Telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse has few relatives left, so losing one definitely hurts. Cousin Hadley had become a vampire and was, in fact, the lover of the Vampire Queen of New Orleans. In the wake of his final death, the Queen requests Sookie's presence, so she has little choice but to appear.

On a brighter note, Sookie's dating life is looking up. The powerful and sexy were-tiger Quinn comes calling, but their first date ends in shambles when they're attacked by several recently turned werewolves on drugs. Who was the target?

Things don't get much better when Sookie arrives in New Orleans. Her inheritance from Hadley appears laden with hidden dangers. Someone wants to keep whatever secrets he left buried deep.

Life is never easy for Sookie, which is bad for her but great for readers. This series always keeps you guessing and utterly intrigued. Sookie is a richly drawn and complex character, and rooting for her is a joy. Harris makes combining suspense, the paranormal and romance look easy. (May, 336 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith