Living Dead In Dallas: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine HarrisLiving Dead In Dallas: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris

Living Dead In Dallas: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel

byCharlaine Harris

Hardcover | January 6, 2009

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The second Sookie Stackhouse novel from the New York Times bestselling author-and the basis for the HBO series True Blood.

For years, Charlaine Harris has delighted fans with her mystery series featuring small-town waitress-turned- paranormal sleuth Sookie Stackhouse. Now, Ace is pleased to republish her second novel in the series in hardcover. In this book, Sookie is pursued by a very sexy vampire-and a very deadly monster. With HBO and Alan Ball, creator of Six Feet Under, launching an all-new series, True Blood, based on the Southern Vampire novels, the demand for Charlaine Harris and Sookie Stackhouse is going to be bigger than ever.
Charlaine Harris writes both fantasy and mysteries.
Title:Living Dead In Dallas: A Sookie Stackhouse NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.31 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:January 6, 2009Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0441016731

ISBN - 13:9780441016730


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good I continued to read this series because I enjoyed the first book and wanted to see what would happen to Sookie and the other characters. After a few books though I was skimming a lot and the plots just started to become boring and over-dramatized.
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Living Dead in Dallas Great series, amazing follow up
Date published: 2017-06-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Addicting but not Amazing Guilty pleasure is how I would describe this series. The writing is not the best and Sookie makes me want to pull my own hair out sometimes, but I still end up wanting to read the next.
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solid Great follow up in the series. Flew through it fast.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I love this series I loved this book, as the relationship of Bill and Sookie evolves.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Sequel Another great story in a one-of-a-kind urban fantasy world. I really enjoyed it.
Date published: 2017-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Living Dead in Dallas Great story. I couldn't put it down. The author really makes you love and hate the characters she writes about.
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Living Dead in Dallas It has lots of supernatural goodness and a fun quick read, like all the books in this series.
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from really love this one! I read the complete sookie stackhouse serie, this one I remember most, the story was one of my favourite :)
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyed It wasn't as suspenseful as I hoped since this and the show followed a really similar path unlike some of the other novels in this series.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Great book. I think that it's better than the show. I can not wait to read the rest of them............
Date published: 2015-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Living Dead in Dallas I really enjoyed the adventure and excitement of the novel. I look forward to reading the rest of the series
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting series.. The book is a little cheesy at times, but the characters are developed effectively and the story is strong. Good read! Will be continuing to finish the series!
Date published: 2013-12-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 3.5 After I completed Dead Until Dark, I was hesitant to continue on with the second installment. However, I had made a promise to a friend to stick it out, and I had already purchased the book, so I got comfortable and braced myself for the impending doom. At first, my fears were realized. Sookie was still dingy, annoying, and cried at least four times in the first 30 pages. My outlook was grim, but I prevailed on in hopes that the small glimpse of Eric provided within the first few chapters would escalate into a consistent presence and that Dallas would prove to be a more intriguing setting than Bon Temps. I got my wish.
Date published: 2012-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from better than the first Sookie Stackhouse is a telepathic cocktail waitress in small town Louisiana. Her boyfriend, Bill is a vampire. Sookie is in love but has a fight with Bill and leaves in a snit to wander in the woods and encounters a maenad. To save Sookie, Bill takes her to the head of the vampires in the area, Eric and it takes several of them to give her their blood in order to survive. Eric then loans her out to the vampires in Dallas who need to find one of their own who is lost. This leads to the Fellowship of the Sun which is a fanatic Christian-based vampire hate group. Hate, murder, werewolves, pain, injury and all sorts of nasty things happen as Sookie follows the leads to find the missing vampire. A sub-plot is the murder of the cook of the bar where Sookie works. The two stories seem totally unconnected and it feels a bit like it was a filler to round the book out. My comments about Bill: what a sleaze. He is cold but he is however a vampire. Eric is also a vamp but he seems so hot. Bill seems to want sex whenever Sookie is hurting. Lots of compassion there. NOT! Bill is definitely not one of my fav characters. I felt this book was better than the first in the series.
Date published: 2012-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Read! All I can say is that I'm so excited to read the next book. So far, this series is great.
Date published: 2012-01-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Second installment This was the second installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series. The characters were good, and made up for the fact that the mystery was easy to figure out. In fact the characters are definitely the best thing in the Sookie books. This is definitely an enjoyable summer book.
Date published: 2011-07-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great series Great Series! Although I can't say i like Sookie so much, she kind of seems self-centered. There is just something about how. However, I love her adventures!
