"Dead as a Doornail", released in May of 2005, is the fifth book in Award-winning author Charlaine Harris' New York Times best selling series "The Southern Vampire Mysteries", also known as the "Sookie Stackhouse novels", and as of recent, the "True Blood novels". The series of books in which the HBO original series True Blood is based, Dead as a Doornail is the fifth of thirteen novels in the The Southern Vampire Mysteries collection.
In this fifth installment, the fifth Sookie Stackhouse fantasy-mystery puts vampires, were-creatures, shifters and one fairy godmother against a sniper with an apparent aversion to nonhumans. As if trying to discover who's behind the shootings isn't enough, the telepathic cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has to cope with a few other distractions: her sexy "Were" friend, Alcide Herveaux, needs her help in his father's bid to become the next leader of the local werewolf pack; her boss, Sam Merlotte (a collie in his spare time), gets shot; her house partly burns down; and what's she to do about the handsome vampire bartender who dresses as a pirate at Sam's place?
It's the first full moon since Jason was bitten by the werepanthers (in Dead to the World), and Sookie doesn't know how he is going to handle it. Calvin Norris comes to watch over him and help him, and Jason ends up loving turning into a half man/half panther. Sam is shot in the leg, and must recuperate, so cannot run the bar. He asks Sookie to go to Fangtasia to ask Eric to lend him a bartender while he is out. Eric sends their new bartender, Charles Twining, who is very nice to Sookie. Calvin Norris is also shot and seriously wounded, and Sookie learns that other shifters and were animals are being shot throughout Louisiana. Calvin suspects Jason, based on the theory that Jason is angry at weres for turning him into a werepanther. Known for dispensing their own kind of justice, the real shooter needs to be found before the werepanthers turn on Jason. Colonel Flood, leader of the Long Tooth pack of Shreveport, is also killed (supposedly by accident), and Alcide brings Sookie to the funeral as his date. The quest for new packleader begins: it's either Alcide's dad or Patrick Furnam. Alcide hopes Sookie's telepathic abilities will give him an advantage. Bill begins to date Selah Pumphrey.
Someone tries to burn down Sookie's house, but she is saved by her fairy godmother, Claudine. A dead man (killed by Charles Twining during the fire) is found outside her house, covered in gasoline, with a FotS card in his wallet, so he is blamed for the arson.
Sookie is also shot while leaving the library, presumably because she associates with shifters. She discovers that her bullet matches the bullets of all the others who were killed, except Sam's. Later, Sookie is in an alley with Sam (as a dog) trying to find the killer, when Sweetie Des Arts, Merlotte's cook, comes at her with a gun. Sweetie explains that she was bitten and became part shifter, and kills any shifter she comes in contact with. She shoots Tray Dawson, a werewolf who was sent to protect Sookie by Calvin Norris (who wants to marry Sookie), but she is then killed by Andy Bellefleur, who is a believer in Sookie's talent, and realizes there are other supes out there. Sookie claims she has relations with Tray, and takes him to get taken care of. Back at the Bar, she realizes that someone keeps calling over and over, and Charles Twining tells her it is a prank call. The befuddled Bubba shows up at the back door to tell Sookie Eric has been trying to reach her, and adds "He's a hit man, he isn't what he seems". She is then attacked by Charles Twining. It turns out he was sent by Hot Rain, Longshadow's "maker", to hurt Eric, who had killed Longshadow (in Dead Until Dark). While Eric had paid restitution for the killing, Hot Rain felt that Eric's penalty was not enough, and that he wanted to take something Eric held dear, and believed Eric felt that way about Sookie. Twining was the one who shot Sam, knowing that Sookie would come looking for a fill in, and he is also the one who set fire to Sookie's house, then framed an innocent man for it.
In a subplot, Tara Thornton has been dumped by vampire Franklin Mott, whom she dated in Club Dead, and is now under the thumb of the very scary Mickey—it turns out Franklin Mott gave her to Mickey as part of a debt payment. It used to be common for vampires to trade around their groupies, draining them to death when they grew bored. Sookie appeals to Eric, who arranges to have Mickey free Tara. Mickey becomes enraged, attacks Tara, wounds Eric, and tries to kill Sookie. In exchange for his help, Sookie must tell Eric what happened during the days he cannot remember (in Dead to the World). Sookie tells him about their passionate sexual relationship, as well as about how she killed Debbie Pelt.
The competition for wolfpack leader takes place and there are different rounds to test the werewolves' strength. Sookie discovers that Patrick is cheating. She tells everyone, and as punishment, the judges make the final test one that must be done until grievous injury or death. Patrick wins, and then, after declared victor, kills Alcide's father anyway.
Characters in Dead as DoornailEdit
- Alcide Herveaux
- Andy Bellefleur
- Calvin Norris
- Claude Crane
- Crystal Norris
- Dr. Ludwig
- Jason Stackhouse
- Halleigh Robinson
- Patrick Furnan
- Tara Thornton
- Tray Dawson
- Selah Pumphrey
- Sam Merlotte
- Charles Twining: Vampire. Sent by Hot Rain ( Long Shadow's sire) to hurt and kill Sookie thus hurting Eric. He is staked by Catfish.
- Christine Larrabee - Werewolf. She is a former packmaster's wife and a respected member of the Shreveport pack.
- Jackson Herveaux - Werewolf. Alcide's father and candidate for packmaster. He is killed by the other competing candidate, Patrick Furnan.
- Mickey -Vampire and a mean spirited man who likes the old ways. He is depicted as a slim and narrow shouldered man with slicked-back hair. He has long fingernails and a sharp face. Sookie describes his eyes as "cold and hostile as a snake’s.”
- Salome Agrippa - Mickey's sire.
- Sweetie Des Arts - Fraction shifter who has been bitten by a half-man half-wolf in a car accident. Hired to be Merlotte's cook, she secretly enacts a vendetta against all shifters, shooting any shifter she comes across. She has killed twenty-two of them and injured forty-one. She shoots Dawson, but she is killed by Andy Bellefleur.