I have just finished reading this book, I bought it due to my obsession with the Sookie Stackhouse series of books by this author. This story is totally different from the Sookie books, there are no supernatural creatures in this, but the plot is still pure fantasy.
The story centres on a girl Harper Connelly who makes her living finding dead bodies. Nothing unusual about that, well yes there is actually, you see Harper was struck by lightening and it left her with a gift, when she is in the vicinity of the dead body she gets a vibrating sensation run through her body and humming in her head and when she is close to the body, she gets a flash of how that person died and a brief resume of their last moments which as you can imagine if they died violently isn't too pleasant. She travels with her step brother Tolliver who looks after the business side and is her emotional rock. This story tells of how Harper is hired by a woman to find the body of her sons girlfriend who is missing, the son is also dead and Harper establishes from a visit to his grave that his death was not suicide as was thought. She finds the body of the girlfriend, but this leads her into getting embroiled in a very messy situation with the families of the two deceased, and she ends up in real danger herself.
There is an interesting back story to the characters of Harper and Tolliver and Harper is a very damaged person as a result of her backstory and the lightening strike. She is a very complex character, strong yet vulnerable and almost verging on unstable at times.
I found it to be a highly entertaining and quite compelling story when I got into it, it wasn't as obsessively compelling and unputdownable as the Sookie books but it kept my attention and was very enjoyable. I think the beauty of Charlaine Harris' writing is her characters she writes such interesting complex characters with such a deep history surrounding them you can't help but become involved with them and want to know more and find out more and you end up caring what happens to them even the characters which are not too pleasant. It is totally different to the Sookie books but the two main characters are very simular, they are both young girls who have an unusual gift which makes them almost outcasts, while Sookie tries to hide hers Harper has embraced hers and uses it to make a living, and the results of of that including other peoples reactions to her and her feelings and emtions about that is beautifully written.
Back in Bon Temps and Sookie's world is still reeling from not only Hurricance Katrina but from the explosion at the vampire summit. Sookie knows that many of her friends and acquaintances have been killed- some she isn't so bothered about. But she knows that Quinn made it out alive and was last seen in the hospital, but now she hasn't heard from him at all.
Eric and Pam are indebted to Sookie for coming to warn them of the bomb, and get them out of the face of danger. Though Eric is curious why Sookie came to his rescue first above all others. Is it just that they shared a deep blood-bond?
But that's not important for now as a were-war is on the brink of breaking out and with the Queen severley cut down after the explosion, the vampire-community of Louisiana is wide-open for a hostile takeover. And of course, Sookie will find herself at the heart of both battles.
Personally, now a sort of truce has been made with Bill and Sookie and he begin to talk a little. He seems determined to win her back by stealth. However, something more interesting has occured, Eric remembers what happened between the two of them during his amnesia and seems determined to win Sookie by any way possible.
In addition to all this action, Sookie discovers family and in the end, makes a very powerful friend.
These books are better when the dramas are kept in Bon Temps and kept small. Unfortunately, Harris fails to realise this in a number of the volumes, but this one succeeded where others failed because of these two facts. I hope the series is heading toward an end because quite frankly, they ain't that good; frustrating as hell and predictable but engaging enough for a guilty pleasure, and hell, the men are interesting enough to make up for any shortfalls.
Sookie is still reeling from Bill's betrayal and especially from finding out about his betrayal in front of Eric - she'd be happy never to see him again. Still, she's very happy with Quinn for now.
As agreed in the 6th volume of this series, Sookie has to attend the vampire summit, accompanying Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the vampire Queen of Louisiana. Sophie will be standing trial for the alleged murder of her husband. However, not only is Sookie there for her telepathic abilities but she also was the only witness to the murder, and knows that the Queen was not responsible.
Like any political gathering, there are cliques and backstabbings abound. Throw in a few bombs and deaths and the vampire hotel where the summit is being held becomes a veritable Agatha Christie-ian playground. Who id doing the killing? Who is actually wanted dead? And what side should Sookie take?
Still not talking to Bill, Sookie personally finds herself caught between Quinn, her boyfriend, and Eric, her ex-lover and admirer. With the knowledge of what they got up to during Eric's amnesia bubbling away in his head, Eric is desperately trying to remember for himself.
As these books progress, they become more formulaic, more predictable and Harris seems less abreast of her Bon Temps residents than she should be. The writing is still bad but with lapses in continuity, its becoming frustrating too. So why can't I stop reading the damn things? Well, mainly because the men that revolve around Sookie are interesting and they are trashy, throwaway fun, perfect for a couple of hours entertainment when you are curled up on the couch.
Volume 6 picks up immediately from where 5 left off. Sookie is on the modelling assignment that she promised to do with the fairy, Claude. Not a homophobic slur - he is a fairy. And actually, a gay fairy at that.
However, the main plot of this book revolves around Sookie's drug-addled cousin Hadley (briefly mentioned in a previous volume, a note to say that they were estranged). Hadley died, then became a vampire, then died again, properly and she has left everything to Sookie. So Sookie has to get over to New Orleans to sort out her apartment. But Hadley was also the consort of the Queen of New Orleans and she, her majesty herself, has Sookie in her sights. She believes Sookie would be an interesting acquirement to her entourage. The Queen also soon becomes indebted to Sookie.
Meanwhile, Sookie is being pursued by the family of Debbie Pelt, Alcide's ex-girlfriend who Sookie offed. They have hired Private Investigators to basically badger Sookie into telling them what she knows about Debbie.
Sookie is dating Quinn, the weretiger, and for once she seems to be in a relationship that might just work out.
The fifth volume in this series. Following straight on from where the fourth volume left off, Sookie is trying to help Jason deal with his new powers. Calvin and the weres over at Hotshot agree to help Jason for Sookie's sake.
But Sookie has changes in her own life to deal with. Eric, doesn't remember a thing about what they got up to during his amnesia, he desperately wants to know. Sookie wants to tell him edited highlights - yes, the sex, she wants him to know about that so they can maybe take up where they left off, but she absolutely cannot let him know what they both did to Debbie Pelt, Alcide's girlfriend. If Eric ever finds that out then he will have a hold over Sookie for a long time. And a long time in vampire time is a very, very, very long time indeed. And Eric is one vampire that you do not want to owe a debt too.
Bill, on the other hand, remembers everything that Sookie means to him but they are no longer together. In fact, Bill has a new girlfriend, and Sookie is unsure if this is just to make her jealous or if he is actually moving on.
While all this emotional turmoil is...tumoiling, Bon Temps has its very own sniper. Somebody is taking out the shifters in Bon Temps and Sookie must find out who it is. Especially as she beomes a target.
Fairies. Fairies are in this book now, adding to the supernatural smorgasbord of Sookie's world. Is there any normal humans left?! At all?! As usual it is the relationship's Sookie has with Sam, Eric and Bill that are at the heart of the interest here. I guess you can add Alcide, Calvin and Quinn to that mix too now. Is there no one that doesn't fall for Sookie? Oh yes, Claude the fairy, but he's gay but his sister does seem to be filling that gap...I find it hard to believe Sookie stayed an innocent virgin as long as she did with all these males falling over themselves to bed her. She's made of granite, I tells ya.
Best moment in this book? Sookie shocking Eric into silence. For that the book gets some stars.