Fiction: “Dead Until Dark” by Charlaine Harris

And now I come to my first post-vacation book: Dead Until Dark, the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries. You may also know this as “The First Season of HBO’s hit series True Blood,” starring Anna Paquin and apparently the hottest guy this side of Chuck Bass. Now, I haven’t watched True Blood, but I do intend to – someday, when I’ve gone through the hundred and eleventy billion titles on my Netflix queue ahead of True Blood. But it’s supposed to be a fun, vampire-filled romp.

The story is narrated by Sookie Stackhouse, a sweet, blonde, telepathic waitress in the little Louisiana town of Bon Temps, and her night starts looking up when she gets a vampire as a customer. See, in this alternate universe, vampires have ‘come out,’ so to speak, through the invention of synthetic blood – this allows them to survive without resorting to feeding on and/or killing humans. She is intrigued by Bill the Vampire, mostly because she can’t hear his thoughts.

The main mystery involves a serial killer – someone is killing waitresses at Merlotte’s (the bar Sookie works at), and all signs point to Sookie’s brother Jason. She and Bill try to both investigate as well as keep out of trouble. Meanwhile, Sookie and Bill fall in love, so Sookie also has to deal with falling in love with a vampire, someone who, for all intents and purposes, is “dead until dark” (yeah, that’s a quote. I can’t cite it, because my sister is currently devouring this and the next book in the series, Living Dead in Dallas).

Anyway. It’s a cute, light read – fluff, really. A couple of action scenes, a couple of vamp-sucking scenes, but nothing as gross as any of the vampire scenes in any Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel. There’s a couple of fun in-jokes that I’m not going to reveal here, but I think that what I’m most happy about is that, while the vampires do have a synthetic blood to drink, they are actual. vampires. After reading the tripe that is Twilight, and the total guilty pleasure that is The Vampire Diaries (the show on CW, not the books, yeah, kill me when that happens), it is so awesome to have vampires that can’t go out during daylight, that drink blood, that bite humans, that don’t fucking sparkle, I just … *happy place with vampires*

Grade for Dead Until Dark: 3 stars

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