Charlaine Harris picks up with Sookie's traumatic story in Club Dead. Not quite a romance novel, The Sookie Stackhouse Series depicts Sookie's life since vampires entered it as one of abuse and misfortune. In this third book, Bill and Sookie are still an item until Bill mysteriously disappears, leaving Sookie confused and alone in Bon Temps.
Bill's disappearance sends Sookie on a journey to find out where he's gone. She heads into the Fangtasia, the well-known vampire bar, to engage Eric Northman as her champion in finding Bill. She doesn't get the response that she expects when Eric questions her why she should want to find a man she knows nothing about, one who has been lying to her about his reason for knowing her. Eric drops a bomb on Sookie by telling her Bill is not kidnapped. Eric takes a moment to remind Sookie how interested he is in becoming her second lover in her life before dropping the bomb that Bill is in Mississippi with his maker Lorena.
When summoned by the maker, a vampire obeys. This disappointing news doesn't stop Sookie from heading to Mississippi without even knowing what trouble it entails for her. Eric drops one more bomb on Sookie before letting leave - Bill came seeking her out because of a project he is working on for the Queen of Louisiana. Sookie, armed with questions more than love, sets out to find Bill in foreign territory. Alcide Herveaux arrives in time for the quest at the behest of Eric whom he owes a favor. A nice looking man, with his own truck and home, Alcide represents another possible beau for Sookie if he could just get over his nasty ex Debbie.
Alcide is dark, handsome, and a werewolf. Sookie can't escape these dangerous men. She and Alcide head to Mississippi to find Bill. They stay in a place of Alcide's while the Werewolf grapples with his personal issues and Sookie with her own. The trip finds them at a Werewolf bar where Sookie meets the nasty ex and pretends to be Alcide's love interest. In defending Alcide, the telepath reads the minds of locals and finds out Bill's location.
Sookie's strength and beauty threaten Debbie. Sookie gains a new adversary on her mission. Meanwhile, she heads on to Bill's location. He's locked away in the King of Mississippi's compound. Russell Edgington, though one of the boys, takes in interest in Sookie after seeing her in the Werewolf bar. This helps her gain entry into his set and she finds a world where vampires use the local werewolves for protection and menace. Once inside the compound Sookie finds a captive Bill at Lorena's mercy. Her work, never done, is to free the vampire before he meets his true death at the hands of his conniving maker.
Trouble follows Sookie even during her rescue/escape mission. As she tries to make her way from Mississippi she finds herself plunged into a dark trunk with the bled out vampire whom she loves. However, a bled vampire is an enraged, hungry wreck. Sookie soon learns the consequences of being in so many close encounters when she is attacked by the deranged hungry Bill, a Bill she truly does not know. Sookie is just barely saved by Eric, because she has had his blood and he senses her danger, in time enough to pass out in the middle of a trunk in a parking garage.
Sookie can never quite come out of these escapades safely. Constantly victimized for her love, she is an example of one who should give up but does not. Harris keeps the Sookie Stackhouse series relevant and entertaining with drama and irreverence.
Angelic Jones is a freelance writer for Austin Weekly News.