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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Living Dead in Dallas (Southern Vampire Mysteries, No. 2) » User review

Dive Deeper into the World of Vampires and Such

  • Nov 29, 2009
  • by
Pros: Well researched and written; intriguing and interesting.

Cons: Sometimes hard to follow all of the story archs.

The Bottom Line: Well worth the read...

Book Details:
Author: Charlaine Harris
Book Type: Soft-cover; 291 pages
Publisher: Ace Books/The Berkley Publishing Group     
Publishing Date: April, 2002
Language: English
ISBN: 978-0-441-009-237  

First a disclaimer: I had not heard of Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse, Bill Compton, or any of the characters from Living Dead in Dallas, until I watched the HBO series True Blood.  The much heralded HBO series in loosely based on the novels in which Blonde bombshell Sookie Stackhouse plays a central role. 

By the end of the series' first season I had become intensely interested in reading the series of books upon which the show was based, and so I bought the boxed set of (7) books, the second of which is Living Dead in Dallas. 

Living Dead in Dallas picks up where Dead Until Dark left off.  The book revolves around the life of a waitress, 26-year-old Sookie Stackhouse, who makes her home in the Northern Louisiana town of Bon Temps.  The book is a first-person account of Sookie's life as a barmaid, who also happens to be a telepath, and is now dating a local Vampire named Bill Compton.

Living Dead in Dallas opens as Sookie finds the dead body of Lafayette, the openly Gay short order cook at Merlotte's the bar in which she works.  Lafayette has been murdered and placed in the backseat of local police detective Andy Bellefleur's car, which had been left at Merlotte's the night before after Andy was too drunk to drive.

Sookie soon learns that Lafayette had been frequenting local sex parties and she believes members of the group might know something about her associate's murder so she uses her "disability" to start tuning into people's thoughts as they come into the bar. 

About this time Bill informs her that they have been summoned to Shreve­port to appear before Eric Northman at his bar named Fangtasia.  But, along the way Bill is distracted long enough for Sookie to be attacked by a "maenad," a creature out of Greek mythology who worships Diony­sus, Greek god of wine and drunk­en­ness.  Sookie wounds are severe and laced with poison and must be healed by a special doctor after her blood is drained by a bevy of Vampires including Bill, Eric, and Pam (ot was later replaced by human blood).

Meanwhile, The Fellowship of the Sun, an anti-Vampire religious group makes its first appearance as a powerful, Dallas, Texas-based Vampire named Stan Davis solicits Eric's help to find his missing brother Farrell who has been missing for a few days.  So, Sookie, accompanied by Bill travel to Dallas in an attempt to penetrate the Church and using Sookie's abilities, find out what happened to the Vampire. 

With the help of a local lawyer Sookie enters the church only to be betrayed and captured.  And just as she is about to be forcibly violated she rescued by and ancient vampire named Godfrey who is described in the book a teen-age kid with a body full of ancient tat­toos. God­frey is sick of killing and refers to himself as a ser­ial killer, and he has decided to take his own life with the fellowships help. 

There is of course a lot more going on in the 300-page novel, but you'll have to read it to find out more.             

My Thoughts
Charlaine Harris has once again woven together a pretty compelling story in Living Dead in Dallas.  Sookie Stackhouse remains a very likeable buxom blonde heroine; sweet, beautiful, sexy, yet she is also written with spunk, resilience, and a zest for life.  The book supporting characters, especially shape-shifting Sam Merlotte, the owner of Merlottes, who she has known for five years and has an unrequited romantic attachment to, are a lively and interesting bunch of characters.  

Living Dead in Dallas continues the old Vampire lore and expands it further exploring age old human myths about Supernatural characters, turning legend into fictional fact.  The result is a great read that never fails to entertain. 

The explosive sexual awaking of Sookie Stackhouse that was so much of Dead Until Dark has been cooled a bit, and the violence ramped up.  Ms. Stackhouse is certainly tested physically in this energetic novel that never seems to take a breath. 

