The Low Down: Imagine if you lived in a small town of jabbering gossips. Now imagine if you lived in a town where you not only heard everyone talking, but you heard all of their thoughts, too. Sookie Stackhouse is telepathic. She has learned how to try and block out all of the noise, but it doesn’t keep everyone in Bon Temps, Louisiana from thinking she’s crazy. Anywhere there’s lots of people is difficult, like school, for example, so she decided not to go to college. She can’t have a boyfriend because she hears what they are thinking. So, her life is working at Merlotte’s, a bar in town, and tries to mind her own business.
It’s been two years since vampires came out of the casket, so to speak, and they are trying to find their place in a society that is, by all rights, still a little scared of them. A Japanese company has designed a synthetic blood which keeps them from having to feed off of their less-dead neighbors. But prejudice, being what it is, causes many to go on the rampage against vampires, while the cult of celebrity, being what it is, causes just as many “fang bangers” to chase the undead and offer themselves up as snacks. There’s never been a vampire in Bon Temps until the day Bill Compton moves in, and the town is equal parts scared and fascinated. But none are more fascinated than Sookie. And when she saves him from a brutal draining, he is in her debt. Not that he minds one iota.
Sookie and her brother, Jason, grew up with their grandmother after their parents died in a flash flood. Jason has since moved out into their parents’ old house, but Sookie remains, keeping an eye on Gran. Jason is a hot womanizer, and since Bon Temps is a small town, he’s probably been with just about every female there. Unfortunately for him, some of his conquests are turning up dead. And since he likes to videotape their encounters, he becomes suspect number one.
Best Thang ‘Bout It: It’s a vampire book for grown-ups. Wanting to start the True Blood series, I kept my pledge and read the book first. I am pleased to say that, with the exception of a main character, the show is really true to the book. I know that can be difficult, so I applaud HBO for that. Sometimes it makes no sense to me why movies or TV changes or omits something altogether, especially when it is trivial. I love that it is set in Northern Louisiana instead of New Orleans. It still has that Louisiana mystique, but is not saturated in French Quarter voodoo.
I’m Cranky Because: I am having a hard time believing that Sookie isn’t more used to handling her gift and that so many people think she’s crazy. You’d think in a small town like that, they’d know her and get it. ‘Specially bein’ in Lou-zeeann. But, I’ve never lived in a small town, this is needed for the plot and I get it. I think it is interesting, though, that in the TV series, she has a mouthy best friend.
Should You?: If you enjoy small towns, vampires, romance, rednecks, sex, telepaths, blood, gore and mystery, this is your book.
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris was published on May 1, 2001 by Ace Books.
Genre: Fiction Fantasy Paranormal Romance Mystery