As a long-time fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series, I'd been anxiously awaiting All Together Dead, the 7th installment in the Southern Vampire series for some time. Sadly, I was mostly disappointed by this latest effort. My first reaction was that it felt as if the book had been written by someone else. All the great characters are still there, but they just don't sound quite right. This certainly didn't stop me from reading the book, but I didn't burn through All Together Dead as fast as I normally do with the Sookie novels, and I often had to re-read bits of dialogue before they made sense. In the end, it was a good story, but getting to the end wasn't as enjoyable as it normally is with Charlaine Harris's books.
Ms. Harris did a good job of recognizing the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and working her story around it, but that doesn't change the fact that parts of the book didn't quite flow. The stories that were took place back in Bon Temps felt truncated, and the overall mystery was full of big, glaring clues that left me frustrated with the characters for missing them.
All that aside, there were still some great things about All Together Dead. Sookie has grown quite a bit in these last 2 novels, and I think that's important for the future of the series - things need to advance in order to keep the stories interesting and believable. I love that she has a new roommate, and that she's becoming more of a prominent figure in the supernatural world. I enjoyed getting to know Barry the other telepath, and liked that he and Sookie figured out how to work together to achieve better results. And I'm actually a big fan of Quinn, so I also enjoyed the growth of their relationship as well.
Overall, the character development was great, and I'm eager to see where Harris will take Sookie and her supernatural crew in the future, but All Together Dead was not the best installment of the series.