38./39. Living Dead in Dallas and Club Dead

The saga continues of Sookie Stackhouse…..My God I can’t believe how much Sookie is beaten, kicked, staked and what have you in these two books.  Living Dead in Dallas is definitely a huge rollercoaster ride of suspense.  However, I found that Club Dead was not nearly as exciting.  The couple, Sookie and Bill is missing in this story, which works so well in the first two.  Nevertheless, we learn about all the supernatural beings (shapeshifters, werewolves,etc.) existing in our society and realize along with Sookie that things are just a bit more complicated than we could have ever imagined.

Sookie is a character that is growing and changing throughout each novel.  Not only is her power developing but she is starting to accept being attractive to other supernatural beings.  The thing I really disliked in these two novels are the constant reiteration of certain facts from the earlier books as the story goes on.  It’s just  repetitive, even though it’s obviously been put in for readers that decide to read them out of sequence (not a good idea).  I also found that the middle of Club Dead seemed quite frankly a little dead.   In spite of that, you’ll keep reading just as I did because you’ll want to know how it all ends.

The series True Blood has basically taken over and there are those who love the series and those that can’t get into it like me.  I can’t say I watched enough to judge it fairly, but I’m sure I would be disappointed by the way the story has gone off the path of the book.  I hate when that happens.  I get that they want to make things look and feel different from all the other vampire shows, which are their direct competition, but there is something wrong in this tv series.  I’m giving four stars to Living Dead in Dallas and three stars to Club Dead.  If you’ve read any of these books what do you think about them?  Do you feel the allegory for gay rights is done well?  Which do you prefer, the books or the tv series?  Check out the interesting clip below of Charlaine Harris being interviewed on PBS.

I am a drinker with writing problems.

——–Brendan BEHAN

37. Dead Until Dark

One of my good friends has been bugging me to read this for such a long time now that I can’t even believe I’ve finally gotten to it.  You know who you are.  One of my book club buddies brought the first three books of the Sookie  Stackhouse series and dropped them in front of me saying, “You haven’t read these.  You need to.  You’re going to love them.  Well it was as lip licking as this cover, even though, I thought I couldn’t bear reading anymore stories about vampires.  Twilight and all the stories that followed, “vampired” me out.  Strangely enough, I think Dead Until Dark has perked my interest for vampires again or could it be the breeze of Halloween on its way?

Dead Until Dark is a suspenseful, intriguing, page turner with that “laissez les bons temps rouler” Louisiana flavor.  Sookie Stackhouse is a perky, blond, intuitive, waitress, who reads minds.  She lives in a small north Louisiana town called Bon Temps.  She thinks straight and to the point and that’s what’s so great about this book.  Vampires are everywhere living among the population.  They live by night, sleep during the day and drink synthetic blood, unless they decide to feed on humans.  Bill walks into the local bar where Sookie works and the next thing we know she’s on a whirlwind adventure filled with murder, passion, and a lot of neck biting incidents.

Dead Until Dark is not just plot driven.  The character development is intelligently executed.  How can you not love Sookie?  The various quirky characters like Lafayette, Eric, and Bubba add to the weirdness and darkness of the story.  You’re probably wondering how can one smile through this dark story.   I can only say Harris knows how to tell a story and she does it in the southern tradition.

A month ago before I read this book, I watched a bit of True Blood, the HBO television series adapted from the Sookie Stackhouse series and I stopped watching after about fifteen minutes because the characters all looked really ugly strange to me.  I guess it’s because I’m used to shows like Vampire Diaries where all the vampires are hotties.  Go figure.  I took one look at Bill and shut off the tv.  Eww!  Now that I’ve read Dead Until Dark, I don’t think they got the casting right.  I have something completely different pictured in my head, concerning the physical attributes of the characters.  Moreover from what I understand the first season is adapted from the first book of the series.  I presume they stretched the story quite a bit for tv, ok a lot, since Dead Until Dark is only 292 pages.  You’ll enjoy the book a lot more.   It’s definitely worth the four stars I’ve given it on Goodreads and I’ll surely be checking out the rest of this series.

Charlaine Harris is a mystery writer from Mississippi, but lives in Arkansas.  She has been writing crime books like The Harper Connelly Mysteries, The Lilly Bard Mysteries, The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, and Gravesight Graphic Novel series for the past thirty years.  (All of these series are highly ranked on Goodreads and Amazon.)  Harris began writing poems and ghost stories and quickly advanced to her mystery novels a few years later.  Of course, Charlaine Harris’s most popular books are from The Sookie Stackhouse series and there are twelve of them.  The thirteenth and last novel of this series is due to be released in May 2013.  If you’re interested in more information on Charlaine Harris, check out her website at  www.charlaineharris.com

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.

                                                                                           ——-Phyllis THEROUX