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Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris
Living Dead in Dallas is the second instalment in the Sookie Stackhouse, True Blood novels written by Charlaine Harris. In this second book we continue a few weeks on from where the first book finished, Sookie Stackhouse is Bon Temps local waitress working at Merlottes Bar and also the town telepath, although not many of the locals like to acknowledge the later of those two facts. Sookie is dating a vampire named Bill whom she met when she saved him from the 'drainers', the people who catch vampires and drain their blood to sell on the black market.
After a 'slight' bruising in the first part of the series Sookie is now fully recovered, thanks to the help of Bill and some vampire blood to speed the process up and also make Sookie feel fantastic about herself in the meantime, however, all this is about to change when Sookie arrives for work one day to discover her friend and work colleague, Lafayette, Merlottes cook, is found murdered and his body dumped in Andy Bellefleur, the local policeman's patrol car after he had left it parked outside the bar as he was too drunk to drive home. Andy Bellefleur swears he locked his car before he went home and luckily for him he has his stuck up sister Portia as an alibi. So if the owner of the car which Lafayette's body was discovered in wasn't responsible for this horrible crime then who was?
As usual Sookie is eager to find out who is responsible for her friends death and talks to vampire Bill about the situation one evening as they are driving over to the nearby town of Shreveport to visit another vampire Eric. Eric needs Sookie's help and in our previous book Sookie and Eric made a deal and part of that deal involved Sookie helping Eric whenever he required her too, this means she has no choice but to go to Shreveport as and when needed as the last thing you want to do is break a deal with one of the oldest and most respected vampires around! During the drive to Shreveport Sookie and Bill end up arguing and when the car breaks down Sookie storms off into the forest to get away from Bill. Bad idea! Once Sookie is alone in the forest she encounters a strange creature who attacks her and leaves her with huge bleeding gashes across her back and tells her this is a message for Eric. After Sookie manages to crawl to the side of the road where she is found by Bill he rushes her to Eric in a critical condition.
Once at Erics Sookie is barely alive and the only option for saving her life is for Eric and his vampires to suck the poison out of her blood, once saved Sookie relays the message to Eric and it turns out the creature involved was a Maenad. A Maenad is a wild woman of the supernatural world who lives in the woods and feeds on raw meat which she often hunts and kills herself. Maenads are capable of very dangerous and lethal things if their demands are not met so this message somewhat concerns Eric.
Not long after the Maenad incident Eric is calling on Sookie for her help, she needs to travel to Dallas with Bill to assist another Vampire Stan with reading the minds of the staff who work in his bar as one of them has been stealing money from him. Sookie obliges on the condition that anyone who is innocent is not harmed by the vampires and will go free. Eric and Stan agree to this condition but when one of the innocent girls turns out to have been shot dead it is clear that someone out there is sending a warning to the supernatural world and it is a warning which cannot be ignored.
In the mean time evidence surrounding the death of Lafayette shows that not long before his death he had been to a top secret sex party, however Lafayette wasn't one for keeping quiet so it is widely suspected this may be the reason behind his death, but nevertheless, who is responsible? Only certain people are invited to these sex parties, people who like alternative, kinky or just anything which doesn't class as run of the mill sex, so upon her arrival back in Bon Temps it is only a matter of time before Sookie receives an invite to the party, she is sleeping with a vampire after all! At first Sookie is repulsed by the idea but soon realises that with her telepathic skills this could be her chance to find out not only who is responsible for the death of her friend but also if all of these strange happenings of late are connected in any way. With Bill out of town Sookie asks Eric to accompany her to the party and along with his rather 'interesting' choice of outfit this is where things get begin to get even more interesting....
Firstly, as I mentioned in my review of the first novel in the series, Dead Until Dark, I have never watched the True Blood TV series but after reading this one and a few more of the True Blood books I am intending to make some time to watch the series when I have finished all of the books.
Also as I mentioned in my previous review, when I began to read Dead Until Dark I initially had a little trouble getting into the story and it did take a while for me to really get a feel for the book, thankfully in Living Dead in Dallas this was not the case as the book begins where the last one left off, as a result of this I would definitely recommend that you read them in order.