The narrative is smartly written, though infused with more than a touch of southern comfort and traditional southern African American prejudice, wherein all of the Black characters are two-dimensional and decidedly boring.  No matter, I have come to expect nothing more from today's crop of writers. 

Living Dead in Dallas continues to bring to life in a new way one of the oldest myths in human existence, one that refuses to die an honored death, that of Vampires and their legendary powers.  It's okay however, because Harris makes it all interesting, fresh, bloody, and new. 

I love the idea that in Sookie's world other myth­i­cal and super­nat­ural crea­tures who are still hid­ing from mankind, and are exposed as Sookie dives deeper into their world, pulled under as it were by the intrusion of Bill and Eric into her otherwise staid life.  Life in North­ern Louisiana hasn't been the same for the mid-reading Ms. Stackhouse now that she's firmly entrenched in this increasingly dan­ger­ous, yet endlessly fas­ci­nat­ing "new" supernatural world. 

It is a world I am fully enthralled in as well!

Other Books in the Sookie Stackhouse series:

•o   Dead Until Dark (March 2001)
•o   Club Dead ((May 2003)
•o   Dead to the World ((May 2004)
•o   Dead as a Doornail (May 2005)
•o   Definitely Dead (May 2006)
•o   Altogether Dead (May 2007)
•o   From Dead to Worse (May 208)
•o   Dead and Gone (May 2009)
•o   A Touch of Dead (October 2009)
•o   Dead in the Family (May 2010)    


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More Living Dead in Dallas (Souther... reviews
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
Not great, but readable but mildly entertaining.
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
Fun book
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
I love all the Sookie books!
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
I watched the HBO series first, I'll admit it!
Quick Tip by . June 27, 2010
I looooove the Sookie Stackhouse series!
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
Finally started reading the books since I got hooked on the show. Now i am hooked on the book series
review by . February 19, 2010
I was kind of wondering where this story was going to go after reading the first book. There just didn't seem to be anywhere... but the author did a good job of continuing Sookie's story (can I say I HATE the name of the heroine. Sookie? Really? I'm not even going to point out Stackhouse.) (And who names a vampire Bill?!!??! Okay, okay...)    I must admit that the author has managed to suck (shut up) me into this series. I want to know what happens next... and then next...     …
review by . February 08, 2010
I wish I could be a New York Times bestselling author. I know Charlaine Harris is one `cause it says so on the cover of her book. And I find myself wondering, was she best-selling before or after they made the TV series? Whatever, she must've been pretty popular or why would they have used her books.      I wish... but when I read the Sookie Sackhouse novels I know I never will be. Charlaine Harris has a wonderful way with words. She creates a truly intriguing and believable …
review by . December 29, 2008
I've only read the first four books so far, but this is my least favorite of the four. I liked the introduction to The Fellowship of the Sun, and knowing more about that. And the bellboy was a fun new character, but aside from that this one lacked something for me. It was still a great book, don't get me wrong, but I definitely prefer the others in the series so far.
review by . June 16, 2007
The second book in the Southern Vampire series written by Charlaine Harris, Living Dead in Dallas, opens with yet another murder of an employee of Merlotte's Bar in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Sookie Stackhouse, barmaid and telepath, discovers the body of cook Lafayette, but she scarcely has time to look for clues to his murder because she once again finds herself at the employ of the vampire community to which her boyfriend, Bill, belongs. So what's a vampire-lover to do? If it's Sookie, she's going …
About the reviewer
Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #187
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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"I love the imaginative, creative world of Charlaine Harris!"
-Christine Feehan

"Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake... should cotton to Sookie Stackhouse."
-Publishers Weekly

"A delightful Southern Vampire detective series."
-Denver Post

"Charlaine Harris playfully mixes several genres to make a new one that is her own bright creation."
-Rocky Mountain News--This text refers to theHardcoveredition.
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ISBN-10: 0441009239
ISBN-13: 978-0441009237
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Date Published: March 26, 2002
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