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from SOOKIE'S DALLAS ADVENTURES- ANOTHER GREAT INSTALMENT This was another super entertaining read; combining fantasy, action, romance and mystery that you'll find difficult to put down. With book #2 we return to small town Louisiana and telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, still slinging beers for Sam and spending time with her boyfriend, Bill the vampire. Their relationship continues to progress here with anger and jealousies surfacing, and although for the most part Bill is still sweet to Sookie his undisputed predator tendencies also make an appearance. It doesn't take long for Sookie's adventures start up again when a co-worker with ties to a sex club is murdered. (This sub plot then takes a back seat returning later in the book) Soon after Sookie gets attacked by a mystical female creature which requires the assistance of Eric (and others) to suck the poison from her body. Eric then `loans' Sookie out to the Dallas Vampires to aid in the search for a missing vamp. Sookie feels obligated to comply, taking Bill along as her bodyguard. (He flies as cargo in a coffin) And that's when things get really crazy. With a new nest of vampires to deal with as well as assorted religious fanatics and several aggressive werewolves Dallas isn't going to be any vacation. Sexy and cheeky Eric makes a welcome appearance here and I really enjoyed getting to know him better. I'm very curious to see how this immerging love triangle plays out. Despite the progression of Sookie into the supernatural world, which at times made her feel like a clumsy super hero I still found her relatable enough that I was able to discover everything right along with her. Sookie does get injured a lot in this book however and I kept wondering why she refused to take Vampire blood. I mean if she's going to continue playing in the vampire world she's going to need all the strength she can get so its a no-brainer really as it speeds up healing and gives humans increased power. As much as I'm enjoying this series I guess I should have taken a closer look at the spine of this book because with this instalment Charlaine Harris switches from paranormal romance to more urban fantasy, which was a real disappointment to me. I always struggle with UF, preferring my romance front and center, without the now present fade-to-black love scenes (I want in on the steamy action) I also tend to glaze over when too many fantastical creatures are introduced and this worried me early on here with the introduction of the `maenad' and her razorback pig companion. Luckily Harris keeps it to a minimum. Now this is not to say that I didn't enjoy LDID, I did and plan to continue on with the series I was just thrown off by the abrupt genre switch from book#1. It also felt to me like Harris wrote the first and last parts of this book together and then inserted the middle (Dallas) section afterwards. I mention this because as soon as Sookie returns home to Bon Temps from her Dallas adventure we start getting back-story information dumps again, as we'd had in the beginning chapters, rehashing Harris's vampire world rules and events that took place in Dead Until Dark. This felt very strange to me especially in the last quarter of the book. The Dallas section also felt removed from the rest of the story and in all honesty except for the scenes with Eric I didn't enjoy it very much. Anyways I'm ranting here.
Date published: 2011-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It This is the second book that I have read from the Sookie Stackhouse series and it is certainly better the first one. I love the Sookie character she is out of this world along with bill and jason. This series is very addictive and every book is a fun read it is for all ages.
Date published: 2011-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just As Perfect As The First! LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS by Charlaine Harris This book was just as incredible as the first in the series. I loved this book! The storyline was never lacking, there wasn't even a hole in the story that gave my mind time to stray, much less get bored with the book. I didn't think these characters could get any better, but they did. Some of the predicaments that the characters got themselves into were just hilarious - Lycra, anyone? LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS had a fantastic plot that brimmed with mystery, sex, humor, and some of the best characters (not to mention writing) that I've ever had to pleasure to read. I cannot wait to read the next in the series! I highly, highly recommend the Sookie Stackhouse series! "Somehow, fanged all-night dry cleaners didn't have the same allure that a vampire-studded bar did." Overall Opinion: A+ Visit my blog for my full review!
Date published: 2010-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this series! Living Dead in Dallas picks up where Dead Until Dark left off. Hooks you in like the first one.
Date published: 2010-06-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sookie is at it Again In the second installment of the Southern Vampire Tales, Charlaine Harris does not disappoint. Charlaine does what she does best, write a quick moving tale, with witty dialogue. In this one we are introduced to new mythical creatures, that become a threat to Sookie and her friends. But it does not end there, Sookie is bartered out to a powerful Vamp Nest in Dallas. One of their brothers, has gone missing, and they need Sookie's talents to help dig up evidence to help find him. In typical Sookie fashion, she manages to get in over her head, and finds help in the least likeliest of places. She also sees qualities on Bill her Vampire lover, that makes her question their relationship. If this is not enough, her friend Lafayette is found dead in the vehicle of one of the local law enforcement, and Sookie is determined to see justice done for him. Even if helps a someone that has an animosity towards Sookie, her talents, friends and family. Even though I enjoyed the book, I felt it could have been a little longer or had a few less elements to the book. There was a lot going on for the scant 291 pages that make up this novel. It almost seems more like a short story. Even with series that has the steam this series has, 9 books and counting, I think the books could be better if they were fleshed out a bit. I think Harris has the talent and the ideas to do it.
Date published: 2009-08-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Better than the first! 'Dead Until Dark' had its funny moments but 'Living Dead in Dallas' is waaay funnier...Eric, I think, is one of the best characters in the story. If you love the first one I just don't know how you won't love this one!
Date published: 2009-08-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ooooh, this one was good This is the 2nd book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I was a bit trepidatious about reading Living Dead in Dallas because I wasn't drawn into the 1st book, Dead Until Dark, like I like to be. I was am so pleased that I continued! It seemed to start off slow, but it does pick up a bit as the mysteries are resolved. I was completely enthralled with the interactions with the her encounters with new supernatural beings as I ventured with Sookie through two main mysteries. Althought these books are about vampires and I accept the dark nature that comes with the realm, there were moments in this book that I feel were twisted/creepy, and I can think of a few from Dead Until Dark as well. These moments are not celebrated, but through Sookies eyes, we see the divisions between normal, not so normal, and down right times the boundaries aren't quite clear. I'm going to happily continue with this series because of the number of things I've come to enjoy. 1. Virtually any character in her world is fair game for becoming the culprit or victim. 2. The interactions she has with Eric and Sam are certainly entertaining. I like both of them for different reasons. Eric is amusingly sexy. Sam is strong and something about how her yearns for Sookie has endeared him to me. 3. Her relationship with Bill isn't exactly perfect - they get mad...they fight. Thank goodness! I enjoy angst. But it's fun when they make up. 4. New supernatural beings are introduced and I find myself looking forward to their future involvement with Sookie. Sometimes I find the plot development a bit slow and I fail to sypathize with Sookie, but I am enjoying the books. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy paranormal + mystery + romance with a few dashes of sexy and a sprinkle of twisted/creepy.