With Living Dead in Dallas I found the storyline itself to be really intriguing as there was not only one main storyline but two or three at the same time. In the past I have read books like this before with multiple storylines and although it is great as it adds more excitement to the book I find it can be frustrating when odd ends are left untied and I don't know what the end result was, this was not the case with Living Dead in Dallas, Charlaine Harris has written the entire book excellently and leaves no loose ends. I found the book to be very addictive and hard to put down, so hard in fact that one evening I took myself off to bed at around 10:30 in the evening so I would have time for a bit of bedtime reading, I usually go to sleep around 11:30 but I got so into my book that I checked the time to find it was actually closer to 1am!
As with the first book I found Charlaine Harris's writing style a little different at times to some other books I have read because she uses American English and I wouldn't have noticed this normally but as a TEFL teacher the differences between English and American English are pointed out to me on an almost daily basis and so therefore I picked up on it easily but having read her previous book I was used to this style and it took no enjoyment out of the book at all. In my opinion her writing style is excellent, she has a fantastic way of describing a situation which enables you to picture it perfectly in your head and really get into the story. I also really like her character descriptions, especially of the new characters who are introduced in the book, her descriptions are not so long that you get bored with them but just enough to give you a good image of the character in question and use your imagination for the finer details.
I will definitely be recommending Living Dead in Dallas, it is much more interesting and has a lot more action than the first book as well as a fair few nail biting moments which prevented me from putting the book down and getting enough sleep!
The books don't have any kind of age rating as far as I am aware, however it is worth pointing out that like in the first book there are some sex references and scenes within the book which are described in a decent amount of detail and the occasional bit of bad language, so I wouldn't go buying these for the younger end of the teens!
Price & Availability
I bought my copy of Living Dead in Dallas in my local charity shop during my trip home in August last year for the bargain price of 50p! As each book has an RRP of £6.99 I think I did well! Living Dead in Dallas is widely available on eBay from 99p plus postage and packaging. My copy of Living Dead in Dallas contains 279 pages.
Thanks for reading :)
Recently I bought a box set of the Sookie Stackhouse novels from Amazon. It comprised of the first seven books in the series by author Charlaine Harris. What I tended to do before this was buy any book from the series and read them in any order. Now I would read them in sequence and having enjoyed the first 'Dead until Dark' I moved onto the second 'Living Dead in Dallas.'
==About the author:==
Charlaine Harris has become with her creation of the Sookie Stackhouse novels an international best selling author. This has been a recent development but in truth this American writer has been an author for many years. Thus far she has written 29 novels of which ten so far have been in the Sookie Stackhouse series and having read all her different series of books in my opinion these are by far the best. Now these books have been transferred to television successfully in the 'True Blood' series.
==Synopsis of the book:==
Sookie Stackhouse discovers while locking Detective Andy Bellefleur's car the body of the Chief of Merlotte's Bar in the back of his vehicle. Sookie who works as a Waitress at the Bar is helping Andy as he has been drinking too much. The dead man Lafayette was one of her friends and a colourful part of the local gay scene, so his sudden and bloody death upsets her.
Being telepathic as Sookie is has its advantages as well as disadvantages. She is often able to find out information about people by reading their minds. Although relationships are difficult when you know what your boyfriend is thinking. Her latest one is Vampire Bill Compton who advises her that his boss Eric who runs Area 5 that includes Bon Temps where they live has requested they visit him.
Sookie's telepathic skills have become well known and the Vampires in Dallas have requested her services. So with protection and support from Bill she flies into Dallas, not knowing what is in store for them both. She likes the company of Vampires as unlike humans she can rarely read their minds and finds this oddly reassuring.
==My thought on this novel:==
It has been a while since I read a book from this series and I must admit it was a welcome and enjoyable opportunity to reacquaint myself with them. Having read already read several of the series with varying degrees of enjoyment. This one I thought was an excellent one and it helped me make sense of other concepts that appear later in the subsequent books.
I would argue Charlaine Harris is not one of the greatest writers in the world despite her success. This has come about by using a very vivid imagination and creating a superb lead character, in a world we think we know and recognise but one in which things are not as they seem with Super Natural beings living quietly amongst us.
Initially for me all the signs where wrong with this book. By this I mean I didn't particularly like the books title, but more than that I found when I opened the book it had three pages of quotes praising the author's various novels. This always leaves me cold especially as there was more on the front and back cover as well. Although on the back cover I also discovered a two-paragraph summary of the story which I thought was excellent. Yes it was a little short but full of exciting details about what was about to happen in the story. It made me really want to read it as it sounded amazing and cunningly encompassed most of the major themes within it.
The story itself started with the mysterious death of the Chef from the Bar Sookie worked at. For a fan of crime thrillers like me this was an ideal start, not because I did not like Lafayette but because I like a mystery that gets the reader involved straight away without a long and tedious preamble. As I found like Sookie I wanted to know who killed this man, why and was there significance to him being put in the Detectives car.
For here the story moved quickly on to Sookie's need to visit Eric and found out what he wanted from her. However on route Bill's car breaks down and she goes for a walk in the woods, where she receives a poisonous lashing from a Maenad with a message for Eric. From here the story moved to Dallas and the main and most interesting part of the story. At this stage I couldn't understand why both Lafayette and the attack on Sookie by the Maenad were included. Especially as following this the next 150 pages dealt with like in Dallas. It was only much later the significance became apparent and I realised the author had cleverly told us separate stories.
The Dallas story was the highlight of the novel for me, because it was not Sookie's home turf so I felt I could easily relate to her feeling of being a fish out of water. With new experiences and surprised round every corner, with suspense behind what was happening and what Sookie needed to do. It was a well-planned story and one that because of the mystery employed by the author you were never sure if the outcome would be successful or even happy.
The unexpected is what you get when you read a book in this series and this one was no different. Such is the author's style and impressive story telling ability that it is not until the exciting conclusion that you discover any of the answers. Although I must admit because it was so fast paced I did find it a little confusing as well. The horror within the story I do not find very scary but there are always some sinister characters to enjoy and the unpredictability of the situation Sookie is placed in.
Miss Stackhouse is unsurprisingly the star of these novels and it is from her perspective the story is written. As a result you get to know and feel exactly how she feels to what is happening to her. What impresses me is Sookie being telepathic receives messages from all the humans around her, but the author always makes it clear here these messages are coming from so you never get confused. She is from my viewpoint a unique and fantastic lead character, very easy to relate and like. But one you want to know all about and all the exciting developments in her life.
In addition to this I would say part of the success of this series is attributed to the wonderful support characters within it. Some are in all the books such as Vampires Eric and Bill and Shape Shifter Sam. While others will play a particular role in one storyline. It is the richest of their diversity that makes then fascinating and the way they interact with each other. I like the relationship between the two vampires as they are both attracted to Sookie and have to be civil to one another despite not really having time for each other, All these support characters you are given enough information on to begin with and the ones that stay in the series you learn more detail about over time.
However these stories are not just about Horror, the supernatural and the unexpected. There is plenty of humour within the stories too. You get both dark and sarcastic humour running parallel which brings a new dimension to the stories. For me this is demonstrated far better in the books than on the television series. It works so well because the Vampires generally have no sense of irony or humour so a lot of what Sookie says is wasted on them and they react seriously to what she has said. For me it is a clever feature and often has me chuckling away while reading.
One of the main features that accompany the novel is the mystery and suspense the author creates all the way through the story, you can never relax and you are left wondering until the plot unfolds. I personally like the way she will leave a story and come back to it much later but I know others find this annoying. As I like the suspense and enjoy thinking about my own answers to it. In this book most of the answers were resolved so for me the book had a complete and polish feel about it and it was exactly the right length to do all this.
For me a lot of the beauty of these novels is you can take out what you want from the story. They can be deep thought provoking suspense thrillers, but at the same time they can be a lighthearted novel, which is unbelievable. This book took me only a weekend to read and I must admit when I picked it up I struggled to put it down again until I had finished it.
I am not sure where this books rates amongst the series, for me it is very high as it had all the ingredients I enjoy in a spooky mystery. This success for me is based around well thought out and interesting different strands of the stories. With my only real complaint being sometimes I feel the author could employ more depth in descriptions and more detail about what happened next in some completed scenes.
