Anyone who has read AFTER MIDNIGHT or THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME will tell you that I don’t like to venture too far over to the dark side and I like my vamps with tongues (and fangs) planted firmly in cheek. So when I first discovered Charlaine Harris’s DEAD UNTIL DARK, it was a supernatural match made in heaven. All I had to hear was, “It’s a book about a cocktail waitress named Sookie Stackhouse and a Southern vampire named Bill” and I went racing for the bookstore shelves.
Everything about this series feel fresh to me. Unlike so many vampire tales, Charlaine Harris’s books aren’t set in New Orleans but in the rural backwater town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Bill is the quintessential vampire--tall, dark, handsome...and undead. Since he was “turned” just after the Civil War, he also has a laconic drawl. And in an added advantage, sex with Bill temporarily gives a girl supernatural strength, glowing skin, and fabulous shiny hair like those models in the Pantene commercials.
The books are all written in first person and Sookie Stackhouse is one of the strongest and most likable female characters I’ve ever met. She looks like the girl we all wanted to be in high school--she’s (pardon the pun) stacked and has a shiny mane of long straight blond hair. But she’s also the girl we all wanted to be our best friend in high school--she’s funny, kind, wry and smarter than almost everyone else around her. And did I mention that she’s psychic? That’s right--she can read minds. Well, everyone’s mind but Bill’s and his vampire kin, which is yet another reason why he’s so attractive to her.
The books are wonderful adventure/mystery/vampire tales but they’re also very sexy, especially when Ms. Harris introduces Bill’s sexy and sinister vampire boss Eric, who neatly straddles the line between villain and hero and creates a Ranger/Joe-sized dilemma in the reader’s mind. In the third book of the series, CLUB DEAD, we also meet Alcide Herveaux, a biker werewolf, who made me think that I might not mind a little back hair if it was on the right guy (or werewolf).
Alan Ball, the creator of SIX FEET UNDER, has just optioned the books to make a television series for HBO. I just wish I could be there when the casting call goes out for Bill, Eric, and Alcide! The most recent book in the series, DEFINITELY DEAD, came out in May of this year.
SOUTHERN VAMPIRE SERIES
Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail