‘Dead in the Family’ gives fans foresight

By Alison Smyth

“Dead in the Family” (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 10)

Author: Charlaine… “Dead in the Family” (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 10)

Author: Charlaine Harris

Rating: B

Publisher: Ace Hardcover

“True Blood” fans have an advantage over other television viewers: They can predict the future.

No, most viewers aren’t supes (supernatural beings) or telepaths. They aren’t clairvoyant in any way. They’ve just become part of a fandom with 10 season structures already laid out for their reading pleasure.

“True Blood” begins its third season on June 13, a date that corresponds to the third novel in “The Southern Vampire Mysteries” called “Club Dead.” The television series is behind the set of books, meaning that the main character Sookie Stackhouse has already lived those adventures, met those villains and experienced those love triangles and mysteries by the time they appear in the HBO series.

Many Sookie Stackhouse novels revolve around travel, explore vampire politics and establish Sookie’s sense of self away from the men in her life, her hometown and friends. By the 10th book, the heroine feels more confident. She knows what she wants and who she wants.

While the novels are mysteries at their core, most also involve a romance — or more likely, a love triangle. Flirting, sexual tension and Sookie’s inner struggle to balance her urges and her Southern belle mentality make for an interesting and often humorous read.

Sookie’s newfound romantic and supernatural experience has conditioned her to become little more than a narrative voice. Her sense of humor remains, but she isn’t surprised by anything. Where she used to blush or panic, she now handles the unexpected in a practical, calculated and somewhat vampiric way. Sookie is now married to the life into which she was once reluctantly thrown.

The latest installment ties up many plot points left unexplored in earlier novels, all relating to family issues. Specifically, Sookie’s nephew, the story of Eric’s maker (who is not Godric, as depicted in “True Blood”), the repercussions of the fae war and the new vampire regime as discussed in the previous books.

“Dead in the Family” may not appeal to all readers, but for some, the closure it offers will satisfy curiosity and clarify past events. Harris, as always, blends horror and romance, humor and the supernatural with ease — and she sure can describe a lusty Viking.