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Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

CoverI'm always excited to get a new Sookie Stackhouse book on audio. In my opinion, there is no better way to experience these books. Johanna Parker is such an engaging audio actress that she brings Sookie and the other characters to life in such an engaging and entertaining way that my own brain simply can't compare when I'm reading print. In fact, I've been working on reading the print version of one of the earlier Sookie books (because my library doesn't have it on audio), and I try to imagine Parker reading it as I do. It's just not the same.

As far as books in general go, anything Sookie Stackhouse beats out most any other commercial fiction. The only book I can think of that I'd read ahead of Sookie, if given the choice, is probably George R.R. Martin's latest, but that's only because it's been so many ga-zillion years wait for Dance With Dragons. Otherwise, Sookie always jumps to the top of my reading list when it's available. Charlaine Harris never disappoints with a new Sookie installment and every Sookie book is better than the majority of books in its genre.

That said, the inevitable path of the reviewer charged with the task of reviewing one of her favorites is to compare the book to others in its company, in this case, to others in its series. As Sookie Stackhouse books go, this one was slow moving in the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I could listen to Sookie eating breakfast if Johanna Parker were reading her internal thought monologue, but I found myself wondering where the book was going for much of the first half. Sookie books often have somewhat meandering plot lines, but even with that expectation, this book took some time to form into a distinctive plot. Looking back, there were events important to the resolution of the plot that happened early on, but without a distinctive "inciting incident" near the beginning of the book, it left the story directionless for a time.

Once again, this book is a great read and a must for Sookie fans. Don't expect the best of the series, but do expect reliable entertainment.

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