Date published: 2009-08-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Super Sequel "Living Dead in Dallas" may be billed as the inspiration for TV's "TrueBlood" (a fantastic show, by the way), but the book stands alone as greatly entertaining, suspenseful and surprising. Harris definitely held my attention through another Sookie Stackhouse mystery. I loved the addition of new characters and a handful of crazy plot twists. It was especially interesting to get a closer look at all of the "shifters" as well as the "Fellowship of the Sun". The aspect of intolerance in Sookie's world is explored further, and Harris draws us in to her supernatural world. Though the novel may be a quick read it certainly is just as fun and enjoyable as the first in the series. A great summer read too!
Date published: 2009-07-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another entertaining mystery Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris is the second of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. The novels are entertaining and unpredictable. There are so many different events that take place to make the story more exciting. Sookie finds Lafayette is dead in Detective Andy Bellefleur's car. Andy is being suspected by the townspeople, but who murdered Lafayette? And why? Andy asks Sookie to look into the minds of people to discover the culprit, but telepathy is not as easy at it sounds. Not only that, Eric takes up Sookie on her offer of helping out whenever her assistance is needed, as long as the humans that were involved would not be killed. Sookie is to go to Dallas with Bill to talk to Stan, whose vampire brother, Farrell, has been abducted. The Fellowship of the Sun, a religious anti-vampire group, is suspected. Will Sookie be able to provide her assistance and recover Farrell alive? 4/5
Date published: 2009-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good twists and turns Slowly getting more into the series. I love the balance of the light heaterdness and the darkness of the situations Sookie gets into. I really do enjoy the tension between Sookie and Eric. People always seem to want the good girl with the bad guy. But maybe he's not the bad guy after all. He seems to care for her, behind those manipulative walls he puts up. Its also alluring hearing about Sam playing on the dark side with the beautiful maenid (sp). Looks like Bill and Sookie get a bit distanced in the next installment and my bets are on that she turns to Eric.
Date published: 2009-05-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Funny and frightening all wrapped into one! Another great book by Charlaine Harris, Living Dead in Dallas. The follow up novel to Dead Until Dark. Harris knows how to bring vampires, shapeshifters and maenads to life. This book is not quite as good as book # 1 in the Sookie Stackhouse Series, however I do believe that it is a great novel setting up the storylines for the following books. Still highly recommended! Note: HBO's tv show, True Blood, is made after this series of novels.
Date published: 2009-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Entertaining! Great follow up to 'Dead Until Dark' very entertaining, I love how the Sookie Stackhouse books are not just one 'issue' she has to overcome/resolve/deal with per book there is always more then what you intially think going on it keeps you curious about what is going to happen next! I watched and Enjoyed the first season of 'Trueblood' and I am really hoping they follow the story line of this book!
Date published: 2009-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sookie returns, and grows In 'Dead Until Dark,' we met Sookie Stackhouse, cocktail waitress, blonde and beautiful, and, oh yeah, telepathic. She's a fun character, with a great inner monologue that makes you laugh, and lives in a world where Vampires have 'come out of the coffin' and let the world know they exist, ever since the invention of synthetic blood. And when she met one, in 'Dead Until Dark,' for the first time in her life, she couldn't read his thoughts. And it was fantastic. 'Living Dead in Dallas' picks up more or less where 'Dead Until Dark' left off, but this time, Sookie finds her telepathic talents are a tool, and she has been asked to use them to solve a missing vampire mystery. Once again, her inner monologue is a joy to listen to (the woman has a healthy dollup of snark), and it is good to see her character's inner strength growing. Similarly, Harris' world becomes more complex, and the surrounding cast of characters (many of which are the things that go bump in the night) come more and more to the forefront. I listened to this book recently as an unabridged audio (I originally read it years ago) - the television show, 'True Blood,' has given this series a nice nudge into the spotlight, and it returns for season two this summer.
Date published: 2009-04-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Living Dead in Dalas I liked this book more than the first in the Sookie Stackhouse novels. It's about Sookie and Bill having to do a favour for Eric. They travel to Dalas together trying to solve a mystery of a missing vampire under the directions of the clan's leader. Using her mind reading gift, Sookie starts to pick up little clues about the missing vampire, and suddenly, she is betrayed, leading her to be in danger. Back at home, Andy is trying to figure out another mystery about who left the dead man in his car and why someone would want to frame him. Sookie and Bill's relationship strengthens, and Eric becomes more closer to Sookie than what Sookie is comfortable with.
Date published: 2009-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good Second Book What a great follow up to the first book. Basically this book has 2 big plots in it. you feel like you are reading 2 books in one. Sookie is lent out by Eric to Stan who is the boss of Dallas to look for a missing vampire. The adventure drives her further into the other world of the supernatural. She learns that there is more to her world than humans and vampires. She also comes back to her home and tries to solve the death of a co-worker. Sookie needs to go to a sex party to learn the truth . And she takes Eric with her. the chemistry that Sookie and Eric have is palpable. It makes her being with Bill very boring. (my opinion anyway). This books is better than the first. Because it goes right into the action. What a great follow up. Could not put this book down.
Date published: 2009-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It!!! No matter how hard I try not to get sucked in to this series, it happens anyway! I just love these books!!! They are fun and light and a real pleasure to read. My only complaint is that I go through them so quickly and now I have to wait until the rest of them arrive to find out what happens next!
