Deadlocked - Charlaine Harris While reading Deadlocked, the latest novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series, I was reminded of a quote by Stephen King from On Writing:

"If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind — they begin to seem like characters instead of real people. The tale’s narrative cutting edge starts to rust and I begin to lose my hold on the story’s plot and pace. Worst of all, the excitement of spinning something new begins to fade. The work starts to feel like work, and for most writers that is the smooch of death."

This is what I imagine happened to Charlaine Harris while writing the last few books in this series. The characters have become stale, and the pacing and plot are all over the place. I don't get the sense that Harris got any enjoyment out of writing Deadlocked and I certainly didn't get much enjoyment out of reading it. The plot was almost nonexistent. I honestly don't think that Harris had enough story to fill three additional book when she signed that final book deal. As a result, this book is packed with a lot of boring filler about mundane tasks like filling out IRS tax forms and checking email. Harris also spends an entire paragraph talking about the installation of employee lockers at Merlotte's, I kid you not. The fairy storyline continues to bore me. The only positive thing I can say about the plot is that it looks like the fairies may be gone for good this time so I won't have to read about them too much in the next book, although I won't be surprised if they make an appearance.

The characters also feel like flat cardboard cutouts, completely unrecognizable from how they were at the beginning of the series. Sookie spends an extraordinary amount of time being angry and pitying herself. Harris continues to trash Eric's character in order to justify Sookie ending up with someone else Sam. Even Bill, who I never liked, seems to have lost what little spark he had. He spends all of his time pining over Sookie and creepily showing up at her house randomly. Alcide continues to be unlikable, and pretty much every female character who catches the attention of one of Sookie's many love interests (both current and former) turns out to be evil in some way.

It's sad to see what has become of this once entertaining series. I will be reading the next installment but only because it's the last in the series and I hate to leave things unfinished when I'm this close to the end.