sorry, that was bad! I am a big Charlaine Harris fan and only mildly interested in vampires. But the combination of a an uncontrollably mind-reading heroine, newly legal vampires, a serial killer, a shape-shifter -- how could I resist? I find I don't want to say much at all about the plot, as it's too easy to give away some really exciting twists. It's fair to say that the story postulates vampires as a newly-emerged legal minority (word is they've been victimized by superstition, when really the poor people have been subjected to a terrible virus) with attendant vampire-philics and phobics roiling the waters of cultural change. Vampires can now subsist on artificial blood, so they don't have to be a danger to anyone. Harris has thought through vampire culture and the interaction of that culture with "normal" society to great effect -- the book would be fun to read just for that .
I have to admit, though, that nothing about the vampires interested me as much as the main character, Sookie. If you think you want to be able to know what other people are thinking, the limitations of Sookie's life will make you think again. She's brave, brilliant and decent and watching her (and her sex life) develop is a true joy.
Meanwhile, the book is tightly and extravagantly plotted and the psychological effects are fascinating and disturbing, absolutely gripping. Read it over a weekend or on vacation so you won't have to put it down -- you'll just have to know what happens next!
Harris has set this up to continue as a series, and if she can continue this level of quality, people will be lining up for each new book.