Date published: 2009-03-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It Is What It Is It's tough to be critical of Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse books; after all, there is no pretense of serious literary merit, nor is there a rabid fan base that begs for "re-education." No...Charlaine Harris's books are exactly what they are meant to be: somewhat entertaining, light weight, playful riffs on the Vampire and mystery genres. There is always something fun and fresh in the Sookie novels. Living Dead in Dallas, for instance, has a crazy KKK-like bunch of religious kooks called the Fellowship of the Sun whose mission it is to expunge Vampirism from the world -- or at least from the USA. And there is always a bunch of straight laced, almost monogamous sex between Sookie and her Vampire lover, Bill. Unfortunately, the sex is never arousing, even if it is mildly fun to read, and it only makes me want to crack out some genuine erotica and read it out loud while my wife and I soak in our big clawfoot tub surrounded by candles (but that's not exactly a bad reaction to evoke). As for Sookie's love life, she kisses whomever she wants whenever she wants, while being constantly jealous of Bill, but that is right in line with her skewed personal morality, which turns up its nose at a menage a trois but has no difficulty with being a blood source during sex. But at least she recognizes her hypocrisy. She knows she's a "goody two shoes" -- h*ll, even thong panties are enough to scandalize her (is this a little too much of Charlaine coming through in her character?) -- and that is definitely part of Sookie's charm, but that element of her personality can also become a little much by the end of an installment (which is why it is best to take a break of a month or two before reading another). Even so, I actually do get why Bill and other Vampires, specifically the Viking Vampire, Eric, are attracted to Miss Stackhouse. The telepathic waitress turned telepathic investigator for Vampires is more than a little mouthy, and her ability to stand up to the powerful Vampires without flinching coupled with her genuine self-confidence makes me believe that they'd dig her -- unlike other human females, whose names I won't mention, who inexplicably and inappropriately attract creepy Vampire lovers, whose names I won't mention either. Sookie is a pain in the a**, but if she were real I know I'd be attracted to her. Living Dead in Dallas is a pretty decent Sookie novel, and it is a nice piece of fluff if you're reading something challenging and need a back up. But don't expect greatness. Bon Temp ain't the place to find greatness.
Date published: 2009-02-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not nearly as good as the first This book is the second in the Southern Vampire Series - also known as the Sookie Stackhouse series. Sookie Stackhouse now has a business agreement with Eric - the head vampire in her small little town. Eric loans her service out to the vampires in Texas and some new characters are introduced. There is a 1000 year old vampire who wants to commit suicide. He wants to take out as many vampires in the process. There is a religious cult that goes by the name the Fellowship of the Sun (or something similar). This is a clan that wants to kill all vampires in the name of God. They also like to kill humans who associate with vampires - very ethical by religious standards (insert eye-roll here). In Shreveport (which I believe is the small town where Sookie is from) there is a Maenad. I believe this is a mythical creature which appears as a naked woman in the woods. But she’s strong and vicious. All I can say is that I sure hope the rest of the series is better. The one thing that I liked was that it didn’t dwell too much on the first book. It jumped right in, assuming you’ve already read the first adding a few sentences here and there as a refresher. Honestly, by the end of the book I had forgotten half of the stuff that had happened in the beginning, and this is not a good sign given the book is less than 300 pages long. Often times, I couldn’t remember the title of the book so when people asked what I was currently reading I would have to fish it out of my purse to give an answer. Also, not a good sign. This novel is not as sexual as the first. This can be good or bad depending on what you’re into. It still has some juicy sex scenes including an orgy, so for those that like it - it’s still there, it’s just lacking a bit. It’s got some controversy - Harris flat out compares the Fellowship to the KKK. It’s a decent comparison from what I know (which to be honest, is not very much regarding the KKK). The whole issue turns my stomach and I prefer NOT to know what these cults get up to. I found Sookie to be more annoying in this story. She’s clever, which I like, but she’s just so ridiculous to Bill - her loving boyfriend. She fights with him over things that should just be forgotten. Instead of buying her a sweater, Bill buys her an entire mall. Instead of saying “thank you” she explodes with rage and walks out on him. Read more at:
Date published: 2008-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Number TWO in a series of great books!!! I love this whole series, each one is great!
Date published: 2008-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Much better than the first. Loved it So this book gave alot more than the first, more adventures, more romance, more excitement and thrills. I found it was written much better than the first and the Sookie character was beautifully developped. I adored this book and can't wait to read the next one.
Date published: 2008-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better then the first! This sequel had more action, more lust, and more VAMPIRES then the first! I absolutely loved it! There was so much going pertaining to different story lines that I couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2008-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just as good as the first, if not better I really loverd this book, it was full of mystery,romance, a bit of action as well as humor. New characters are introduced, and more is learnt of the old ones. Sookie's relationship wth Bill gets stronger, while Sookie and Eric form an attraction. Ths is really a great series and i recommend it to everyone, it's a book that just can't be put down.
Date published: 2008-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Second in the Series! Small town waitress, Sookie Stackhouse has a lot to deal with in this second installment of the Sookie series. A body is found in the local police detective’s car in the parking lot of Merlotte’s, but before Sookie can use her mind reading abilities to find the killer, something else comes up. It seems that the Dallas vampires are having a problem in the form of a missing vampire. Eric, the vampire sheriff who has jurisdiction over Bon Temps and therefore Sookie and Bill, sends Sookie to Dallas to use her telepathic gift to locate the missing vampire. Unfortunately, Sookie ends up over her head when she has to start using her gift on a radical group of vampire haters known as The Fellowship of the Sun. Charlaine Harris has delivered another fantastic novel with Living Dead in Dallas. It was so much fun to read that I couldn’t bring myself to put it down. The plot turns were unpredictable and exciting. I absolutely loved the direction the plot took. This book didn’t spend much time in Bon Temps, but I found the change of setting enjoyable because it gave the reader a change to get a better idea of vampire politics and the vampire lifestyle. Harris has done a great job in creating a unique, fun universe for her vampires and Sookie. During the course of the novel, the characters personalities were explored further. Eric had a much bigger role in this book than he did in the first, so Eric fans will be pleased. Things really start heating up in this novel, so be sure to have a glass of water nearby to cool off with. The Sookie universe is expanded with new vampire characters as well a species which had previously not been introduced. Overall, I’m thrilled with the progression of the series so far, highly recommended.