I found this a very satisfying and thrilling horror story. As such I would recommend it to anyone who likes this style of book or who has enjoyed the television spin of from this, as these in my opinion are better. The characters are believable and ones you want to know more about despite not always being human. It for me felt like quite a light read but one that was rich in its diversity from the normal thrillers on the market.
Price: £3.50 New at Amazon
ISBN-13: 978- 0575089389
About the author: www.charlaineharris.com
Year of publication: 2002
Thanks for reading my review
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo
©CPTDANIELS May 2011.
Living Dead in Dallas - A True Blood novel
When it first came out I did see the odd episode here and there of the True Blood TV series, but I never went out of my way to watch it and subsequently it was something that pretty much bypassed me. I wasn't entirely sure when I picked up the first book that this would be a series or something that I would enjoy. However, for Christmas I got the box set of the True Blood novels by Charlaine Harris, which this 'Living dead in Dallas' is the second in the series.
The main character is Sookie who I am coming to greatly like, she is quirky, intelligent and definitely feisty. However, I am not too sure about her name, it took me a bit of getting used to after initially reading it. However, the unusualness of it seems to fit her well because she is one of the most unique characters I have read about in a while. She is a Telepathic bar maid working and living in a small town (Bon Temps in southern America) where supernatural events are running rampant. In the previous book Sookie made a deal to aid the vampires in her area with her special 'gift' or 'curse' depending upon how you think of it - mind reading. The vampires exchange her services for a big payment to their friendly brethren in Dallas, Texas where most of the book is set.
In the world that Sookie lives and breathes the vampires have come out of hiding and as they put it are attempting to 'mainstream', live out in the open right alongside the humans. All thanks to a new artificial blood supply that allows them to live without feeding off of use mere mortals, not that they don't take the occasional bite.
When Sookie and Bill arrive in Dallas where they are staying in the first ever hotel set up to cater for every need a vampire might have, they get down to business and head off down to meet Stan the vampire leader of this area. It appears that one of the Dallas vampires have gone missing and Sookie has been tasked with helping to uncover what has happened to him.
Because this book is set in Dallas there is less of the characters that we were introduced to in book one which in some ways was rather a shame. This book moves on from just introducing vampires to expanding the supernatural world, we begin to see that there is a whole other world that the humans are just oblivious to living and working right alongside of them, being fiercely secretive. I did enjoy this book but I was looking forward to the next one getting back to home territory.
In the last book I didn't really get 'Bill' as being a vampire, he seemed to be the ultimate Mr Nice guy. In this book we really begin to see the animal in him and get to see his true nature and the reason why he is different from us mere humans. I enjoyed the first book in the series, but I got into this one much more and faster because the characters felt more developed and real.
One thing that Charlaine Harris does really well in the True Blood novels is conjure up the background life and people that populate a small town life. Some of the smaller characters read like they have been given a lot of thought and effort, a mistake that some authors make. Charlaine Harris also doesn't hide away from the odd sexual romp every so often but the book isn't littered with these scenes. I won't go as far to say that these are tastefully done but they definitely don't detract from the story.
There are a few things that I didn't exactly dislike about this book but that I didn't really like either. Some of the descriptions of what Sookie was wearing or was going to put on seemed to be numerous and mostly surplus information, which often felt like it broke up the flow of the story in parts. For my liking there were just far too many scenes describing her hair and clothes, now I have to admit this was more of a minor irritation than anything. By no means let this put you off the book.
I would definitely recommend this book to others but I would recommend that you read the first one 'Dead until dark' first. I think as a standalone book this just wouldn't be as good in my opinion it really does need to be read as part of a series.
Very rarely for me I have been reading this series one directly after the other and I am already happily most of the way through the third instalment. With the exception of the Percy Jackson series (by Rick Riordan) I have never read a series one after the other preferring to break them up with other books in between. It's just that personally, I think that these books or at least the first few have a really good flow being read together. They are also relatively short books with this one coming in at 279 pages so I have been reading them in over just a few days. They are good and when I start I find them easy to sit down and finish.
