"Vampire and Telepath solve murder mystery in small town U.S.A."
A Vampire named Bill? Hey why not! He's a bone fide
American after all. At long last a vampire for the common
woman. DEAD UNTIL DARK is set in the town of Bon
Temps in rural northern Louisiana, four years after
vampires have "come out of the coffin', so to speak, and
have been acknowledged as legal citizens. These undead must
answer to, and are protected by, the same laws that govern
humans. Acknowledged yes, but not widely accepted, and like
the living they come in all varieties.
Most folk kept their distance from them, but there were
always groupies who got their thrills from dangerous and
deadly pastimes. For the most part the vampires tended to
congregate in large cities like New Orleans, where their
activities went mostly unremarked.
Sookie Stackhouse, had waited a long time to see her first
vampire in Bon Temps, and now here he was sitting in one of
her booths. This is a special treat for Sookie, a bar
waitress, who is 'disabled' and doesn't have much of a
social life. Sookie's actually very pretty, but intimacy
took on a whole other meaning when you could read your
suitor's minds. True she spent most of her energy shielding
her mind from the din of other's thoughts, for sanity's
sake and an innate sense of politeness, but that wasn't
possible when she was touching someone. Most folks weren't
willing to admit to her disability. They just said she was
crazy. Those that believed simply avoided her.
Sookie's joy is deflated when she notices the seedy Rattray
couple insinuating themselves into her vampire's company.
She doesn't like them and knows they've spent time in jail.
Opening her mind she learns the reason. They're vampire
drainers! Illegal but very profitable. When the vampire
leaves with the couple, she is sure he's in trouble, and
she's right. Fortunately she is able to rescue him. He
isn't terribly gracious about it though, so Sookie attempts
to read him. Nothing! How marvelous. Here is a handsome,
interesting man, and she can't hear what he's thinking.
Someone is murdered that night however a female convenience
store clerk with a taste for vampires. She'd had bite marks
on her thighs, but the cause of death was strangulation.
Was the killer a vampire or human?
Three night's later Bill Compton, the vampire, returns
Sookie's favor when the Rattrays return to revenge
themselves on her. She's fatally wounded when he arrives.
In an ironic twist, Bill donates his blood to save her.
Sookie's more than a little glad he's stuck around. She
really likes him, an when she learns he'd served in the
Civil War she invites him to address her grandmother's
club, The Descendants of the Glorious Dead. Bill comes over
to meet Sookie's grandmother who is thrilled that she's
finally captured the interest of a man. Afterwards they go
for a walk and it is clear that there is interest on both
of their parts. Sound good? Well then all heck breaks
Several of Bill's vampire acquaintances show up and their
awful behavior reminds Sookie of what Bill really is. It
scares her a lot. Still he seems different and when another
woman is murdered (same M.O.) and both Bill and Sookie's
handsome, promiscuous, brother are considered suspects,
she braves a vampire hot spot to try to acquit them of
blame. Unfortunately she draws the interest of another
handsome vampire who has seniority over Bill. Yikes. Then
the murders hits home and Sookie realizes that she had been
the intended victim. She does fit the profile after all.
Now she must discover the identity of the killer before it
is too late for all of them. Sometimes a disability can
come in handy .
Wow, this was a great tale. You have murder, mayhem,
mystery, three paranormal elements (the third is a
surprise), romance, and humor. It is wonderfully well
written. I doubt anyone will guess the identity of the
killer until it is revealed. I recommend a second reading
to truly appreciate the subtlety of the clues Ms. Harris
weaves into the story. I just love stories that are written
in the first person, this was an added bonus. It was
narrated by Sookie and this lent to much of the humor. It
is not a traditional romance in the sense that, yes Sookie
and Bill care a great deal for each other, and yes they are
definitely intimate, but there are still lots of problems
to be worked out. The story is left open ended, rather like
J.D. Robb's IN DEATH novels. I can't wait to find out what
happens next in the continuation, LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS, to
be released April 1, 2002.
Copyright © 2002
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted April 3, 2002
A Southern Vampire Mystery
Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in
small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and
doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is.
It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability".
She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable.
And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome--and
Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's exactly the
type of guy she's been waiting for all her life . . .
But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire with
a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd,
all suspected of--big surprise--murder. And when one of
Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next . . .
Genre: Urban Fantasy