Date published: 2008-07-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sookie Soars You know what I love about Sookie? She knows when to be tough, and when to be soft. I used to hate romance novels where I would sit and wish the protagonist had just cried and let herself be comforted. Charlaine Harris knows just when to do that.
Date published: 2008-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Judge a Book by it Cover I was browsing in the local Chapters and this book's cover caught my eye..I'm glad it did.. this was the 1st of her books that i have read but it won't be the last..I really enjoyed the book..i found it in the fantasy section but besides the fact that it has vampires and shapeshifters as some of the main chartacters, I found it to be more of a (racey!)mystery..if i had to compare it to anyone else, I would say this book is the love child of laurell k hamilton and joe lansdale..i finished this book the same day i started, i couldn't put it down b/c i wanted to see how it all ended!
Date published: 2002-08-18

Read from the Book

Andy Bellefleur was as drunk as a skunk. This wasn't normal for Andy believe me, I know all the drunks in Bon Temps. Working at Sam Merlotte's bar for several years has pretty much introduced me to all of them. But Andy Bellefleur, native son and detective on Bon Temps's small police force, had never been drunk in Merlotte's before. I was mighty curious as to why tonight was an exception.Andy and I aren't friends by any stretch of the imag-ination, so I couldn't ask him outright. But other means were open to me, and I decided to use them. Though I try to limit employing my disability, or gift, or whatever you want to call it, to find out things that might have an effect on me or mine, sometimes sheer curiosity wins out.I let down my mental guard and read Andy's mind. I was sorry.Andy had had to arrest a man that morning for kid-napping. He'd taken his ten-year-old neighbor to a place in the woods and raped her. The girl was in the hospital, and the man was in jail, but the damage that had been dealt was irreparable. I felt weepy and sad. It was a crime that touched too closely on my own past. I liked Andy a little better for his depression. "Andy Bellefleur, give me your keys," I said. His broad face turned up to me, showing very little compre-hension. After a long pause while my meaning filtered through to his addled brain, Andy fumbled in the pocket of his khakis and handed me his heavy key ring. I put another bourbon-and-Coke on the bar in front of him. "My treat," I said, and went to the phone at the end of the bar to call Portia, Andy's sister. The Bellefleur sib-lings lived in a decaying large white two-story antebel-lum, formerly quite a showplace, on the prettiest street in the nicest area of Bon Temps. On Magnolia Creek Road, all the homes faced the strip of park through which ran the stream, crossed here and there by deco-rative bridges for foot traffic only; a road ran on both sides. There were a few other old homes on Magnolia Creek Road, but they were all in better repair than the Bellefleur place, Belle Rive. Belle Rive was just too much for Portia, a lawyer, and Andy, a cop, to maintain, since the money to support such a home and its grounds was long since gone. But their grandmother, Caroline, stubbornly refused to sell.Portia answered on the second ring. "Portia, this is Sookie Stackhouse," I said, having to raise my voice over the background noise in the bar. "You must be at work." "Yes. Andy's here, and he's three sheets to the wind. I took his keys. Can you come get him?" "Andy had too much to drink? That's rare. Sure, I'll be there in ten minutes," she promised, and hung up. "You're a sweet girl, Sookie," Andy volunteered un-expectedly.He'd finished the drink I'd poured for him. I swept the glass out of sight and hoped he wouldn't ask for more. "Thanks, Andy," I said. "You're okay, yourself." "Where'sboyfriend?" "Right here," said a cool voice, and Bill Compton appeared just behind Andy. I smiled at him over Andy's drooping head. Bill was about five foot ten, with dark brown hair and eyes. He had the broad shoulders and hard muscular arms of a man who's done manual labor for years. Bill had worked a farm with his father, and then for himself, before he'd gone to be a soldier in the war. That would be the Civil War. "Hey, B.!" called Charlsie Tooten's husband, Mi-cah. Bill raised a casual hand to return the greeting, and my brother, Jason, said, "Evening, Vampire Bill," in a perfectly polite way. Jason, who had not exactly wel-comed Bill into our little family circle, had turned over a whole new leaf. I was sort of mentally holding my breath, waiting to see if his improved attitude was per-manent. "Bill, you're okay for a bloodsucker," Andy said ju-diciously, rotating on his bar stool so he could face Bill. I upgraded my opinion of Andy's drunkenness, since he had never otherwise been enthusiastic about the accep-tance of vampires into America's mainstream society. "Thanks," Bill said dryly. "You're not too bad for a Bellefleur." He leaned across the bar to give me a kiss. His lips were as cool as his voice. You had to get used to it. Like when you laid your head on his chest, and you didn't hear a heartbeat inside. "Evening, sweet-heart," he said in his low voice. I slid a glass of the Japanese-developed synthetic B negative across the bar, and he knocked it back and licked his lips. He looked pinker almost immediately. "How'd your meeting go, honey?" I asked. Bill had been in Shreveport the better part of the night. "I'll tell you later."I hoped his work-related story was less distressing than Andy's. "Okay. I'd appreciate it if you'd help Por-tia get Andy to her car. Here she comes now," I said, nodding toward the door.For once, Portia was not wearing the skirt, blouse, jacket, hose, and low-heeled pumps that constituted her professional uniform. She'd changed to blue jeans and a ragged Sophie Newcomb sweatshirt. Portia was built as squarely as her brother, but she had long, thick, chest-nut hair. Keeping it beautifully tended was Portia's one signal that she hadn't given up yet. She plowed single-mindedly through the rowdy crowd. "Well, he's soused, all right," she said, evaluating her brother. Portia was trying to ignore Bill, who made her very uneasy. "It doesn't happen often, but if he decides to tie one on, he does a good job." "Portia, Bill can carry him to your car," I