Personally, I think for enjoyment and readability assuming you like urban vampire fantasy novels then this book probably deserves a four and a half stars out of five, but since I can't I will round it up to a full five out of five. I knocked off half a star because I am hoping that this is far from the best that the series will have to offer and a couple of times the languages used in the sex scenes were a little cringe worthy.
Due to the popularity of the TV series these books are widely available online and in most Waterstone book shops and you can buy this one individually priced for £4.25 from Amazon. However, if you are interested in the series I recommend starting at the beginning and if you want you can purchase the box set of all the books excluding the latest edition for £20 (reduced from £50) via Amazon.
After reading the first book in this series, which was actually a Christmas present for my sister, I decided to order the second one for her but read it before wrapping.
In the second book of the series, Sookie and Bill have managed to hold their relationship together, despite doubts in the first book.
At the beginning of the book, Sookie finds that one of her colleagues has been murdered and wants to help the search for their killer.
However, the couple are summoned to Dallas by Bill's elder, Eric, to assist in finding a missing vampire. Sookie must use her 'gift' the read the thoughts of humans and aid the vampires in finding their brother.
However, nothing every runs smoothly and Sookie finds herself in grave danger and hoping her gift will allow her to call for help.
Will they make it back to Bon Temps to help find the murderer? And will they find the missing vampire?
I enjoyed this book just as much as the first and, again, devoured it in one sitting.
As with the previous novel, I found that the story gripped me from the beginning as there was so much going on. I found myself trying to work out who had done it and flipping back through the pages to look for clues.
Also, the novel has a great balance of action and excitment along with the love story, rather than just have one of the other, which makes it even more interesting.
I am now looking to pick up the rest of this series as I am very into it now. I'm so glad I picked these up!!
I loved the first novel in this series, Dead Until Dark, and I was not disappointed by this follow up. I think what I like most about this series is the exploration of a relationship between a vampire and a human. Things do not go smoothly between Sookie and Bill as they are obviously two very different people. Sookie has trouble dealing with the fact that Bill doesn't always react to things the way a human would and I think that this is something that may pop up again later on in the series. But they love each other and are willing to work at their relationship and this makes their relationship a lot more realistic for me.
I also find the vampire politics to be very interesting. The vampires have a strict hierarchy and have many rules that they need to adhere to and although Sookie is slowly uncovering how the vampire world works, there is still a lot that she (and therefore we, as readers) do not know. But it is not just politics among the vampires that is brought up in this novel. Humans show a lot of prejudice towards the vampires and there are hate groups, such as The Fellowship of the Sun, who are bent on their destruction. At the other end of the scale are the 'Fang-Bangers' - humans who want nothing more than to be around vampires - a fact that many vampires seem to take advantage of through their businesses.
There are all different types of mythical and supernatural creatures in this novel and I love the world that this creates - someone who you see every day could be a shapeshifter, for example, and you wouldn't have any idea. Just in this novel alone there are vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves and a maenad (female worshippers of the Greek god of mystery, wine and intoxication - the name literally translates as 'raving ones').
Living Dead in Dallas is a fast-paced read that keeps readers turning those pages. The mystery aspect surrounding Lafayette was intruiging and I was surprised when it was revealed who had killed him. It was a twist that I hadn't seen coming. My only criticism of the book would be the structure of the story - it starts off with the discovery of Lafayette's body, then moves to Dallas where Sookie goes in search of another vampire's missing brother, and then moves back to the Lafayette storyline once the Dallas mystery has been solved. The two storylines are not involved and I wasn't sure why the author was going backwards and forwards between the two. However, I still really enjoyed this book and would say that it is definitely worth a read.
I have read all of the nine books currently published in the True Blood series. The first I found to be too similar to the tv programme - despite some big differences in supporting characters - to really engage me, however the subsequent books gripped my attention, in a way that I hadn't anticipated. There are a couple of books which let the series down, with story lines which seem to be going through the motions and filling space prior to a major development in the following book, however I am now definitely hooked and looking forward to the next book published in May. The supporting characters provide an interesting backdrop for Sookie and her tangled love life all of which gets darker and more complex as the series progresses. One note of caution - these are not for young teenage girls looking to fill the void left by Edward Cullen and company - far too raunchy and written in a very different style to the twilight series!
