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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: Club Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries #3) by Charlaine Harris


Things between cocktail waitress Sookie and her vampire boyfriend Bill seem to be going excellently (apart from the small matter of him being undead) until he leaves town for a while. A long while. Bill's sinister boss Eric has an idea of where to find him, whisking her off to Jackson, Mississippi to mingle with the under-underworld at Club Dead. When she finally catches up with the errant vampire, he is in big trouble and caught in an act of serious betrayal. This raises serious doubts as to whether she should save him or start sharpening a few stakes of her own.

My Review:

While I haven’t been very generous with the kisses for Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries novels, I have enjoyed them thus far. Club Dead is no exception to that. While Charlaine’s retelling of every minute detail from her last two books can still be redundant and turn the average person’s brain into stew, some of her excessive details can come in handy if you don’t have a good memory.

Bill Compton, Sookie’s boyfriend of approximately five months, is hiding something. She comes over to his home across the cemetery and finds him huddled over his computer, working. It has become a usual thing for them since Bill took the position of Investigator of Area Five. Sookie, fed up with the secrets, leaves.

Days later, Bill contacts Sookie and tells her that he is going to Seattle to work on some things. He is leaving her in charge of a top secret project he is working on in case he doesn’t return. Sookie – I have to give her credit – knows something is terribly wrong about this whole situation.

After going through a few days of the same-shit-different-day routine, Bubba, a mentally handicapped vampire who is actually Elvis after his drug addled transition (I haven’t mentioned him before and for that I am sorry), shows up on Sookie’s doorstep to watch over her per Eric’s request. As the pair show up to Merlotte’s, Sookie is attacked by a Werewolf. Bubba guards Sookie and it is clear things are now getting heated in Bon Temps.

This attack brings Pam to Sookie for more protection and eventually leads Eric to her doorstep. Eric explains everything - Bill has left her so he can have a relationship with his vampire maker, Lorena.

Eric also reveals the nature of the top secret project Bill has been working on and how the Vampire Queen of Louisiana wants it delivered to her. Distraught over her boyfriend’s betrayal, Sookie reluctantly agrees to help Eric find Bill in Jackson, Mississippi, (as Eric believes Bill is kidnapped and they must rescue him to get the top secret project) by listening to the humans and Werewolves’ thoughts in the area.

While this story continues to add characters and can become horribly confusing if you don’t have a checklist to mark who’s who, it progresses quickly, and the characters who are going to stick around are very memorable. We meet Alcide Herveaux: a Werewolf who is paying a debt to Eric for his father’s gambling debts. Also, we are introduced to Debbie Pelt, Alcide’s psychotic ex-girlfriend. It is a whole different world that Sookie can experience thanks to her mission. In this world, just a drop of blood spilled can lead to a death sentence.

During this time in Jackson, it is clear that Sookie still has feelings for Bill. And after her kissing session on the hood of his car in Living Dead in Dallas she’s also feeling something for Eric, but now in Mississippi, she develops feelings for Alcide as well. It is obviously a tough time to be a telepathic barmaid from Louisiana!

There is a murder, as always, for Sookie to solve. A werewolf (Were) who attacked her in a Jackson club, Josephine’s (also called Club Dead, which gave the book its title), is found in Alcide’s coat closet. They recognize the Were as the night before Sookie was listening to people’s minds in the club, and she wandered away while Alcide was in the restroom. Sookie somehow draws the attention of this particular Were and he draws blood from her shoulder in an altercation, giving them a motive to kill him. Alcide and Sookie quickly decide to get rid of the body and set out to discover who planted the dead body in Alcide’s house.

Thankfully for this book, Bill is gone for a majority of it because he is being maimed and tortured at Russell Edgington’s house – who happens to be the King of Mississippi – by his maker, Lorena, in order to get more information on the project he is working on for the Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne Leclerq. In his place, Sookie gets visits from Eric at night and Alcide keeps her company through the day.

Quite a few important things happen in this book and we see an evolution in Sookie begin. First, she gets staked; an action that is deadly to a vampire, but just tragic and life threatening for her. Second, she saves Bill with the help of Eric’s blood. This is important because it marks a change in their relationship as Sookie receives Eric’s blood in a very ‘special’ and intimate way. Third, while saving Bill, she also kills a vampire. It is the first time she has taken a life. Finally, she gets beaten, raped, drained, and by the end of the book she hits a breaking point. In the five months she has been with Bill and been privy to secrets beyond most human’s comprehension, she reaches a point where she’s willing to stand up and say “enough”.

With all of those things taken into account, I give Club Dead four kisses. It is filled with action, mystery, and some awesomely creative solutions to problems. While it is clear the best is still yet to come in the series, it is all leading somewhere in Sookie’s life. Despite my fears of where the ending will take her, it is clear she will look to the future with a clearer and stronger mind than she had when she entered their world.

"It's much better," Eric said, and I gasped. I hadn't felt him rouse from his suspended animation. Eric was wearing silk boxers. I would have figured him for a Jockey man.

"Thank you, Eric." I didn't care for how shaky I sounded, but an obligation is an obligation.

"For what?" His hand gently stroked my stomach.

"For standing by me in the club. For coming here with me. For not leaving me alone with all these people."

"How grateful are you?" he whispered, his mouth hovering over mine. His eyes were very alert now, and his gaze was boring into mine.

"That kind of ruins it, when you say something like that," I said, trying to keep my voice gentle. "You shouldn't want me to have sex with you just because I owe you."

