on April 8, 2002
I normally expect my heroines to be tough, women who can coolly assess a situation then kick butt. What I got in Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris, is a heroine who is kind of kooky, reads minds, dates a vampire, and isn't afraid to yell for help when she's in a situation way over her head. While this sounds like a turn off from what I normally expect, believe me, it isn't. There is no way not to like cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse. She's got a figure to kill for, the uncanny ability to read minds, doesn't care about conventional society, and is pretty content with her life until she is reminded she is on loan out to help the vampires.
It seems that Sookie and her vampire boyfriend Bill have agreed for Sookie to help the vampires when they need help. The leader of the local nest of vampires, Eric is sending Sookie to Dallas to look for a missing vampire. For those of you who have read the first book in this series, take heart, the gorgeous Eric plays a larger role. Now take a backwater gal out of her little hometown and send her by plane to Dallas with her boyfriend traveling in a coffin and see what happens! Sookie ends up way over her head dealing with vampires, werewolves, and fanatics who want to end the existence of all supernatural beings. There is also a subplot with Sookie dealing with the death of one of her friends who just happened to be a member of a sex club. Use your imagination and you can pretty well guess what happens with this plot!
Charlaine Harris has taken Sookie to another level. While she is still the ditsy waitress we were first introduced to in Dead Until Dark, she has managed to develop into a likeable heroine, who while still unconventional, captivates our attention and makes us root for her throughout the book. Like everyone else, I can't wait until the next book to see what new mess Sookie manages to get into.
on May 21, 2002
Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire novels (Dead Until Dark and LIving Dead in Dallas)are reminiscent of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series,(a series I thoroughly enjoy reading over and over) but Sookie, the heroine of Ms. Harris's novels is less like Anita Blake and more like Stephanie Plum, Janet Evanovich's bounty Hunter ( another thoroughly enjoyable and re-readable series) Anita Blake is more polished and experienced, more at ease with her supernatural abilities than Sookie. Sookie is more human and fallible, kind of a Calamity Jane, but very likable. Her budding romance with a newly arrived vampire is fraught with misunderstandings between species, but they manage to communicate very well anyway. The vampires in this series make no excuses for what they are, predators, but still have a not so nasty side, especially since they are trying to "mainstream" and live with humans. Ms Harris throws in a few shapeshifters, colorful local residents, and reprehensible villains, both human and supernatural. Prepare to sit yourself down for a wonderful read. The plots were well thought out and equally well written. I am eagerly looking forward to her the next book in this series.
The last thing Sookie wanted was to find Lafayette Reynold's body in the back Andy Bellefleur's car. Lafayette was the cook at Merlotte's Bar, where Sookie waited on tables. Andy was a police detective who left his car at the bar because he was too drunk to drive it home. Now Bon Temps, Louisiana is a small rural town, where murders are mercifully rare. However, anything like this is bound to be a major headache for Sookie, who is telepathic, and whose boyfriend is Vampire Bill, the town's major predator. Make that ex-predator; Bill is one of the good people, getting his nourishment from artificial blood these days. As does any vampire who wants to fit into the mainstream world.
But a simple murder case is not enough. Before Sookie and Bill can look into Lafayette's death, Eric, the local vampire leader, summons them to Shreveport. Eric has agreed to send them to Dallas, where Sookie's telepathic talents are needed to solve a disappearing vampire problem. Even before they get to Shreveport, stuff happens. Sookie has a run in with a maenad, who wants tribute from Eric, and decides to write him a note about it on Sookie's back. Bill barely gets Sookie to Eric's lair, where she can be healed. Don't expect Dallas to be any better. There, Sookie finds herself in conflict the local anti-vampire club, 'The Fellowship of the Sun,' and scheduled for sacrifice.
That, in two paragraphs, is just a hint of all the contents of Charlaine Harris's latest thriller about Sookie Stackhouse, northern Louisiana's answer to Anita Blake. And a very good answer she is. It's unfair to make a direct comparison, since the authors have different intentions, but Sookie is a near total contrast with Laurell Hamilton's heroine. Now no one who is a telepath and dates a vampire is 'normal,' but Sookie manages to come across as mostly 'just folks.' As do many of the other characters in the book. There is plenty of serious action, but Sookie's narration includes plenty of humor and wry insights as well.
