Living Dead In Dallas
Published 2002 262 pages
Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire boyfriend Bill are back in the second Southern Vampire series novel. This time Sookie discovers the murdered body of her co-worker Lafayette in the car park outside the bar where she works. He appears to have died by human hands, rather than supernatural means, but it is still a complete mystery as to who would have killed him.
Before Sookie can give Lafayette’s murder too much thought she is distracted by being attacked on her way to a meeting with Eric, the vampire in charge of the local area and her boyfriend’s boss. In the attack Sookie is poisoned by a maenad, a supernatural being from Greek mythology, as a warning message from the maenad to Eric.
Next Sookie has to keep up her end of the bargain that she made with Eric, which was to use her telepathic gift to read the minds of humans when ever the vampires want, in return for the vampires not killing the humans. Generally vampires would just torture humans to get any information that they need but this isn’t really an option when they are trying to fit into human society. Her work for Eric takes her to Dallas, where a vampire has gone missing.
Soon it is up to Sookie to find out the whereabouts of the missing vampire, infiltrate The Fellowship of the Sun (a religious group that hates vampires), find out who killed Lafayette and deal with an angry maenad. Since Sookie started dating her vampire boyfriend Bill, life has been anything but dull!
Living Dead In Dallas is the second novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series. It takes up her story not long after the events of Dead Until Dead finished. Part mystery, part romance, the narrative concentrates on Sookie’s relationship with Bill and Sookie’s adventures solving mysteries. The action in the book is fast paced and the characters, both human and supernatural, are well defined. We (the readers) slowly find out more about the vampires but the more we find out the more we realise that we actually know very little about them.
We find out more about Eric, the local head vampire, in this book. He is irrepressible, attractive, funny and powerful. I think that he is probably my favourite character in the book but he has been written in such a way that he doesn’t seem more attractive than Bill. It can be a problem for books in a series, with a supernatural romance theme, that every time you introduce a new alpha male he has to be more impressive, more powerful and more attractive than the last hero. After a while it gets kind of silly, there is a limit to how much ‘more alpha’ an alpha male can be! This has been avoided here, the author has written it quite subtlety but I think it’s because Bill has this whole serious boyfriend vibe going on while Eric is more the kind of guy (vampire!) that you would enjoy flirting with.
The author still has a lot of scope to develop the characters further in the following books, which I personally find intriguing and think is what helps keep the stories fresh. So although you are reading a series, each book develops the characters and setting further and you don’t feel like you are reading the same story over and over again.
In Living Dead In Dallas the story line has three disparate themes (the maenad, Lafayette and the job in Dallas) yet they are all woven together well and make for an exciting, well plotted story.
All in all Charlaine Harris has written another excellent book that is hard to put down once you start reading it. This is definitely a book for the keeper shelf!
LoveVampires Review Rating:
You can read the first chapter of Charlaine Harris’s new Sookie Stackhouse book at her website. Visit Charlaine’s site.