Book review - Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 1) Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out.... Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.
Our Guest Reviewer Stacey O'Neale has also reviewed the wildly popular twilight series
Dead Until Dark: Review by Stacey O'Neale
Sookie Stackhouse (POV) is a waitress at a bar named Merlotte's a fictional town named Bon Temps in the state of Louisiana. Sookie lives with her grandmother Adele Stackhouse and has an older brother Jason. She has the ability to hear people’s thoughts which makes it nearly impossible for her to have a relationship with anyone. Most people think she’s weird and she has very few friends. One of her closest friends is her boss Sam who owns the bar and also knows about her abilities. In Sookie’s world vampires have recently come out to the public and become legal citizens after the Japanese developed a synthetic blood. TruBlood makes it possible for vampires to live in the open without the need to kill humans to drink their blood for survival.
While working at Merlotte’s, Sookie meets her first vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill Compton. Sookie is intrigued by Bill because she cannot hear his thoughts. She later finds out she cannot hear the thoughts of vampires which is very alluring to her considering she has a difficult time shutting out human thoughts. After Bill leaves the bar, he is attacked by the Rattrays (vampire drainers), and Sookie saves him. The Rattrays come back days later and try to kill Sookie for interfering but Bill returns the favor and saves her by giving her some of his blood. Vampire blood has healing abilities to humans so vampire blood is very valuable on the black market. The side affect to drinking the blood is that Bill has a sort of psychic connection to Sookie and can now find her where ever she is.
During this time, there are several murders in Bon Temps, and people start to believe that Bill is behind the murders. Bill is the only known vampire resident and the victims all had fang marks. The Bon Temps police eventually suspect Sookie's brother Jason and arrest him because he has been romantically linked to two of the victims. Sookie’s grandmother wants her to use her abilities to help her brother so she asks her to listen in on people to see if she can find a suspect. Bill takes her to a vampire bar called Fangtasia in nearby Shreveport so that she can see if any of the victims have been there before their deaths.
Fangtasia is owned by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff who is much older and more powerful than Bill. Eric is attracted to Sookie but Sookie is only interested in Bill. Eric soon discovers that Sookie can be useful and orders Bill to have her use her telepathic ability to determine the identity of the person who has been stealing from his bar. Sookie finds out that Eric's partner, Long Shadow (vampire), has been stealing the money and she almost gets killed in the process. Eric saves Sookie's life by staking Long Shadow when he attacks her.
Back in Bon Temps, Sookie finds her grandmother Adele slaughtered in the kitchen. Sookie realizes that people who are connected with vampires are the ones being murdered and she fears for her life. Sookie is overwhelmed with emotion and she feels very alone. She turns to Bill and they eventually have sex. This is Sookie’s first time. Sex with vampires is way better than sex with humans.
Sookie invites a stray dog sleep beside her when she feels alone. She gets the shock of her life when she wakes up and finds a naked Sam in the morning. Sam is a shape-shifter.
While Bill is gone, Sookie discovers the murderer. He is her brother's friend Rene Lenier who also happens to be dating Sookie’s waitress friend, Arlene. Rene almost kills her, but she fights back but is badly injured. The book ends with Sookie waking up in the hospital. Bill is by her side and tells her that he has become his area's investigator, working under Eric.
I liked the book and I thought it was interesting to see what life might be like if vampires were part of society. The author writes from a very southern perspective. She really paints a clear picture of life in Bon Temps, Louisiana. This is also the series of books that spawned the HBO series, True Blood. It’s definitely an adult read with pretty specific details regarding sex with vampires. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in vampires or reality based fantasy.