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REVIEW

"Vampires, Shapeshifters, and Maenads, Oh My!"

There are worse things than vampires. That's what the folks of Bon Temps, a small rural town in northern Louisiana, found out this summer. Murder had come to their quiet town, around the same time Bill Compton moved in, however it had been a human who had committed those crimes.

Sookie Stackhouse, a pretty young cocktail waitress, had found herself smack in the middle of the investigation, seeing that both her boyfriend Bill, and her brother Jason were prime suspects. To top it off, she'd been one of the intended victims, due to her association with a vampire. You see Bill is a vampire, but Sookie has a disability of her own. She reads minds, and it takes a lot of work on her part to avoid hearing what the folks around her broadcast. That's part of the reason she loves Bill, she can't read him at all. That is how she solved the crime and became beholden to Eric, the proprietor of Fangtasia, a vampire owned tourist hotspot in nearby Shreveport.

Sookie had gone to Fangtasia, to make inquiries as to the habits of the murder victims, in order to cast suspicion away from her loved ones. Eric is intriqued with Sookie from the start, but when he learns of her disability he becomes as interested in her mind as he well as he is in her body. Naturally Bill declares his claim in no uncertain terms, but as Eric is his elder by many years it's not enough to hold him back. Bill's solution to that is to become part of the vampire hierarchy, becoming an investigator for Area 5, reporting directly to Eric. Eric is now honor bound to respect Bill's claim. The problem is, Eric isn't particularly honorable. Sookie is forced to agree to allow the vampire to exploit her disability whenever he should call with the stipulation that Bill accompanies her on all assignments.

Fall isn't proving to be any more quiet. Sookie discovers another dead body in a car that had been left at the bar overnight. This time it is a man, Lafayette, one of the short order cooks. Lafayette had been a flamboyantly gay black man rumored to have recently attended a private sex party. Sookie is stunned by the crime but has no time to investigate. She and Bill have received a summons -- from Eric. When Eric calls you jump.

On the way to Shreveport Bill and Sookie get into an argument over their different outlooks. When Bill's car experiences difficulty, Sookie jumps out and sprints into the nearby woods. Bill leaves her alone to cool off and procure help with the vehicle. This proves to be a mistake. Sookie is NOT alone. After dealing with vampires, and learning of the existence of shapeshifters this summer, she should not be surprised to encounter a creature whom she'd thought only existed in mythology. Sookie is badly savaged and told that this is a message for Eric. When Bill returns all thoughts of their disagreement fade as the need to get help for Sookie is most urgent.

Bill with the help of Fangtasia management manage to save her, and she cannot refuse to accept Eric's mission. The vampires of Area 6 in Texas, have requested their help. So off to Dallas they go, Sookie by passenger plane, Bill as cargo . When Sookie goes to claim Bill she is very nearly kidnapped.

She isn't the only one. Upon arriving at Area 6 headquarters, which is of course a bar, she learns that one of the leader's nest brothers has gone missing. Her disability points her in the direction of the man she'd eluded at the airport. She discovers that he is involved with an organization call The Fellowship of the Sun, dedicated to exterminating vampires and their human sympathizers. Sookie now knows where to find the missing vampire and of course since she is not daylight challenged, it is she who goes undercover to spring him. As you can imagine all heck breaks loose. Par for the course for Sookie these days.

How does this all tie in the murdered short order cook, and the vicious mythological creature? Well you'll just have to read the book. LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS is a fitting sequel to DEAD UNTIL DARK. It is full of the same drama, mystery, love, and humor that made its predecessor so enthralling. Ms. Harris throws in a very touching scene at the end which just warmed the cockles of my heart. For a brief shining moment she gives Bill back his connection to humanity. Its wonderfully ironic. I can't wait to find out what kind of trouble Sookie and her vampire get into next.

Copyright 2002

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted April 5, 2002

SUMMARY

A Southern Vampire Mystery

Here Sookie Stackhouse's paranormal adventures continue with a mystery readers will devour...

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of bad luck. First her coworker is murdered and no one seems to care. Then she's face-to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a painful - and poisonous - lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it).

Even though Sookie has her own vampire to look out for her - her red-hot, cold-blooded boyfriend, Bill - she has to admit that the bloodsuckers did save her life. So when one of the local undead asks for a favor, she feels like she owes him.

Soon Sookie's in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She's supposed to interview certain humans involved. There's just one condition: The vampires must promise to behave - and let the humans go unharmed. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly...

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Read an Excerpt

 

Living Dead In Dallas
(Sookie Stackhouse: Book 2)
by Charlaine Harris

Ace Books
March 1, 2002
Available: March 26, 2002
ISBN #0441009239
EAN #9780441009237
272 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Charlaine Harris

Down These Strange Streets
Home Improvement: Undead Edition
The Sookie Stackhouse Companion
Dead Reckoning
Death's Excellent Vacation
Dead in the Family
Crimes by Moonlight
A Touch of Dead
Grave Secret
Must Love Hellhounds
Night's Edge
Strange Brew
Dead and Gone
Unusual Suspects
Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
Blood Lite
From Dead to Worse
An Ice Cold Grave
Many Bloody Returns
All Together Dead
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding
Grave Surprise
Definitely Dead
Grave Sight
Dead As A Doornail
Bite
Night's Edge
Powers of Detection: Stories of Mystery and Fantasy
Dead to the World
Poppy Done to Death
Club Dead
Last Scene Alive
Shakespeare's Counselor
Dead Until Dark
Shakespeare's Trollop
A Fool and His Honey
Shakespeare's Christmas
Shakespeare's Champion
Shakespeare's Landlord
Dead Over Heels
The Julius House
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse
A Bone to Pick
Real Murders


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