Sookie Stackhouse is slowly recovering from her near-death experience in the previous book. She realizes that she has a lot of pent up anger, and she has certainly changed from the innocent, rather lonely young woman of the first books. Now she's in a relationship with a very powerful vampire, but she also worries that their connection could be weakening his resolve in the continuing power struggle with the vampires. She is also still not entirely safe, some may try to threaten or kill her to get to him.
She is no longer so alone, though, and realizes, partially through examining the losses of all those who have died around her, that she has many close ties, to both the human and supernatural community. Her recently widowed brother seems to have found happiness again, and has become a lot less self-centred as a result of his losses. Two of her friends are pregnant, and while not everyone is delighted at the recent coming-out of the werewolves and other two-natured creatures, Sookie is loyal and fiercely defends her boss and other friends.
Her previous roommate moves out and goes back to New Orleans, but she acquires another, in the form of her super hot strip club owning faerie cousin, who claims he feels lonely after the death of his sisters. Claude is not the only faerie left around after the recent war, and Sookie is worried when she is told there are clear signs of unknown faeries in the forest around her house. Then a fresh body is discovered, and someone has clearly buried it there to get her in trouble.
Added to all this, her boyfriend's maker and his new protegee shows up in town and creates all manner of trouble, both for Sookie and her undead lover. Her boyfriend's "brother" was turned when he was 13, and has a very troubled past - which seems to have turned him insane.
I preferred this book to Dead and Gone, possibly because I like my Sookie Stackhouse books to be a lighthearted entertainment, and the main character of a book being kidnapped, tortured and nearly killed does not spell out lighthearted to me. In this one, Sookie has both physical and mental scars, but has emerged safe and strong, if a lot less innocent and kindhearted. Dead in the Family was one of the better of the ten books, but Charlaine Harris does seem to like end her books very abruptly. I almost wondered if there was a page or two missing when I got to the end, before I remembered that she often ends her books that way.