After reading the first of Charlaine Harris' books in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series and watching the hit TV show True Blood, I couldn't wait to get my teeth into this book. Sookie finds LaFayette's body in a car outside Merlottes and uses her mind reading talents to try to find the killer. Eric summons Bill to do a job in Dallas for the local vampire leader and Sookie goes with him to help. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that it met my high expectations left by the first book. Sookie's character is expanded on a bit and she has a lot more adventures without Bill. I read this book in 1 sitting and I found it really difficult to put down. I was really drawn into the story line (I don't want to give it away for you) and its nice to see that Bill and Sookie still can't keep their hands off either other while Eric's character is expanded upon so you get to know him a bit better. Near the end I was on the edge of my seat trying to work out what was going to happen next and how Sookie was going to get herself out of the situation she had got herself into. I thoroughly recommend this book to all vampire fans and bring on the third book, Club Dead
**NB possible spoilers for those who haven't read the first in the series, Dead Until Dark**
Living Dead in Dallas is the second in the series more commonly known as True Blood (the first book was made into the cult hit tv series last year). Sookie Stackhouse, the telepathic waitress in love with a vampire, isn't in for an easy time of it! She owes the vamps a favour as they previously saved her life and so agrees to work with them in using her skills to locate a missing vampire.
The second book of the series is interesting as it gives us rather more insight into the alternative vampire mythology created by Charlaine Harris. For instance we see Bill travelling by plane and staying in a hotel, and the various logistical arrangements which that requires! Without wanting to give away any plot detail, we also learn more about the enemies of the vampires, not all of whom are humans...
Sookie remains a charming narrator and it's fun to register her reactions as she delves deeper into the vampiric world (remember that although vampires and humans live side by side in this series, vampires only recently "came out" and are keen to keep various aspects of their lifestyles under wraps).
This second book in the series is recommended as a fun read but again look out for some of the more erotic scenes, as you might want to vet these before letting younger readers have these books.
NB it's worth noting that the action in this series leads straight on from one book to the next so they are worth reading in order - listed below:
1. Dead Until Dark
2. Living Dead in Dallas
3. Club Dead
4. Dead to the World
5. Dead as a Doornail
6. Definitely Dead
7. All Together Dead
8. From Dead to Worse
9. Dead and Gone
UPDATE: I have just discovered that you can buy the first eight True Blood titles on www.thebookpeople.co.uk for £8.99 - what a bargain!! I am feeling slightly put out, having bought them all separately, but hopefully someone on here can benefit!
Living Dead in Dallas is the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries / True Blood Series, which is written by Charlaine Harris. You can buy the book individually for between £3 and £6, but it's much better value if you buy the book as part of a set from the Book People for £8.99, or Amazon for £20. That price is for the first 8 books from this series, and is obviously not going to be around forever!
The True Blood series centres around a telepathic waitress from the small American town of Bon Temps, called Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie is dating a vampire called Bill, who recently moved to the small town to 'mainstream' and become a part of the local community. In the modern world of True Blood, vampires are no longer ficticious creatures who live in the shadows, but legally recognised members of society. Supposedly they drink only synthetic blood these days, though of course that varies from vampire to vampire.
In this book, the second in the series, Sookie and her boyfriend Bill find themselves summoned by Bill's elder, Eric, to help solve a mysterious disappearance in the vampire community. Sookie had previously made a promise to help Eric any time he needed it, and now she's being held to it. Sookie soon finds herself in way over her head, amongst a fantasy world she can hardly believe exists. Although only vampires have come out of the closet in the True Blood modern American world, Sookie quickly realises that every fairy tale she's ever heard holds an element of truth in it.
I really enjoy reading yet another fast-paced and compelling read from this series, and by the end of this book I was sure that I'd enjoy the whole series. There was even more action and adventure contained in these pages than there was in the first book, though this did mean that certain scenes were skirted over a bit quicker than perhaps they should have been. Everything was explained so that no loose ends were left untied, but there is so much more Charlaine Harris could have told us about some of the sub-plots that go on in this book.
