Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris is the latest in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series. The last offering, Dead Reckoning, got a lot of bad reviews and I was hoping that Deadlocked would provide a strong story line leading to the end of the series, which Ms. Harris has stated will be in the next book, to be released in May 2013. I am sorry to say, that the book I expected/hoped for is not the book I read. I was truly hoping for an action packed story with a terrific cliffhanger that will pull everything together in the final book. What I read was a book that could have fit anywhere in the series, not chronologically of course, but I certainly didn't feel like any type of anticipation was being built toward the end of the series. Nor did I feel that the actual story was all that great. The plot was too convoluted and although I will admit that the antagonist in this story was a bit unexpected, the resolution was too simple and didn't always make sense to me.
I have been a fan of this series since I picked up Dead Until Dark. I've found the stories to be well-written and the characters well-developed and believable, within the world they inhabit. And, of course, I will read the final book to see how it all ends. However, I don't have high hopes for the next book. It seems to me that it will sum up the happily ever afters of various characters without any real substance to the story. As a reader, I'd love to see Sookie get her life with Eric straightened out and find a way to live happily ever after with him. I'd love to read that they start their happily ever after and be disappointed that the series has ended. Unfortunately, based on the last two books of the series, I don't expect that to happen. I expect a lot of convenient endings, including an "aha" moment for Sookie where she realizes that someone else in her life is the 'one for her' giving her an easy ending that requires little imagination on the part of the reader or the writer.