said. Andy was taller than Portia and thick in body, clearly too much of a burden for his sister. "I think I can handle him," she told me firmly, still not looking toward Bill, who raised his eyebrows at me. So I let her get one arm around him and try to hoist him off the stool. Andy stayed perched. Portia glanced around for Sam Merlotte, the bar owner, who was small and wiry in appearance but very strong. "Sam's bar-tending at an anniversary party at the country club," I said. "Better let Bill help." "All right," the lawyer said stiffly, her eyes on the polished wood of the bar. "Thanks very much." Bill had Andy up and moving toward the door in sec-onds, in spite of Andy's legs tending to turn to jelly. Micah Tooten jumped up to open the door, so Bill was able to sweep Andy right out into the parking lot. "Thanks, Sookie," Portia said. "Is his bar tab settled up?" I nodded. "Okay," she said, slapping her hand on the bar to signal she was out of there. She had to listen to a chorus of well-meant advice as she followed Bill out the front door of Merlotte's. That was how Detective Andy Bellefleur's old Buick came to sit in the parking lot at Merlotte's all night and into the next day. The Buick had certainly been empty when Andy had gotten out to enter the bar, he would later swear. He'd also testify that he'd had been so pre-occupied by his internal turmoil that he'd forgotten to lock the car. At some point between eight o'clock, when Andy had arrived at Merlotte's, and ten the next morning, when I arrived to help open the bar, Andy's car acquired a new passenger. This one would cause considerable embarrassment for the policeman. This one was dead.I shouldn't have been there at all. I'd worked the late shift the night before, and I should've worked the late shift again that night. But Bill had asked me if I could switch with one of my coworkers, because he needed me to accompany him to Shreveport, and Sam hadn't objected. I'd asked my friend Arlene if she'd work my shift. She was due a day off, but she always wanted to earn the better tips we got at night, and she agreed to come in at five that afternoon. By all rights, Andy should've collected his car that morning, but he'd been too hung over to fool with get-ting Portia to run him over to Merlotte's, which was out of the way to the police station. She'd told him she would pick him up at work at noon, and they'd eat lunch at the bar. Then he could retrieve his car. So the Buick, with its silent passenger, waited for dis-covery far longer than it should have. I'd gotten about six hours' sleep the night before, so I was feeling pretty good. Dating a vampire can be hard on your equilibrium if you're truly a daytime person, like me. I'd helped close the bar, and left for home with Bill by one o'clock. We'd gotten in Bill's hot tub to-gether, then done other things, but I'd gotten to bed by a little after two, and I didn't get up until almost nine. Bill had long been in the ground by then. I drank lots of water and orange juice and took a multivitamin and iron supplement for breakfast, which was my regimen since Bill had come into my life and brought (along with love, adventure, and excitement) the constant threat of anemia. The weather was getting cooler, thank God, and I sat on Bill's front porch wear-ing a cardigan and the black slacks we wore to work at Merlotte's when it was too cool for shorts. My white golf shirt had merlotte's bar embroidered on the left breast. As I skimmed the morning paper, with one part of my mind I was recording the fact that the grass was defi-nitely not growing as fast. Some of the leaves appeared to be beginning to turn. The high school football stadium might be just about tolerable this coming Friday night. The summer just hates to let go in Louisiana, even northern Louisiana. Fall begins in a very halfhearted way, as though it might quit at any minute and revert to the stifling heat of July. But I was on the alert, and I could spot traces of fall this morning. Fall and winter meant longer nights, more time with Bill, more hours of sleep. So I was cheerful when I went to work. When I saw the Buick sitting all by its lonesome in front of the bar, I remembered Andy's surprising binge the night before. I have to confess, I smiled when I thought of how he'd be feeling today. Just as I was about to drive around in back and park with the other employees, I noticed that Andy's rear passenger door was open just a little bit. That would make his dome light stay on, surely? And his battery would run down. And he'd be angry, and have to come in the bar to call the tow truck, or ask someone to jump him so I put my car in park and slid out, leaving it running. That turned out to be an optimistic error. I shoved the door to, but it would only give an inch. So I pressed my body to it, thinking it would latch and I could be on my way. Again, the door would not click shut. Impatiently, I yanked it all the way open to find out what was in the way. A wave of smell gusted out into the parking lot, a dreadful smell. Dismay clutched at my throat, because the smell was not unknown to me. I peered into the backseat of the car, my hand covering my mouth, though that hardly helped with the smell. "Oh, man," I whispered. "Oh, shit." Lafayette, the cook for one shift at Merlotte's, had been shoved into the backseat. He was naked. It was Lafayette's thin brown foot, its toenails painted a deep crimson, that had kept the door from shutting, and it was Lafayette's corpse that smelled to high heaven. I backed away hastily, then scrambled into my car and drove around back behind the bar, blowing my horn. Sam came running out of the employee door, an apron tied around his waist. I turned off my car and was out of it so quick I hardly realized I'd done it, and I wrapped myself around Sam like a static-filled sock. "What is it?" Sam's voice said in my ear. I leaned back to look at him, not having to gaze up too much since Sam is a smallish man. His reddish gold hair was gleaming in the morning sun. He has true-blue eyes, and they were wide with apprehension. "It's Lafayette," I said, and began crying. That was ridiculous and silly and no help at all, but I couldn't help it. "He's dead, in Andy Bellefleur's car." Sam's arms tightened behind my back and drew me into his body once more. "Sookie, I'm sorry you saw it," he said. "We'll call the police. Poor Lafayette." Being a cook at Merlotte's does not exactly call for