There is so much going on in Definitely Dead, the sixth book in the series. New characters (actually important), a new romance, new villains, weird stuff is revealed, there’s an attempted political coup, a dude gets turned into a vampire, and another dude gets turned into a cat. Let’s just get going. Spoilers to follow…
Okay, so this book, like Dead as a Doornail before it, takes place immediately after a short story I did not know exist and have not read. But the vibe I’m getting is that in that, Sookie finds out that her cousin Hadley is dead, and a vampire, but then is dead again. (One might say she’s… definitely dead. I won’t apologize! Why do you think that’s the book title?) We are introduced to Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the vampire Queen of Louisiana, and her lawyer, Mr. Cataliades.
There’s a vampire pin-up calendar, Eric is Mr. January.
Local law Andy Bellefleur proposes to his girlfriend, teacher Halleigh Robinson, by putting a ring box under an order of fries at the bar. Stay classy, Bellefleur. Then Sookie runs into Portia Bellefleur at Tara’s store, and learns that Halleigh and Andy are going to have a double wedding with Portia and her fiance, some dude named Glen. Portia intimates that Sookie is not invited to the wedding, but she should definitely come as a member of Merlotte’s staff, who are working the party. All of the Bellefleurs suck and you could do better, Halleigh.
Father Riordan of one of the local churches (I feel like a new one gets mentioned every other book) ambushes Sookie at her workplace to get her to talk to Debbie Pelt’s parents and her sister, Sandra. They want to know where Debbie is, and Sookie tells them the same thing she’s said to cops and private detectives alike, that she doesn’t know (technically true). This is important because they show up again later, and it’s hard to recap this in proper order because there’s so much shit going on, so I’ll get it out of the way now. Sandra doesn’t believe Sookie is innocent, and she’s the one responsible for creating bitten Weres and sending them after Sookie when she’s on a date in Shreveport with Quinn. She also later has some guys kidnap Sookie and Quinn in New Orleans, so she can torture information out of Sookie. Sookie gets the better of the Pelts, finally tells them the truth about Debbie, and argues that she and the Pelts have both gotten in their licks in this matter, and should call it even. Because Weres are bizarre, they agree to leave Sookie alone.
Local witch and fellow Merlotte’s waitress Holly Cleary’s son Cody goes missing after school, and Sookie volunteers her services in telepathically hunting him down. She gets to him in time and saves his life. Andy is an asshole about the whole thing, because he hates knowing the supernatural community exists beyond vampires, and he hates knowing what Sookie is, but he is totally willing to use her for his own ends.
Jason’s girlfriend Crystal Norris has a miscarriage. And Arlene’s new boyfriend is a member of Fellowship of the Sun. These don’t come up again here, but I figure they’ll be important later.
I already glossed over this, but weretiger and special events coordinator Quinn (First name? Surname? Unknown) shows up to date Sookie. They go to see The Producers in Shreveport and get attacked by the aforementioned bitten Weres (bitten Weres and shifters are considered “less” than blood, usually because their shifts are only partial, and they are terrifying hybrids), and take it up with the Shreveport pack at Amanda’s bar, Hair of the Dog, where they awkwardly run into Alcide on a date with Maria-Star Cooper.
Finally Mr. Cataliades shows up to collect Sookie and take her to New Orleans to pack up Hadley’s estate, quite to Sookie’s surprise, because as it turns out, the messenger the queen sent, Mr. Cataliades’s niece Gladiola, got murdered in Sookie’s woods before she could deliver the message. I’m going to cut a lot of this short, and tell you the entire thing with Sophie-Anne is a plot on behalf of her new husband, King of Arkansas, Peter Threadgill. Vampire marriages are usually loveless affairs, for political and territorial gain. Threadgill is attempting to set up Sophie-Anne for a breach of contract (he gave her a bracelet as a wedding gift, Hadley stole it, and losing a wedding gift is apparently an enormous no-no. I LOVE VAMPIRE POLITICS), and seize her territory. Sookie figures all of this out, AND finds the bracelet, just in time. Not that it matters, because after Threadgill’s plot is halted, he gives up and just gets his nestmates to attack all of Sophie-Anne’s dudes at a party. It’s super messy and a bunch of vampires die, but only, like, one we know. As parties go, not the best.
So after Hadley died, and here again we are jumping back in time because a straightforward recap would actually be novel-length, the queen hired Hadley’s landlord, the witch Amelia Broadway, to seal off the apartment so only Sookie could go in. This involved putting it under a stasis spell, which meant accidentally putting the dead Were in the closet under a stasis spell. Except the dead Were in the closet isn’t dead, he has been turned into a vamp and this is his first night awake. His name is Jake Purifoy, he’s an employee of Quinn’s that went missing a few weeks ago, and there is zero precedence for a Were-vamp, so that’s gonna be fun in the future.
In any case, like any newborn vamp, he immediately attacks out of hunger, and the vampire cops (not making this up) have to come out and restrain him. Sookie has to go to the hospital, Bill and Eric are both conveniently in New Orleans to conduct business with the queen, and they drop by, ostensibly so Eric can force Bill to reveal his Dark Truth. Are you ready? Motherfucking Bill Compton was PLANTED in Bon Temps to keep an eye on Sookie (and her powers, which the queen learned about through Hadley), and if necessary, seduce her, to bring her into the Louisiana vampire fold. Sookie, naturally, is emotionally destroyed by this. I, on the other hand, am not – I never liked Bill, and this just seems to fucking fit in with his character as a useless piece of garbage.
Claudine shows up. Turns out, Claudine is not being funny when she suggests she’s Sookie’s fairy godmother, she is literally Sookie’s fairy godmother. We already knew she was a fairy, but she’s trying to get elevated to an angel (yuuuup), and has been assigned to guard Sookie as part of that promotional process.
Oh, and at some point, the queen’s bodyguard Andre tastes some of Sookie’s blood, and is able to detect traces of fairy, because that’s his special vampire skill. He can also read lips! But yeah, one of Sookie’s grandparents is theoretically a fairy, and of course, fairy blood is so attractive to vampires, so Sookie is extra bitter about all of the vampire attention she gets, because she knows it has to do with her smell and taste, and not her herself. Fortunately for her, Quinn doesn’t care about any of that.
SOME FUN SHIT. At one point Sookie gets to work and finds a vampire, Felicia, waiting for her. Felicia is the new bartender at Fangtasia, and claims to have been sent by Pam: “She said you had a habit of killing the bartenders of Fangtasia. She said I must come to beg your mercy.” PAM, you rogue, I adore you and your weirdo sense of humor. Felicia isn’t the brightest vamp in the coffin, so she assumed this was all literal, but Sookie appreciates that Pam’s having fun with it. SO DO I. I love Pam.
And the bullet points.
–Does anyone new get introduced that in theory will come up later as a recurring character?
Good God, basically everyone. Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the vampire Queen of Louisiana. Andre, her lover-assistant (vampire). Amelia Broadway, Hadley’s landlord and soon to be Sookie’s new roommate (witch). Tanya Grissom, waitress and shitty spy-for-hire (shifter). Sigebert and Wybert, twins, bodyguards (vampires, although one of them is dead and don’t ask me to tell you which one). Mr. Cataliades, lawyer for the queen (part-demon). Diantha, messenger for the queen and niece to Mr. Cataliades (full demon?). Felicia, new Fangtasia bartender (vampire). Rasul, Chester, and Melanie, all guards for the queen, though third tier, under Andre and the Bert twins (all vampire). Jake Purifoy, employee of Quinn (Were turned vampire). Bob (witch, cat).
–Does Sookie get laid and/or romantically propositioned? (And by whom?)
Sookie is only with Quinn in this book, and they have a little over-the-pants action. I think Eric kisses her once during battle, because he’s Eric. Sookie also finally officially refuses the advances of Hotshot werepanther patriarch Calvin Norris, largely because she doesn’t want to spend all of her time in an isolated community, knowing that Calvin has bred with all of the full-blooded women. And Bill throws a lot of soulful stares her way, but seriously, fuck that guy.
–Does anyone wind up dead?
A bunch of vampires and one part-demon, although no one we knew prior to this book, for once.
–Does Sookie get injured in some capacity?
Sookie goes to the emergency room for vampire bite from Jake, gets kidnapped, gets a bit clawed up in the skirmish at the mansion, but is not hospitalized for any time and has all of her limbs in tact.
–Is Andy Bellefleur a pain in the ass?
Of fucking course. Sookie solves one case for him with telepathy and local law Andy Bellefleur gets it in his head that they’re going to start their own show about a beleaguered cop and his wackadoo consultant, solving crimes. Sookie shuts that down right quick, because fuck you, Andy, that’s why.
–Sookie Paramours: Who Wore It Best?
Damn if I don’t like Quinn. True Blood the show’s greatest failure was never incorporating Quinn into it. (Well, True Blood the show had many failures, starting with the fact that it took all of this nonsense way too seriously.) Quinn has good timing, is not particularly hot-headed, but is useful in battle (it comes up a lot in Sookie’s life, it’s a romantic element not to be ignored), and actually goes to the effort of taking her out, making plans, etc.
Bill finally gets outed as the shitbag he is, and we wash our hands of his tomfoolery. FUCK YOU, BILL, OH MY GOD.
I am exhausted.
WHEN NEXT WE MEET, vampire political summit, and some mild coffin-surfing.