Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

This entry is part [part not set] of 11 in the series The Southern Vampire Mysteries Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
A Sooke Stackhouse Novel (The Southern Vampire Mysteries), Book 1
Publisher:The Penguin Publishing Group first edition, (electronic) August 2001, Ebook:437 KB, ISBN: 0-7865-9150-1

Sooke Stackhouse is a cute, sweet, down–to-earth barmaid who just happens to be a telepath and she has become involved in the world of Vampires, Werewolves and other supernatural beings. I liked the premise and characters in this book.  With the introduction of synthetic blood, the vampires have come out to the general population and the book examines the numerous problems that this causes.

This is the first book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries series (also known as A Sooke Stackhouse Novel ), with the introduction of many different interesting characters and premises. There are currently a total of eleven books. All the books are contemporary fantasy books also known as urban fantasy.  They also fall into the romance genre. The story is told in the first person narrative with Sooke’s voice and thoughts as we follow her around.

The book starts out with the introduction of Sooke Stackhouse who can read peoples minds.  This may sound like a good thing, but in fact it is a big problem for Sooke. The overload of information from other people’s minds is very overwhelming so she has to work very hard not to hear what everyone around her thinks.  She is thrilled to meet a vampire for the first time (Bill, the vampire.) She is even more thrilled and excited to realize that with Bill she hears silence. She has no idea what Bill is thinking and for the first time in her life she can be around another person and not spend half her brain trying to shut out their thoughts.  

Sooke is a kind and caring person. She is treated like an outcast in the town she lives because she is telepathic and everyone calls her crazy Sooke.  She lives in the small town Bon Temps and works at the only pub in the town. It is owned by Sam Merlot, a cute and kind man with strawberry blond hair and blue eyes.  He also has his own secrets. We also meet a couple of other characters. Jason Stackhouse, Sooke’s younger, really hot brother who plays the field and is extremely selfish but still likable in his own way. Eric is the sexy vampire who is the sheriff of Area Five and the owner of the Vampire Club in Shreveport (the closest large town next to Bon Temps) called Fantasia.

I found Sooke’s character to be very likable. The book has lots of action surrounding Sooke, starting with Sooke saving Bill from being drained by the Rattrays (a white trash, trailer park couple.) The Rattrays attacking Sooke, where she is almost killed.  The Rattrays suspicious death as well as numerous murders being committed around town. The story is a mystery as to who has been committing the murders right up to the final chapter where everything comes to a final surprising and exciting conclusion. It is fun to read about Sooke and Bill’s developing relationship. It is also fun to read about Bill, since he was turned during the civil war and is still in many ways very chivalrous. The ending was very scary with lots of action. The story is a complete story unto itself, but it is also clearly part of a larger story.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary, urban fantasy books that focus on life with vampires and werewolves.  I think it is one of the better series in the genre.  The book has some sex scenes in it, but it is not the main focus of the book but enough to put the book into the romance genre.  So if you enjoy reading about sex, romance and vampires then you will enjoy this book.

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