any extraordinary culinary skill, since Sam just offers a few sandwiches and fries, so there's a high turnover. But Lafayette had lasted longer than most, to my surprise. Lafayette had been gay, flamboyantly gay, makeup-and-long-fingernails gay. People in northern Louisiana are less tolerant of that than New Orleans people, and I ex-pect Lafayette, a man of color, had had a doubly hard time of it. Despite or because of his difficulties, he was cheerful, entertainingly mischievous, clever, and ac-tually a good cook. He had a special sauce he steeped hamburgers in, and people asked for Burgers Lafayette pretty regular. "Did he have family here?" I asked Sam. We eased apart self-consciously and went into the building, to Sam's office. "He had a cousin," Sam said, as his fingers punched 9-1-1. "Please come to Merlotte's on Hummingbird Road," he told the dispatcher. "There's a dead man in a car here. Yes, in the parking lot, in the front of the place. Oh, and you might want to alert Andy Bellefleur. It's his car." I could hear the squawk on the other end of the line from where I stood. Danielle Gray and Holly Cleary, the two waitresses on the morning shift, came through the back door laugh-ing. Both divorced women in their mid-twenties, Danielle and Holly were lifelong friends who seemed to be quite happy working their jobs as long as they were together. Holly had a five-year-old son who was at kindergarten, and Danielle had a seven-year-old daughter and a boy too young for school, who stayed with Danielle's mother while Danielle was at Merlotte's. I would never be any closer to the two women who, after all, were around my age because they were careful to be sufficient unto themselves. "What's the matter?" Danielle asked when she saw my face. Her own, narrow and freckled, became in-stantly worried. "Why's Andy's car out front?" Holly asked. She'd dated Andy Bellefleur for a while, I recalled. Holly had short blond hair that hung around her face like wilted daisy petals, and the prettiest skin I'd ever seen. "He spend the night in it?" "No," I said, "but someone else did." "Who?" "Lafayette's in it." "Andy let a black queer sleep in his car?" This was Holly, who was the blunt straightforward one. "What happened to him?" This was Danielle, who was the smarter of the two. "We don't know," Sam said. "The police are on the way." "You mean," Danielle said, slowly and carefully, "that he's dead." "Yes," I told her. "That's exactly what we mean." "Well, we're set to open in an hour." Holly's hands settled on her round hips. "What are we gonna do about that? If the police let us open, who's gonna cook for us? People come in, they'll want lunch." "We better get ready, just in case," Sam said. "Though I'm thinking we won't get to open until sometime this afternoon." He went into his office to begin calling sub-stitute cooks. It felt strange to be going about the opening routine, just as if Lafayette were going to mince in any minute with a story about some party he'd been to, the way he had a few days before. The sirens came shrieking down the county road that ran in front of Merlotte's. Cars crunched across Sam's gravel parking lot. By the time we had the chairs down, the tables set, and extra silver-ware rolled in napkins and ready to replace used settings, the police came in. Merlotte's is out of the city limits, so the parish sher-iff, Bud Dearborn, would be in charge. Bud Dearborn, who'd been a good friend of my father's, was gray-haired now. He had a mashed-in face, like a human Pe-kinese, and opaque brown eyes. As he came in the front door of the bar, I noticed Bud was wearing heavy boots and his Saints cap. He must have been called in from working on his farm. With Bud was Alcee Beck, the only African American detective on the parish force. Al-cee was so black that his white shirt gleamed in contrast. His tie was knotted precisely, and his suit was absolutely correct. His shoes were polished and shining. Bud and Alcee, between them, ran the parishat least some of the more important elements that kept it functional. Mike Spencer, funeral home director and par-ish coroner, had a heavy hand in local affairs, too, and he was a good friend of Bud's. I was willing to bet Mike was already out in the parking lot, pronouncing poor Lafayette dead. Bud Spencer said, "Who found the body?" "I did." Bud and Alcee changed course slightly and headed toward me. "Sam, can we borrow your office?" Bud asked. With-out waiting for Sam's response, he jerked his head to indicate I should go in. "Sure, go right ahead," my boss said dryly. "Sookie, you okay?" "Fine, Sam." I wasn't sure that was true, but there wasn't anything Sam could do about it without getting into trouble, and all to no avail. Though Bud gestured to me to sit down, I shook my head as he and Alcee settled themselves in the office chairs. Bud, of course, took Sam's big chair, while Alcee made do with the better extra chair, the one with a little padding left. "Tell us about the last time you saw Lafayette alive," Bud suggested. I thought about it. "He wasn't working last night," I said. "Anthony was working, Anthony Bolivar." "Who is that?" Alcee's broad forehead wrinkled. "Don't recognize the name." "He's a friend of Bill's. He was passing through, and he needed a job. He had the experience." He'd worked in a diner during the Great Depression. "You mean the short-order cook at Merlotte's is a vampire?" "So?" I asked. I could feel my mouth setting stubborn, and my brows drawing in, and I knew my face was getting mad. I was trying hard not to read their minds, trying hard to stay completely out of this, but it wasn't easy. Bud Dearborn was average, but Alcee projected his thoughts like a lighthouse sends a signal. Right now he was beaming disgust and fear. In the months before I'd met Bill, and found that he treasured that disability of mine my gift, as he saw itI'd done my best to pretend to myself and everyone else that I couldn't really "read" minds. But since Bill had liberated me from the little prison I'd built for myself, I'd been practicing and experimenting, with Bill's en-couragement. For him, I had put into words the things I'd been feeling for years. Some people sent a clear, strong message, like Alcee. Most people were more off-and-on, like Bud Dearborn. It depended a lot on how strong their emotions were, how clear-headed they were, what the weather was, for all I knew. Some people were murky as hell, and it