Dead Until Dark
from the "Sookie Stackhouse - Southern Vampire Series"
Written by Charlaine Harris
Narrated by Johanna Parker
Approx 10.5 hours
Once again a long about way to start reading a series led to this one, and yes I'm going to tell you about it before we talk about the book. Most of the time when picking out a book I have a list of favorite authors and go from there, usually in the science-fiction or horror realm. After all when reading I usually want to escape reality a bit so those are my chosen genres. Sometimes a friend will recommend a book or author and I'll check it out to see if something catches my interest. Another way is that I'll get books that are compilations of short stories from different authors, one of which will be on my list. That's how this one started.
I picked up the book "My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding," edited by P.N. Elrod because there was a Jim Butcher - Harry Dresden story in it. I immediately consumed that story and then went on to the others since they dealt with the supernatural and some had vampires. One such story in that book was one written by Charlaine Harris which took place in the world of Sookie Stackhouse but did not feature Sookie in the story. It was well written and had an intriguing view of vampires and the supernatural. So that stuck in my head, and when I wrote the review of that book I mentioned I would probably pick up a Sookie Stackhouse book and read it. I received a lot of emails telling me that Sookie is a must read. Hmmm...maybe I will.
Then I found out that HBO did a series, called "True Blood" which was based on these novels. I started watching and was hooked. What a great series with some cool views of vampires. Also the series featured something I love to read about and was happy to see in the book; sarcasm and humor. So I said "here goes," and picked up the first book in audio book form and was not let down in any way.
Sookie Stackhouse is a normal waitress in a bar in Bon Temps, Lousiana. (Already got me there, I love Louisiana.) Okay, Sookie may not be normal in all senses of the word, she does have a "disability," she can read minds. She considers this a disability because she can't help it all the time and no one really wants to know what everyone is thinking ALL the time. In Sookie's world there is a bit of a racial/social problem; recently vampires have "Come out of the Coffin" and revealed themselves to the world and want to live side by side with humans. Of course the vampires are not accepted by everyone easily and the fight for vampire rights is on. The thing that gets the vampires more accepted is that synthetic blood has been created in Japan and is sold in bottles so vampires do not have to hunt humans. Some still do.
During the excitement of vampires blending in society a sort of groupie following develops in which humans want to be bitten and/or have sex with vampires. These groupies are called "fang-bangers." And just like any groupie sub-culture they are looked down upon.
One night Sookie is waiting tables when Bill Compton, vampire, walks in. Sookie soon becomes attracted to Bill the vampire because his mind is closed to her. She enjoys the mental silence and they fall for each other. At this same time in Bon Temps, LA, a series of murders is occuring. Women who are known to have "cavorted" with vampires and work in the service industry are being killed. One of Sookie's co-workers is murdered, and since Sookie is well known to be "with" Bill she may be the next target. But not before more girls turn up dead, including Sookie's grandmother.
The police begin looking at Sookie's brother Jason ( well known for his bed-hopping), since he has slept with some of the victims. Sookie goes on her own investigation using her "disability" to find the culprit. She asks Bill to take her to a Vampire bar since all the women are known for their associations with vampires. The bar, Fangtasia, is owned by a powerful vampire named Eric. Eric is also somewhat of a political leader of sorts among the vampires. Eric learns of Sookie's disability which he refers to as a gift, when Sookie alerts him of a raid on the bar.
Eric then recruits Sookie to find out who's embezzling from the bar and Sookie promises to help at that time and again in the future only if the culprit is turned over to proper authorities. The embezzler turns out to be another vampire and before he can kill Sookie, Eric stakes him.
As you can tell there is lots of fun and excitement in this first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series and the narrator of this book Johanna Parker captures the southern accents and Sookie's voice perfectly. I should point out the book is told in first person from Sookie's own mouth.
Now on to the next book.