There's quite a bit of sex as well, in case that's an issue for you. However, it's much less complex than what Anita Blake gets into. Harris has given Sookie's narration a straightforward, no non-sense style that will quickly make you a believer. If you haven't read the first volume in this series, 'Dead Until Dark,' by all means do so. Charlaine Harris has created a new kind of vampire story, part thriller, part detective story, part parody, and part romance. And just plain fun.
on April 25, 2004
Our favorite cocktail waitress is back again for another adventure. Living Dead in Dallas introduces us to the various political goings on in the vampire world. Sookie and the Vampire Bill have been invited to Dallas. The Dallas Vampire's need Sookie's telepathic skills and she is drafted by Eric, the Viking vampire sheriff of Area 5 to help them. Sookie feels obligated to Eric as he has recently saved her from a very nasty creature with a venomous bit. Off to Dallas she and Bill will go.
Of course things are not as they seem. With a very scary group of religious nuts and a suicidal vampire, Sookie is soon overwhelmed with all that is happening. To complicate life even more, back in Bon Temps one of Sookie's co-workers meets a grisly end. Life will never be simple for Sookie and Bill, but Sookie never expected this much action.
Living Dead in Dallas is another fantastic adventure created by Charlaine Harris. From page one we are thrust into Sookie and Bill's world and the action does not slow down much at all. I loved the description of Dallas with its vampire airline and hotel. This is the kind of book you read all day and night because you are unable to put it down.
Charlaine Harris is the other of three more Sookie novels; Dead Until Dark, Club Dead, and Dead to the World, to be published May, 2004. She is also the author of two popular mystery series; the Aurora Tegarden series and the Lily Bard Shakespeare series.
on April 19, 2002
I just love Charlaine Harris. I started to read her books with Real Murders, the first Aurora Teagarden mystery. I enjoyed the surprising changes the characters went through as that series continued. Next, Ms. Harris began writing the Lily Bard series of mysteries (they all have the word Shakespeare in the title), and once again, I enjoyed the mysteries, the characters, and the interesting way the series grew. Now Charlaine Harris has begun writing vampire mysteries, and the fun has really begun. What's not to like about Sookie Stackhouse? She's cute, she's funny, and she has a definite mind of her own. Then there's her boyfriend Bill the Vampire, her boss Sam the shapeshifter, and a small Louisiana town full of Bon Temps regulars to keep things interesting. I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out.
Charlaine Harris writes mysteries with a strong romantic undercurrent. She creates characters with realistic motivations and reactions. She doesn't follow a stale set of mystery writing rules, like always killing off the least likeable character, or keeping the detective character unchanged. Sometimes her choices as a writer will take your breath away, but that's what keeps her writing fresh and interesting.
Several reviewers mention Laurell K. Hamilton, and there are traces of Anita Blake's world here, but I don't expect to see Sookie packing knives and guns, nor are Charlaine Harris's books quite as "free-form" in their writing style as Hamilton's sometimes are. There is more humor and less gore. In some ways, they remind me more of Tanya Huff's series of vampire detective books, and if you liked both of those series, you'll probably enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse books.
on April 4, 2002
I have eagerly awaited the second book in Ms. Harris' Southern Vampire Series. Dead Until Dark, the first book, was the best book I read last year. I adored it. It was everything Anita Blake SHOULD have been. GREAT characters that you just love. Sookie, the heroine, a telepath who dates a vampire named Bill. Bill, the post civil war vamp who seems to have lots of secrets still.
The characters that you loved in DUD (Dead Until Dark) like Sam, Sookie's boss who is a shapeshifter, Eric, the yummy stud major vamp from this club who lusts after Sookie, all make an appearance in this book too. (Though not as much Sam as you want, I'm sure ;)
The book opens with a murder. But that storyline is quickly put on the backburner when Eric summons Sookie to help him out. It seems a vamp family in Dallas is missing one of theirs and they need Sookie's telepathic skills to interrogate possible witnesses.
Thus, Sookie and boyfriend Billy travel to Dallas, where they encounter more interesting characters, from telepaths, to more shapeshifters and of course, more vamps. But the most frightening people in this book are the humans, and that is simply a biological definition, not a distinction. I like how Ms. Harris shows us that even the most ordinary of us have a little demon inside.
After things are resolved in Dallas, Sookie returns to her town, where the murder plot begins to resolve itself. If you love romance, mystery, adventure and humor, then you will LOVE this book. I cannot wait until the next in this series. Living Dead in Dallas is a definite keeper!