There was a little bit of an element of suspense missing from this book too, as it was obvious from the outset that Sookie was going to survive all of the dramas. Well, she had to to go onto star in all the other books right?! But there was some minor suspense going on in dealing with who would survive out of the other central characters.
This isn't quite as gripping and well written as the first book, but it's close enough. I think there are definite areas for improvement in this, including more detail in the sub-plots and a more suspenseful style of writing in places. But over all, this is an exciting read that fans of the series should enjoy. There's lots going on, the characters are interesting and the world that Charlaine Harris has created is really very original and unique, despite the inclusion of so many classic fairy tale characters.
Living Dead in Dallas is the second of the True Blood novels. After reading Dead Until Dark I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next book and I was not disappointed.
This book takes off just after the end of Dead Until Dark. Sooky the telepathic waitress once again finds herself in a whole heap of trouble after an argument with her vampire boyfriend Bill leads to her being used as a calling card for a very unpleasant visitor. Sooky's life is only saved by the quick actions of her somewhat vampire friends, but nothings ever free and Sooky finds herself obligated to head off to Dallas on a missing person hunt.
After a rather bad attempt at a covert operation that predictably leaves Sooky battered and bruised she finds herself running for her life with her not entirely willing new friend in tow.
This book does have two separate stories going on and the secondary story while essential to the set up of the main story feel a bit like an after thought. Although it does create the opportunity for my favourite character Eric (the ex-Viking!) to show up and shine! More Eric please!
After a small break from reading my vampire genre books ( I managed a whole non vampire book!), I am now refreshed after feeling a little jaded, and am now back on the case.
After recently reading and reviewing the previous book in this particular series (the books that the hit series True Blood was based on), I was pleased to find the second one work it's way into my greedy little grasp....hence this review!
The book I will now review is - "Living dead in Dallas- Charlaine Harris"
The book I have to say will confuse you, but only (if like me), you have watched the True Blood series before reading the books, as the chronological order of the books doesn't follow the series, so don't even try to.
This book starts off with the main character of the previous book, his being barmaid/vampire girlfriend/telepath Sookie Stackhouse.
After a particularly drunken night at the bar where she works Merlottes, the sheriff, Andy Bellefleur, has to be taken home and has his keys confiscated and put behind the bar.
In the morning Sookie discovers the body of the bars cook, flamboyant transsexual Lafeyette.
As part of Sookies agreement with the head of Area 5, Eric the main vampire in the area, to lend her telepathic powers in exchange for her safe being in her "relationship" with Bill, another vampire, she is called upon to aid and assist the Dallas vampires to find one of there missing brothers.
After following up "A lead" concerning an evangelical type organisation called "worshipers of the sun", Sookie is drawn into either side of the argument "for or against" the bloodsuckers, trouble is she has already been seen with Bill, so will she be able to protest her innocence?
I have to say I really enjoyed this book, much more than the first one, due to the fact I mentioned at the beginning.
After reading the first and trying to follow without comparing it to the television series is hard enough, but when the series of events has completely changed without there even being a hint of the two comparing it is damn confusing, not that it was a bad book by any means.
This book started afresh, new story, new characters and much development within Sookie and Bill's characters.
I love the way the author portrays the couples ever blossoming relationship to that of any a mixed race couple back in the day when that wasn't "the done thing", I feels a little uncomfortable when she has to defend constantly to others about her feelings for Bill, who in fairness is effectively dead!
This book introduces you to many new characters, mostly vampires and demonstrates their contempt for their "food source" but also of how drawn in humans are with them, though as the synopsis suggests there is a movement that opposes the blood suckers, though as with most cult organisations, the group is made up of extremists and generally bad people, needed to carry out certain tasks that maybe a normal person would have trouble doing, or at east their consciences would!
Also the introduction to one of the oldest vampires so far in the story, Godric, shows how even murdering vampires can hit a new low, and so after repenting his sins has decided to meet the sun (kill himself), though after you read why he has decided this fate, you will be truly egging him on, I didn't see it coming but felt real uncomfortable after discovering what it is.
As I mentioned in the previous review on the previous book, I said how I got a little "pushed to the limit" with the extra supernatural characters that seemed to be popping up through the story, after reading this book I feel a little bit more at peace with them, due in part to the explanation that "not all the supe's wanna be outed, not like those stupid bloodsuckers!", though there is an introduction to a new character a maenard, that is likened to a Komodo dragon, carrying the same poisons and germs in their saliva meaning certain death to humans.
For more information on this book visit - www.orionbooks.co.uk
Price wise these are available for purchase around the £6.00 mark (HMV), though on www.amazon.co.uk, you could probably get this for much less!
Thanks for reading x
Living Dead in Dallas is the second book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries series, by author Charlaine Harris. I read the first book in the series after watching the True Blood TV programme, of which it is based, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So the next step was to carry on reading Harris's books.
The second series of True Blood is based on this second book, but it's much more loosely done than season one and the Dead Until Dark book. The story is roughly the same but there are some quite major differences, things have been added to the TV programme and some quite key plot points have been left out of the book. This is a review of the book though and not season two of True Blood, I just thought it would be useful to note that the two are very different in places and thus worthy of checking both out.
Living Dead in Dallas carries on directly from where Dead Until Dark leaves off. The main character of Sookie Stackhouse has just found a dead body in the car park of Merlotte's, the bar she works in, the body of her colleague Lafayette Reynolds (here's the first major difference to True Blood). Local detective Andy Bellefleur is wrongly accused of the murder and it is left up to Sookie and her mind reading abilities to track down the real killer, delving into Bon Temps seedy underworld. The plot is essentially split into two very separate story arcs, this being one of them, which overlap and come together at the end. The second arc involves Sookie and her vampire boyfriend Bill Compton being summoned to see their vampire area leader, Eric Northman. On their way to his bar, Fangtasia, Sookie is attacked by a maenad, a mythical creature which feeds of sexuality and chaos. This maenad, named Callisto demands tribute from Eric and the vampires in his area, using Sookie as her messenger. It is later revealed that Eric wanted to see Sookie to request the use of her mind reading abilities. A prominent vampire has gone missing in Dallas, presumably kidnapped by the anti-vampire religious fanatics; The Fellowship of the Sun. Sookie and Bill must go undercover within the church and come to the bottom of the missing vampire.
Where in the first book Charlaine Harris introduces us to the world of vampires, and touches on shape shifters. In Living Dead in Dallas this is expanded on even more, Werewolves are introduced to us for the first time. Similar to the shape shifters in many ways, but much more dangerous. I loved how Harris just drops in little hints, such as the strong dislike between vampires and werewolves, things which you can just tell are going to be explored much more in future books.
The world is even more vivid in this book, many more vampires and strange creatures are introduced to us, with even the lesser characters given a surprising amount of depth and personality. This is a book which reads like it's part of a series, like I said, not everything is explained and certain things are just touched on, surely to be answered in future books. Living Dead in Dallas is part mystery, part romance, but a really fun read. The relationship between Sookie and Bill is obviously one of the main plot points, and it is a little bit girly at times, but you can totally let that slide. For every soppy moment there's someone getting bitten in the neck or some crazy new character being introduced.
As for the storyline I loved everything which happened in Dallas, dealing with the Fellowship of the Sun, but I found the mystery stuff about Lafayettes death a little weak (and done much better in True Blood). It's no big deal, and the book as a whole is still an excellent read, but it's a little up and down at times. Not quite on the same level as the first book. There's enough here though to make me want to read the next one (and the one after that...), Harris's world is just a really fun place to read about, her books are funny, mysterious, romantic and violent, there's something for everyone, what more could you want.
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publication Date: March 2002
Pages: 291 Paperback and 304 Hardcover
ISBN: ISBN 0-441-01673-1
Sookie Stackhouse - Mind reading waitress
Bill Compton - Sookie's vampire boyfriend
Eric Northman - Bill's vampire superior, rival for Sookies love
Sam Merlotte - Bar own and shapeshifter
Stan Davis - Dallas vampire sheriff
Barry - Another telepath
Steve and Sarah Newlin - Pastor and Wife of The Fellowship of the Sun
Andy Bellefleur - Bon Temps detective
Tara Thornton - Sookies friend