Charlaine Harris: Dead as a Doornail

This is the fifth installment in Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, so you'll probably enjoy it more if you read the previous books. Anyway, Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in a rural area in the south of the USA. She can read other people's thoughts, except if those people are supernatural beings like vampires or shapeshifters (this is one of those alternative reality books again). Since Sookie doesn't actually enjoy reading people's thoughts, she hangs out a lot with vampires, werewolves, and such. In this book, a sniper is targeting shapeshifters, having already killed several of them. Even worse, Sookie's brother Jason is suspected to the the killer, since he was recently turned into a were panther and isn't too happy about it. Sookie also has to deal with a friend who has a brutal vampire lover, a fight for supremacy among werewolves, a bartending pirate, and several suitors vying for her attention.

I enjoyed this book enormously. It never got boring and there were lots of surprises. Sookie - for everything weird and supernatural that's going on - is a refreshingly normal, mentally healthy and levelheaded character. There was only one thing that bothered me a little: Sookie's many admirers - I didn't count, but I think there were at least five male characters who wanted her. So far, so good; after all, she's described as a nice, smart and pretty woman, but she also felt sexually attracted to nearly all of them. It was almost as if Sookie - or her author - had read too many Laurell K. Hamilton books. I still can't wait to read the next book in this series, so this is a "good" book (Grade B).