As if Sookie Stackhouse just doesn't have enough to worry about, Jason Stackhouse joins the supernatural world in Charlaine Harris's novel, Dead as a Doornail. The author strays from the exciting Sookie formula novels with a dry sidebar about the character's brother, Jason, who just can't see to escape trouble.
Book five finds him becoming a panther on page one, adding fear for Jason's safety to the mounting problems Sookie has since she discovered the supernatural world.
Dead as a Doornail begins with the expected change of Jason into a panther under the guidance of Calvin Norris. Since meeting Norris in Hotshot, his hankering for Sookie endears him to help her out, even with her aggravating brother causing problems on Norris' home turf with the relationship with his niece. Hotshots' secrets are now part of Bon Temps as Jason crosses over into a creature of the night. While Jason is being inducted into the culture, Sookie takes time to reminisce on her now defunct relationship with Vampire Bill. She met him at Merlottes, her full-time job that she rarely goes to because of her busy life. Working with vampires has netted her cash to keep her and her house secure for now. She can continue to work and focus on her brother, the main man in her life at the moment.
Trouble is never far behind though. Sookie worries about Jason, and Tara delves further into the vampire world with a relationship with a second vampire, Mickey. Mickey makes his presence known so much that Sookie starts to worry for her safety. What she finds is that Tara is now part of the intricate world vampires maintain outside the law. In it, Tara is property that can be passed from one vamp to the next. Sookie can't forcibly extricate Tara from Mickey's hold; he's taken up residence and now Sookie can't get Tara out.
To make matters worse, Sam is shot in the leg by someone hunting weres. Of course, as the most tenured Merlotte's employee, Sookie is now in charge of the bar-adding to her level of responsibility while also searching for the hunter who is also hunting her because of her connections to the were world. Bill adds to her troubles by bringing his date into Merlotte's to be waited on by Sookie and she is forced to hold everything together as her tenuous balance falls apart.
In the end, Sookie is no better off than when she started and she has to work that much harder to avoid being dead as a doornail herself.
Angelic Jones is a freelance writer
for Austin Weekly News.