Desert Isle Keeper
Dead Until Dark
An unread Dead Until Dark is a smile waiting to happen. This crossover book is appealing on a variety of levels, which makes for a very nice change. Usually, if I have a long list of things I want to point out, they generally have to do with the problems in a book. Not so this one. So with smile in place, the reader opens to book and meets the very appealing Sookie Stackhouse, who has always longed for a vampire to visit the bar where she works. Unfortunately, few of them feel the urge to visit a small town in rural northern Louisiana. Part of Sookie’s desire for her own vampire comes from her “disability,” as she likes to call it. If she doesn’t work at blocking them out, she can hear the thoughts of every person who comes into the bar, which makes her appear just a little crazy to all the regulars. Though Sookie figures she’s due a vampire customer as a kind of reward for her loneliness, the one she gets becomes so much more.
By page twelve my smile had turned into a laugh. Sookie manages to save the vampire from a dangerous situation while perplexing him with her response to his supposed mesmerizing abilities.
“You’re different – What are you?”
He seemed to be going through a list of possibilities in his head from the way he was looking at me. “Well. I’m Sookie Stackhouse, and I’m a waitress.” I told him. “What’s your name?”
“Bill,” he said.
“The vampire Bill! I thought it might be Antoine, or Basil, or Langford! Bill!”
I laughed right along with Sookie. Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampire is Jean-Claude and Anne Rice has Lestat, Vittorio and Armand. Ms. Harris gives Sookie – Bill!
The humor is continuing element that complicates the classification of this novel. Vampires suggest horror but the underlying humor makes this anything but. When Sookie tells her grandmother she met a vampire her granny’s response is to suggest Sookie ask Bill to speak to her Civil War group: The Descendents of the Glorious Dead. Now that makes a very wonderful, though wacky, kind of sense. Who wouldn’t want to talk to a vampire about the things he witnessed first-hand?
And in case you’re wondering, Bill is no slouch in the appeal department. He’s talk, dark, and handsome. Need I say more? Oh, well I suppose you’ll want to know a little more about him. Bill has come to Bon Temps because he’s inherited a home. He wants to live as normal a life as possible. He certainly doesn’t have any desire to be part of the vampire scene in New Orleans, a fact that will later come back to haunt his relationship with Sookie.
The advent of a vampire into the small-town of Bon Temps, Louisiana does more than turn Sookie’s world upside down. Bill’s arrival coincides with the murder of several young women. Though she’s convinced that Bill is innocent, Sookie isn’t so sure everyone else will believe this fact. These murders aren’t thrown in to create danger for the heroine, as happens in much of the romantic suspense I’ve read. They’re an integral part of the book and have effects that Sookie and Bill will continue to deal with in their relationship.
Almost every facet of the plot and subplot serves a purpose. There were a couple of plot points that were dropped pretty quickly, and without going into any spoilers, seemed to be a little extraneous. Though they are responsible for the minus in this A level read, I have confidence that this author will pick them up in her next Southern Vampire Mystery. My only real frown came when I realized I was finished with the book and would have to wait a year for the next.