quotes:

“Don’t you just hate nights like that, when you think over every mistake you’ve made, every hurt you’ve received, every bit of meanness you’ve dealt out? There’s no profit in it, no point to it, and you need sleep.” 

“When I thought of the ferocity and strength of the fairy race, and the fact that it took all I had to open the damn blister pack and extricate the water pistols, my chosen method of defense seemed ludicrous. I'd be armed with a plastic water pistol and a trowel.”  

“As I watched Bill, waiting with apparent calm for death to come to him, I had a flash of him as I'd known him: the first vampire I'd ever met, the first man I'd ever gone to bed with, the first suitor I'd ever loved. Everything that followed had tainted those memories, but for one moment I saw him clearly, and I loved him again.”

   Reviews of the Series: