For those who've followed Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, "Definitely Dead" is another enjoyable novel about our slightly ditsy heroine whose life gets more and more complicated now that various supernatural creatures are coming out of the woodwork in the town of Bon Temps. The first couple of books featured Sookie's relationship with vampire Bill Compton but then that all fell apart and Sookie found herself spreading her wings a little within the supernatural community; yes, she's a human, but she's also a telepath and this means that she finds herself in some very unusual situations.
A lot of books in the vampire/werewolf genre are terribly predictable - you read the blurb on the back and you know pretty much the whole plot. The Sookie Stackhouse series, like Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series, aren't like this - I don't really have a clue what's going to happen next when reading these books and they're a fun ride. There are some darker moments in the stories and "Definitely Dead" has these where Sookie finds out something very distressing which preys on her mind a lot, but there are also a lot of lighthearted and amusing moments, particularly in Sookie's matter of fact thoughts about people and events.
The previous book to this one, "Dead As A Doornail", was the best of the bunch in my opinion although I was rather taken aback by Sookie's man-attracting powers; she actually has six - count 'em, six! - males after her. Interestingly, in this book we actually find out why that is and the field reduces a little as well. I found that rather more satisfying and realistic; yes, Sookie's a nice young lady but I couldn't quite see the appeal in the last book, especially as murder and disaster seem to follow her around and would surely be offputting to most chaps. This book worked that out a little better.
However there was a little bit of a disappointment in this story for me. I've been a big fan of Bill Compton throughout the series and I was pretty disappointed when he had his fling in an earlier book; well, he gets a very bad press in this book although with a glimmering of opportunity for redemption. I wish she'd see sense and realise that he's the solid, dependable and safe (ish!) kind of person, as well as her first love, but she seems intent on plouging a different furrow and I find myself, as a reader, a bit annoyed with Sookie sometimes. In these more recent books Sookie has a different beau in each instalment and that can be a little awkward - still it adds for variety.
We meet most of the familiar characters in this book - Bill, Eric, Quinn the Weretiger, the Vampire Queen, Claudine the fairy and more. Some characters take more of a back seat than in other episodes (Jason, Alcide, Sam) and some threads of the plot are just lightly continued so I imagine we'll read more about them in future books. It's worth reading this series in the right order as the backstory in each episode isn't complete; having recently read the first in the series, "Dead Until Dark", I did find the events with Bill in this book a little bit unlikely - probably the case of the author having a better idea a long way through the series and 'adjusting' the events in the earlier books to fit her plans.
For those who've loved the previous books in the series this will be equally enjoyable. Murder, mayhem, shapeshifting, bartending, romance, vampires, plotting - it's all there again. I'm not sure how many more books the series will sustain before Sookie starts seeming like a nymphomaniac madwoman but she's not quite there yet - read and enjoy!