The Daily Bongo

Dead Until Dark

I just finished reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. This book was the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series and was used as a basis for the HBO series True Blood. Sookie is telepathic: she has the ability to read people's thoughts. At times, this has been a problem in her life, but she has learned how to block out the noise. Sookie has a job as a waitress at the local bar, Merlotte's, in Bon Temps, Louisiana. The world is a different place in the books. Vampires are accepted members of society. Well, maybe accepted is too strong a word. At the very least, they walk openly amongst the humans, explaining their condition by claiming they there are infected with a virus that makes them allergic to sunshine, garlic, and silver.

Sookie meets one of the vampires when Bill Compton moves into Bon Temps. Bill wants to mainstream, live openly with humans, and has moved into his family home next door to Sookie. Not all the town's residents accept vampires, and shortly after Bill moves into town, two women are murdered. Both have old bite marks on them, but they died from strangulation. The situation is further complicated for Sookie when she begins a relationship with Bill and the authorities discover that her brother Jason dated both women. Sookie realizes that she is supposed to be the next victim when her grandmother is found murdered in the house that both women shared. Sookie has to put her telepathic skills to use to clear Bill and Jason and to prevent herself from becoming the next victim.

The book was a good mix of fantasy and mystery. We have vampires and shape shifters mingling with humans. It makes me wonder what other paranormal types show up in later volumes. The action was fast paced, and Sookie was very well written. I found myself caring about what happened to her. The relationship between Bill and Sookie takes a sexual turn, and some of the scenes are slightly graphic. Although there was a mystery, there weren't many clues to help in figuring it out. With that said, it was obvious that it was within a small circle.

I have to admit that I didn't think that I would like the book. Why? I had tried to read one of the later books in the series and really had trouble getting into it. I realize now that I didn't know the back-story of the characters to develop any interest in them or to understand why I should care about them. This series obviously benefits from reading in order. I did enjoy the book, and already have a request at my local library for the second book in the series, Living Dead in Dallas.

March 1, 2009