"I don't really care why you have sex with me, as long as you do it," he said, equally gently. His mouth was on mine then. Try as I might to stay detached, I wasn't too successful. For one thing, Eric had had hundreds of years to practice his kissing technique, and he'd used them to good advantage. I snuck my hands up to his shoulders, and I am ashamed to say I responded. As sore and tired as my body was, it wanted what it wanted, and my mind and will were running far behind. Eric seemed to have six hands, and they were everywhere, encouraging my body to have its way. A finger slid under the elastic of my (minimal) panties, and glided right into me.

I made a noise, and it was not a noise of rejection. The finger began moving in a wonderful rhythm. Eric's mouth seemed bent on sucking my tongue down his throat. My hands were enjoying the smooth skin and the muscles that worked underneath it. Then the window flew open, and Bubba crawled in.

"Miss Sookie! Mr. Eric! I tracked you down!" Bubba was proud.

"Oh, good for you, Bubba," Eric said, ending the kiss.

I clamped my hand on his wrist, and pulled his hand away. He allowed me to do it. I am nowhere near as strong as the weakest vampire.

"Bubba, have you been here the whole time? Here in Jackson?" I asked, once I had some wits in my head. It was a good thing Bubba had come in, though Eric didn't think so.

"Mr. Eric told me to stick with you," Bubba said simply. He settled into a low chair tastefully upholstered in flowered material. He had a dark lock of hair falling over his forehead, and he was wearing a gold ring on every finger. "You get hurt bad at that club, Miss Sookie?"

"It's a lot better now," I said.

"I'm sorry I didn't do my job, but that little critter guarding the door wouldn't let me in. He didn't seem to know who I was, if you can believe that."

Since Bubba himself hardly remembered who he was, and had a real fit when he did, maybe it wasn't too surprising that a goblin wouldn't be current on American popular music.

"But I saw Mr. Eric carrying you out, so I followed you."

"Thank you, Bubba. That was real smart."

He smiled, in a slack and dim sort of way. "Miss Sookie, what you doing in bed with Mr. Eric if Bill is your boyfriend?"

"That's a real good question, Bubba," I said. I tried to sit up, but I couldn't do it. I made a little pain sound, and Eric cursed in another language.

"I am going to give her blood, Bubba," Eric said. "Let me tell you what I need you to do."|

"Sure," Bubba said agreeably.

[ . . . ]
"I know Bill is here," I said, after I'd thought this over for a moment. "And no matter what we almost just did—thank God for Bubba—I need to find Bill. The best time to get him out of here would be while all you vampires are asleep. Can he move at all during the daytime?"

"If he knows he is in great danger, he may be able to stagger," Eric said, slowly and thoughtfully. "Now I am even more sure you will need my blood, because you need strength. He will need to be covered thoroughly. You will need to take the blanket off this bed; it's thick. How will you get him out of here?"

"That's where you come in," I said. "After we do this blood thing, you need to go get me a car—a car with a great big trunk, like a Lincoln or a Caddy. And you need to get the keys to me. And you'll need to sleep somewhere else. You don't want to be here when they wake up and find their prisoner is gone."

Eric's hand was resting quietly on my stomach, and we were still wrapped up together in the bedding. But the situation felt completely different.

"Sookie, where will you take him?"

"An underground place," I said uncertainly. "Hey, maybe Alcide's parking garage! That's better than being out in the open."

Eric sat up against the headboard. The silk boxers were royal blue. He spread his legs and I could see up the leg hole. Oh, Lord. I had to close my eyes. He laughed.

"Sit up with your back against my chest, Sookie. That will make you more comfortable."

He carefully eased me up against him, my back to his chest, and wrapped his arms around me. It was like leaning against a firm, cool, pillow. His right arm vanished, and I heard a little crunch sound. Then his wrist appeared in front of my face, blood running
from the two wounds in his skin.

"This will cure you of everything," Eric said.

[ . . . ]
Eric was giving me a great gift. I have never been what you would call squeamish, thank goodness. I closed my mouth over the little wounds, and I sucked.

Eric moaned, and I could tell quickly that he was once again pleased to be in such close contact. He began to move a little, and there wasn't a lot I could do about it. His left arm was keeping me firmly clamped against him, and his right arm was, after all, feeding me. It was still hard not to be icked out by the process. But Eric was definitely having a good time, and since with every pull I felt better, it was hard to argue with myself that this was a bad thing to be doing. I tried not to think, and I tried not to move myself in response. I remembered the time I'd taken Bill's blood because I needed extra strength, and I remembered Bill's reaction.

Eric pressed against me even harder, and suddenly he said, "Ohhhhh," and relaxed all over. I felt wetness against my back, and I took one deep, last draw. Eric groaned again, a deep and guttural sound, and his mouth trailed down the side of my neck.

"Don't bite me," I said. I was holding on to the remnants of my sanity with difficulty. What had excited me, I told myself, was my memory of Bill; his reaction when I'd bitten him, his intense arousal.

Eric just happened to be here. I couldn't have sex with a vampire, especially Eric, just because I found him attractive—not when there would be such dire consequences. I was just too strung out to enumerate those consequences to myself. I was an adult, I told myself sternly; true adults don't have sex just because the other person is skilled and pretty.

Eric's fangs scraped my shoulder.

* * * * *



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K R Y S T L ERed lips


  1. Great Review Krystle. I can't stand Bill. I was glad he was gone during most of this book as well. Book 4 is my fav.
    Amanda @ Sisters Unedited

    1. Thank you, Sisters Unedited! While I think book 4 is most people's favorite, I have to admit it made some of the books after it really crappy in comparison. Thanks for reading and sharing your thought's with us!

  2. Great job, Krystle! Hiya Sisters Unedited! Woot! - book 4 is my absolute fave, too! I love the Viking <3

    1. *blushes* Thank you. Hey, I figured out how to reply to reviews! XD Took me long enough!


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