Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris

I’m going to review this book without drawing any comparison to the TV show based on it, True Blood.

Dead Until Dark is the first book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries, written by Charlaine Harris. They’re based around a character called Sookie Stackhouse, who’s described a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana.

You find out very quickly when reading this book that Sookie has an attitude. Not a bad one, as such, she’s just very feisty. She’s had to be, due to circumstances in her past. She also struggles with the fact that since she can remember, she’s been able to read minds. When she was a child, nobody believed her for a long time, and she was treated as a freak. Now an adult, people are still wary of her and her gift, but she’s learnt to control it. But it’s too late – the gift has made her pretty much undateable. And if there are any guys which haven’t been put off  by it, Sookie hasn’t wanted to go there, because she can’t cope with having to ‘listen’ to guys thinking sickening things about her and having to either ignore it, or react to it.

So basically Sookie has her job and her family, and she’s pretty happy with her lot. That is, until Vampire Bill arrives in town and she’s instantly fascinated. She doesn’t have a stigma against vampires, like so many in Bon Temps, and even more attractive, Sookie can’t read Bill’s thoughts.

The story truly begins with Bill’s arrival in town, and the fall-out. Some people are happy, some disgusted and others indifferent. But when people start dying, people start to point the finger at Bill, much to Sookie’s disgust. Soon, however, the heat is turned off Bill and onto Sookie’s own brother. Either way, poor Sookie isn’t having a good time of it and as the deaths grow closer to home, she worries that she may be the next victim.

This is a great start to the series. The writing is very easy to read as Sookie’s ‘voice’ is easy to listen to. She’s a very likeable character and you find yourself rooting for her, whatever her choices. I whizzed through this book in less than 24 hours and instantly started the next one. And despite knowing some of what was going to happen from the TV show, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. Recommended, whether you’re into the show or not.

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