was almost impossible to tell what they were thinking. I could get a reading of their moods, maybe, but that was all. I had admitted that if I was touching people while I tried to read their thoughts, it made the picture clearerlike getting cable, after having only an antenna. And I'd found that if I "sent" a person relaxing images, I could flow through his brain like water. There was nothing I wanted less than to flow through Alcee Beck's mind. But absolutely involuntarily I was getting a full picture of Alcee's deeply superstitious re-action to finding out there was a vampire working at Merlotte's, his revulsion on discovering I was the woman he'd heard about who was dating a vampire, his deep conviction that the openly gay Lafayette had been a disgrace to the black community. Alcee figured some-one must have it in for Andy Bellefleur, to have parked a gay black man's carcass in Andy's car. Alcee was wondering if Lafayette had had AIDS, if the virus could have seeped into Andy's car seat somehow and survived there. He'd sell the car, if it were his. If I'd touched Alcee, I would have known his phone number and his wife's bra size. Bud Dearborn was looking at me funny. "Did you say something?" I asked. "Yeah. I was wondering if you had seen Lafayette in here during the evening. Did he come in to have a drink?" "I never saw him here." Come to think of it, I'd never seen Lafayette have a drink. For the first time, I realized that though the lunch crowd was mixed, the night bar patrons were almost exclusively white. "Where did he spend his social time?" "I have no idea." All Lafayette's stories were told with the names changed to protect the innocent. Well, actually, the guilty. "When did you see him last?" "Dead, in the car." Bud shook his head in exasperation. "Alive, Sookie." "Hmmm. I guessthree days ago. He was still here when I got here to work my shift, and we said hello to each other. Oh, he told me about a party he'd been to." I tried to recall his exact words. "He said he'd been to a house where there were all kinds of sex hijinks going on." The two men gaped at me. "Well, that's what he said! I don't know how much truth was in it." I could just see Lafayette's face as he'd told me about it, the coy way he kept putting his finger across his lips to indicate he wasn't telling me any names or places. "Didn't you think someone should know about that?" Bud Dearborn looked stunned. "It was a private party. Why should I tell anyone about it?" But that kind of party shouldn't happen in their parish. Both men were glaring at me. Through compressed lips, Bud said, "Did Lafayette tell you anything about drugs being used at this get-together?" "No, I don't remember anything like that." "Was this party at the home of someone white, or someone black?" "White," I said, and then wished I'd pled ignorance. But Lafayette had been really impressed by the homethough not because it was large or fancy. Why had he been so impressed? I wasn't too sure what would con-stitute impressive for Lafayette, who had grown up poor and stayed that way, but I was sure he'd been talking about the home of someone white, because he'd said, "All the pictures on the walls, they all white as lilies and smiling like alligators." I didn't offer that comment to the police, and they didn't ask further. When I'd left Sam's office, after explaining why Andy's car had been in the parking lot in the first place, I went back to stand behind the bar. I didn't want to watch the activity out in the parking lot, and there weren't any customers to wait on because the police had the entrances to the lot blocked off. Sam was rearranging the bottles behind the bar, dust-ing as he went, and Holly and Danielle had plunked themselves down at a table in the smoking section so Danielle could have a cigarette. "How was it?" Sam asked. "Not much to it. They didn't like hearing about An-thony working here, and they didn't like what I told them about the party Lafayette was bragging about the other day. Did you hear him telling me? The orgy thing?" "Yeah, he said something to me about that, too. Must have been a big evening for him. If it really happened." "You think Lafayette made it up?" "I don't think there are too many biracial, bisexual parties in Bon Temps," he said. "But that's just because no one invited you to one," I said pointedly. I wondered if I really knew at all what went on in our little town. Of all the people in Bon Temps, I should be the one to know the ins and the outs, since all that information was more or less readily avail-able to me, if I chose to dig for it. "At least, I assume that's the case?" "That's the case," Sam said, smiling at me a little as he dusted a bottle of whiskey. "I guess my invitation got lost in the mail, too." "You think Lafayette came back here last night to talk more to you or me about this party?" I shrugged. "He may have just arranged to meet some-one in the parking lot. After all, everyone knows where Merlotte's is. Had he gotten his paycheck?" It was the end of the week, when Sam normally paid us. "No. Maybe he'd come in for that, but I'd have given it to him at work the next day. Today." "I wonder who invited Lafayette to that party." "Good question." "You don't reckon he'd have been dumb enough to try to blackmail anyone, do you?"Sam rubbed the fake wood of the bar with a clean rag. The bar was already shining, but he liked to keep his hands busy, I'd noticed. "I don't think so," he said, after he'd thought it over. "No, they sure asked the wrong person. You know how indiscreet Lafayette was. Not only did he tell us that he went to such a partyand I'm betting he wasn't supposed to he might have wanted to build more on it than the other, ah, partici-pants, would feel comfortable with." "Like, keep in contact with the people at the party? Give them a sly wink in public?" "Something like that." "I guess if you have sex with someone, or watch them having sex, you feel pretty much like you're their equal." I said this doubtfully, having limited experience in that area, but Sam was nodding. "Lafayette wanted to be accepted for what he was more than anything else," he said, and I had to agree.—Reprinted from Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris by permission of Berkley, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2002, Charlaine Harris. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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