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Review: Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in a small bar in Louisiana.  She keeps to herself because of her disability.  That is, she can read thoughts, and being close to people makes her uncomfortable, especially men.  One night, a vampire named Bill walks into her bar, and she realizes that she can’t hear him. Not only that, but he’s good-looking and interested in her.  Unfortunately, a string of murders has plagued her small town lately, and it looks like a vampire did it.  Bill’s under suspicion and Sookie’s life is in danger; can they figure out who did it before their lives are torn apart?

This was a fantastic, fun little book.  Sookie is already an interesting character, and having a vampire named Bill who fought in the Civil War just adds potential for a lot of great background.  It seems fairly natural when they get together and stay together, although some of Bill’s vampire habits creep me out.  They clearly don’t creep Sookie out as much as me, though.  I like that even though she’s a blond, busty barmaid (as she says) she’s still intelligent.

This is a mystery, but I think setting the background for the series was more important.  We meet a number of vampires and get a feel for their world, both good and bad, like how they got to be recognized, how apparently they have a “virus”, and even whether or not they can procreate.  We get acquainted with Sookie and her supporting cast.  As it turns out, the murderer was actually someone who bugged me throughout the book; I hadn’t guessed, but I was pleased, and glad that person will probably not be turning up again.  The mystery and the murders were important, but it didn’t frustrate me as mysteries have in the past.  I didn’t feel like I was supposed to guess, I could just enjoy the story and wonder who did it.

I also enjoyed the southern feel that this book has.  In particular, I appreciated that the dialogue wasn’t written in an atrocious approximation of regional accent but gave me the impression that the characters had particular accents through word choice and behavior.  It feels like how I think Louisiana should feel but without irritating me in any way.  I liked that a lot.

I would definitely recommend this book to someone looking for a fun read with supernatural elements.  I’m very much looking forward to the next in the series and once again glad that I “discovered” urban fantasy.  I’ve been missing out on a lot of fun!

Buy Dead Until Dark on Amazon.

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