This is the second book in the Southern Vampire novel series and is a blend of the cosy mystery with a dark twist of vampirism and a little romance. In Sookie Stackhouse's world, vampires have 'come out of their coffins' a la the style of Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake series. The vampires have a legal status in America (pay taxes)and many of them are trying to go 'main stream' i.e. live with humans and try not to kill them. Anyway, Sookie, a small town waitress with a gift of reading people's minds is having a streak of bad luck. First one of her co-workers is murdered and she is the unfortunate person to find him. Then she encounters a mythical creature in the woods who poisons her and the local vampires save her, leaving her in their debt. So when they ask her to go down to Dallas and use her telepathic powers to help locate a missing vampire, she agrees, but this is only the beginning of her troubles. Sookie is a likeable character and human character, despite her gift. And she narrates this story in a chatty, witty style. She is no superhero, her only gift or 'disability' as she calls it is her powers of mind reading, but that has schooled her abilties to keep a straight face when she inadvertantly 'hears' something she really didn't want to know, but her gift has some uses. The book is fast paced and engaging. It is quite sensual in parts (but nothing as extreme as Anita Blake's more recent exploits), and, oh yes, of course there are a few gory scenes. This is an excellent sequel to Dead Until Dark, which should be read first so you get an idea of how Sookie gets involved with the vampires in the first place.