(Released: May 4, 2010)
From the Cover:
Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems.
Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place... or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now.
The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives.
Sookie's had a pretty rough go of it. The Fae war cost so many lives, some very precious to her, and some her darkest enemies. She's still recovering from the torture she endure at the hands of the mad fae, Bill has silver poisoning from the insane fae's bite, and Eric is feeling horribly guilty for leaving his would be wife and lover at the hands of the fae, while he endured his own torture at the hands of Victor Madden, bound in silver chains. Even Sookie believes that Victor should meet his one true death. Sookie's grandfather has now sealed away the fae world from the human world, no longer can the two exist in peace, which is what the fae war was about anyway.
Since, the weres came out of the closet, it's getting harder and harder for them to lead normal lives, they're looked at suspiciously, the government is investigating them, and on the full moon, it's almost impossible to resist the pull. When Sookie lets the Long Tooth weres use her land for their monthly run, they find Sookie's land is being used by others. There are fae outside the seal, and they're using Sookie's land, and a vampire has been crossing the land as well. All this causes Eric to go into protective mode as he sends Heidi, one of Felipe de Castro's vampires and a tracker, to explore the woods at the back of Sookie's property, and she makes an even more gruesome discovery, a fresh body has been buried there.
If all this wasn't enough, Eric's maker comes to visit bringing his newest child in tow, Alexei who is slowly going mad with bloodlust and the need to have his every desire met in the most bloodiest of ways.
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris captures Sookie at one of the worst times in her life. She's been beaten, batter, bruised and bitten. The least noise makes her jump, her nerves frazzled, she isn't enjoying life or love, and it's almost all to much to bear. Instead of getting better, Bill is getting worse and worse, the silver poisoning slowly eating him away. Caroline Bellefleur is dying, but it has nothing to do with the fae, as one of Bill's remaining living relatives, he decides to pay a visit bringing the family Bible. He's refusing to contact his maker's only other child who may be the only vampire left who could heal him. Eric is trying to be the best vampire lover that he can be, his guilt at leaving Sookie in the hands of the fae bringing him to tears and confessions about Victor. On top of all of that, Eric's maker, Appius Liviua Ocella, shows up at Sookie's house bringing with his newest child, Alexei, son of the Romanov Tsar murdered in 1918. Pam is afraid that with the distractions facing Eric, her own maker may leave himself open to Victor Madden's power grab and own his true death. Pam will be anything in her power to save Eric, and in this installment, she does.
Dead in the Family is the 10th book in the Southern Vampire Mystery Series, and in my opinion, a damn good one and it ties up a lot of loose end from Dead and Gone (which I also thought was excellent, dark, edgy, bringing Sookie into the real world of vampires, weres, shifters, and the evil contained within the Fae society.) Sookie becomes harder in a way in this book, she's lost part of her innocence. She has always known that there are things out in her world that might try kill her. But the Fae war was by far, the worse part of her world that she has experienced. She wants to love Eric, and she does, but it seems that she's not sure she can say it's a true love, her feelings have been too exposed, too raw, too under appreciated, it may be a long time before she's well enough to admit love in more than a casual way. The sex was impossible before her vampire lovers, I mean, how would you like to know your partner is actually counting ceiling tiles? And sex with her vampires lovers has always been great, but after her torture, even sex is scary and she has to learn how to enjoy it again (it's a good thing Eric already has a very high opinion of himself). With everything she's gone through, when Ocella shows up with Alexei in tow, it's almost too much to handle, but she does, and Sookie even allows the Long Tooth Pack to use her as a shaman to reveal their informant. Though Sookie may seem unsophisticated, she's wise to the world in many ways that others are not. She has become a stronger character through her ordeal with the destructive fae. Eric too has had to grow in the last two books, in Dead in the Family, he begins to show real love for Sookie instead of the sometimes ambivalence his character has been known to portray. I found this story to be one of the most engaging in the Southern Vampire Series, this is not the point to stop reading the series. I would recommend beginning with Book 1 and working your way forward, I know this sounds like a daunting task, but the books are easy quick reads, and none should be missed. This addition to the series is highly enjoyable urban fantasy/paranormal romance with a new dark edginess that I quite enjoyed. I'm waiting to see what happens next to Sookie, Eric, Pam, Bill, Sam, Tara, Jason, and Alcide, all quite enjoyable characters that I've come to love. I'm already looking forward to the first Tuesday in May, 2011 and Book 11.
On a side note:
HBO's True Blood is an off shoot of the Sookie Stackhouse books, but they do not follow the books. The books provide a premise for the basis of the series, but it's much darker than the books, especially the first 4 or 5 in the Stackhouse series. Sookie is still the same character, as is Bill, Eric, Sam, Jason, and Pam. From this point, there are major differences. LaFayette lives on in HBO's series, Eric's maker dies in the second season of the series, and in the second book, a vampire does meet the sun, but not Eric's maker, Tara has major differences from her book character and still hasn't gotten her life together, and she's LaFayette's cousin in the series. And these are just a few of the differences. (Sam's family is a whole other story as well, we all know only the first born can shape shift, and in the series, Sam's younger brother is a shifter, which according to the books, is impossible, and Sam's mother and step-father are total losers in the series, his step-father uses her and their son in dog fights, gross! In the books, Sam's mother has kept her secret guarded.) I love HBO's True Blood, but not because they are true to the books, but because it explores a different story line, like maybe when I thought, what if this happened..... and HBO's story line brings that 'what if' to life. What can I say, HBO has embellished the books, a lot. If you expect to see the books brought to life, you'll be disappointed, but if you want to see a darker, edgier new take on the stories, explored with greater possibilities, you're going to enjoy HBO's True Blood, I know I do, it's hard to wait for new season to start!
Here's my favorite minisode, but I love them all!
(Pam and Eric)
Just got an email, Charlaine Harris's new Sookie Stackhouse book available May 3, 2011!! Squee!! Pretty!!