In so many ways, this second of Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries is a huge step down from the first. Having established an atmospheric small town existence for protagonist Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire boyfriend, Harris promptly takes them out of that environment and sends them to Dallas for a dull, seemingly endless adventure. I can see shaking things up a bit and changing a series' venue, but not in the second installment. And the Dallas episode is bookended by a murder mystery so lackluster and pointless that I'm not sure why it's even part of the plot to begin with. First of all, Harris kills off one of her more interesting characters, one with whom she could have gained a lot of future mileage if she'd just kept him alive. And by cramming two plot lines into one book, Harris ends up undermining both, to the point that we care about neither. I also wish Sookie were more of an amateur detective; she "solves" the crimes by reading people's minds, which happens to be a particular ability of hers. This feels like cheating to me; I prefer my sleuths to use their innate intellectual and intuitive skills. Imagine if Hercule Poirot had simply been able to read minds, rather than figure things out by using his "little grey cells." Harris has a terrific sense of humor, and has invented some fun characters here, but what makes a good mystery for me is the actual mystery; if the rest of the series is as dissatisfying and sloppy as "Living Dead in Dallas," I don't see any reason for sticking with it.
This is the second in the Southern Vampire series and continues the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic Southern waitress, and Bill, her vampire boyfriend.
Although I really enjoyed Dead Until Dark, I thought that Living Dead in Dallas was better. It had a faster pace and more subplots to keep me interested. I recommend reading the first book, though, because you will appreciate the characters more. And speaking of characters - every character in Charlaine Harris' books is very memorable and fun to get to know. Sookie is just a scream and readers will fall in love with Bill as he struggles to balance between being a vampire and being human. I love the main characters, but I also want to know more about the supporting characters - the blond-Adonis vampire Eric, the geeky head vampire Stan, the insane maenad, and many, many more. All of Harris' characters are fun to get to know and I hope that I will see more of them in the next book.
Charlaine Harris also has some very interesting vampire ideas that make them seem more real. She adds little random touches throughout the novel that answer questions that you never really knew that you had. For example, some vampires can fly, but how do the rest of them get around? They fly Anubis air, of course. The airline will transport vampires in their coffins during the day and is heavily guarded so that they cannot be attacked. Once you have reached your destination, the discerning vampire will immediately seek out the finest in accomodations. In Dallas, The Silent Shore is a vampire-friendly hotel that even offers room service delivery of "snacks" in whatever blood type you prefer.
If you have not done yourself the favor of reading Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire books, I recommend that you go to your nearest bookstore and buy them now (and be prepared to stay up late to finish them).
This is the second book in the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series.
Right from Chapter one this book will keep you enthralled. Sookie Stackhouse, the telepath waitress and her vampire boyfriend, Bill, have a lot going on in this story. Sookie first discovers a dead body, she is attacked, saved, and then she travels to Dallas where she finds more danger. The book summary pretty much tells you all you need to know any more and you'd have zero surprises. After coming home from Dallas there are some surprisingly real and heartfelt emotions and issues between Sookie and Bill. Ms. Harris does such an excellent job of writing what Sookie is feeling, that you feel it, too. While there is a lot going on in this story, it is woven together, seamlessly, and flows beautifully.
Eric the vampire makes another appearance and all I can say is... yum! He is an excellent character and adds a lot of chemistry and humor to this story. There is also an introduction of another Vampire leader, while his character was important to this story I didn't get the feeling he'd be a major player in future stories. Sookie meets another Shape shifter in Dallas and I have the feeling I will be reading more about her in coming books, I am looking forward to that.
Living Dead in Dallas is an outstanding follow-up to the first book, Dead Until Dark. The story moves fast and has a little bit of everything in it; love, sex, action, sadness, life, death, laughs and drama. I loved it and would highly recommend it, but if you haven't read the first book, I suggest you start there and read this series in order.
on July 6, 2002
This is a fun and enjoyable vampire series. Anita Blake relies too much on gore and not nearly as much sex as people would have you believe. Sookie is funny and some of the plot contrivances are silly enough that they just make you enjoy it all the more. In the first book, for example, Bill the Vampire - Bill! who names a vampire Bill! - gives a talk about what is what like to live during the Civil War to a group of civil war historians. Anita is a badass and a half, while Sookie gets nervous about her first plane trip, to the big, bad city of Dallas, Texas. Sookie and Bill make me smile all the way through the book. Anita (while enjoyable in its own way) mostly makes me cringe with all the blood and gore descriptives. And quite frankly, the sex scenes between Sookie and Bill are genuinely sexy as they are filled with warmth and love, even while Sookie questions how smart it really is to be in love with a vampire. Sure, there is a similarity, but these are two completely different animals. I pick Sookie any day of the week.