Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Living Dead In Dallas

by Charlaine Harris


The second novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series begins with a murder, although in the vampire-infested small town of Bon Temps that doesn't seem unusual. But the victim is one of Sookie's co-workers, and she is determined to uncover the killer. However, before she can get far she meets a creature in the woods who she believed was only a myth, even though vampires and shapeshifters are part of her world now. Sookie comes off much the worse for that encounter, coming close to death.

As if horrors in the woods and murders aren't enough, the local vampires send Sookie to Dallas to use her mind-reading powers as a favour for Eric, the top vampire in Bon Temps. The Dallas vampires want her to find one of their lost vampires. Unfortunately, in Dallas the undead do things differently, and they seem considerably less merciful with humans. They also face some fanatical pro-human campaigners who would rather the undead stayed dead, and they'd extend that fate to anyone associated with vampires, the so-called fang-bangers.

That would include Sookie, who is dating Bill the vampire, but her love life is complex and populous. Bill seems rather controlling and jealous, and Sookie gets uneasy when he gives her gifts that seem to change the nature of their relationship. But Sookie has several suitors who seem eager to come in as soon as Bill drops the ball. This suggests the novel is quite steamy, but there isn't much explicit sex until later on in the book. The romantic scenes are hot but somewhat soft-focus, so the end result is suitably atmospheric rather than mechanical.

The book is relatively short, but it seems even shorter than it is because it's fast-paced, well written, and easy to race through. However, a lot of plot is going on. The Bellefleur family from Bon Temps take an unexpected interest in Bill and an expected interest in solving the murder that led to a body being dumped in Andy Bellefleur's car. There are orgies, love quadrangles, fundamentalists, rogue suicidal vampires, and more. It's all going down.

Living Dead In Dallas is furiously paced and very accessible. That's not a euphemism for shallow. The story can also be read on a metaphorical level if you consider how the vampires' (un)lives echo those of other marginalised groups, and in that sense it's both clever and full of empathy. This is a fun, fast, tasty novel, but it's also a story with a deeper meaning.

29th October 2014

Book Details

Year: 2002

Categories: Books

  Female Protagonist  
  Not For The Squeamish  

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5 star rating

Review ©

Source: own copy
Read more about Charlaine Harris