Sunday, January 27, 2008

Review: Living Dead in Dallas (Southern Vampire #2)

“Sure, Sookie Stackhouse is pretty. But it’s her mind they’re after…

All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly…”

Living Dead in Dallas, by Charlaine Harris, is the second novel of the Southern Vampire series. Sookie Stackhouse, with the gifted ability to read people’s minds, works at Merlotte’s Bar as a cocktail waitress. The setting is northern Louisiana in a rural small town called Bon Temps.

At the bar table is Andy Bellefleur, a local detective, who looks “drunk as a skunk.” Her vampire-boyfriend, Bill, stops by the place to see her. He is “mainstreaming,” a term that describes vampires living among humans and adopting their cultural ways. Vampires have civil rights and are citizens in contemporary America. Sookie contacts Andy's sister, Portia, to retrieve her drunken brother before he attempts to drives himself home.

As Sookie checks inside Bellefleur’s car, she notices an unconscious body. Her co-worker, Lafayette Reynolds, a black queer man, lies dead in the back seat of the car. That night, Bill tells Sookie that she has been summoned to meet Eric (a Viking vampire from the previous novel) about a new case. Before they can travel to Shreveport, a maenad (Greek mythological creature) attacks Sookie as a death message for Eric. Quickly, Bill rushes her to Fangtasia, a vampire nightclub, to help and revive her from near death.

Sookie must find a missing vampire in Dallas in this new case. For protection, Bill accompanies her on this trip. Once she arrives in the Dallas airport, a mysterious man dressed in priest-like clothing approaches her. Who is he and what does he want with her? That evening, Sookie meets Stan Davis, the head vampire of the Dallas nest, and she uses her telepathic skills to locate themissing vampire: Farrell. But she learns that there was another vampire in the house with Farrell. Who is this guy? Why does he want Farrell?

Sookie and a human friend tour the Fellowship, a cult which wants to eliminate vampires in the name of God, so that they can find information on this mysterious vampire and the whereabouts on Farrell. Only Sookie and her friend don’t realize that this is not an ordinary group of people. This group will harm anyone associated with vampires—human or non-human.

This novel incorporates more supernatural/mythological creatures than the previous novel, Dead Until Dark. Sookie goes on more wild adventures that often put her life in danger. There are many sex scenes in this novel. This is definitely not your average teen novel! With more action and less plot development, the reader may not want to stop reading! Sookie just seems to be everywhere in the wrong place and time. She is one confident and smart woman. One thing I do criticize is that Harris tries to put too much in this novel. I felt it would have been better if it was divided into two separate books. There is so much new information and new storylines that it took me a while to digest everything. While I still enjoyed this book, it left me with more questions than answers. I found the ending somewhat random. Will Harris explain this discovery in her next book? Who knows. For some readers, that is a good thing. I just hope the next book of this series takes issue of these questions.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Southern Vampire series, Club Dead.

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