Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

(Southern Vampire Series, #2)
Urban Fantasy

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of bad luck. First, her coworker is murdered, and no one seems to care. Then she's face-to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it.)

Point is, they saved her life. So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favor, she complies. And soon, Sookie's in Dallas using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She's supposed to interview certain humans involved. There's just one condition: The vampires must promise to behave - and let the humans go unharmed. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly...

 “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.”

Being addicted to this series, when three came in the mailbox at once, I delightfully devoured them back-to-back. No, I didn't get needed sleep, so fortunately I was off work that day.

There are two major mysteries for the price of one. First, Sookie discovers the dead body of Merlotte's cook, Lafayette, in the back of Andy Bellefluer's car outside the bar one morning. Determined to solve the murder of her friend - and clear Andy's name, although that's not the biggest priority since the two families dislike each other - things get even more complicated when boyfriend Bill's boss, Eric, summons the two to go to Dallas and help a head vampire discover where his missing "brother" has gone. The latter plot takes up the majority of the book, and is the first mystery to go. Accompanied by Bill and running into Eric, it's stressful times to be had as Sookie winds up in trouble with a radical anti-vampire group.

As always, reading about Sookie's adventures is a delight. She's a down to earth, southern girl with an unusual ability that makes her desirable to all supernatural creatures. Her relationship with Bill is still sweet to this point, with them having a minor obstacle and jealousy running supreme. My hormones speed up again with Eric's scenes, as his humorous flirting and determined seduction is my favorite area of the books. There's a vampire I wouldn't turn away!

There are many scenes that stand out with supreme enjoyment. First, when Sookie must enlist in the aide of the vamps to heal her wounds from the beastly creature of the woods; what discomfort she felt, but how funny the moment. Another great time was with Eric outside the hotel room while Bill and Sookie resumed their frisky nature - too cute! Stan and Bill looking at Sookie like she offered them a Big Mac by mentioning the potential bug in the room (have to love the way Harris wrote that one), Eric asking Sookie to yield on the top of the car outside the cabin, Sookie and Bill discovering the 'new vampire in town' in front of Stan, all were moments that stood out and made this book as great as it is.

The interactions between the two vampires regarding Sookie is hysterical, and I especially loved the ending "orgy" scene. No, not an orgy with Sookie and the vamps, but going to an awkward orgy to try and solve Lafayettes' death. I went between covering my face in discomfort, giggling at the absurdity of it all, to groaning at certain aspects of Sookie and Eric's interaction. Fun times!

The 'master vampire' - even if they're not called that in the Sookie world - Stan, was interesting too. Not anywhere near erotic, he was still an intriguing character I wouldn't mind seeing more of in the future. I enjoyed the strange interaction Sookie had with Andy and sister Portia, as seeing how she's shunned from the community because of her ability is a great obstacle in the series. Sam was a great character again, even if his part did take a slight backstage one. I was surprised with his feelings toward the maenad, though.

Harris writes a book that's quick and easy to read, accurately portraying Sookie's feelings. You feel what she feels, and there's plenty of times you'll be laughing out loud from her internal monologue. I wouldn't have guessed what happened in either mysteries, so the story's were tightly woven enough to where they weren't predictable, and the character interaction is what really made everything so interesting.

As before there are some hot sex scenes, but thankfully they in no way make up a bulk of the story, choosing instead to compliment the story and not take from it. Violence wise there's nothing dramatically bad, but of course there's a certain degree of blood and death involved. (This story does involve supernatural creatures, after all).

So, let's see, I've covered the story depth, writing style, characters, blood level, sex level, and hormone surges. I'm still not sure how I feel with Bill's revelation toward the end about his long-lost family, but no book is perfect. (I also still get slightly irritated when Sookie says grandmama, I always hated that word, and "gonna" too much.) Nothing much left to say except that if you're not reading this series, you're missing out on a wonderful world of supernatural creatures determined to worm their way into your head.

   Book Quotes:

“You've reached Fantasia, where the undead live again every night. For bar hours, press one. To make a party reservation, press two. To talk to alive person or a dead vampire, press three. Or, if you were intending to leave a humorous prank message on our answering machine, know this: we will find you.”- Pam

“So you want me to go to a human orgy, where I will not be welcome, and you want us to leave before I get to enjoy myself?" - Eric

   Reviews of the Series: