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By A Customer
This review is from: Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse Novels) (Mass Market Paperback)
Sookie Stackhouse is a southern belle w/ a gift--though she sometimes calls it her curse--for reading people's minds. An ability which causes her no shortage of grief amongst the townspeople of her hometown of Bon Temps, Louisiana. In the previous book, she finally meets the man of her dreams: Bill Compton. Bill is a total blank to her. She cannot read his mind and that makes him instantly attractive and interesting to her. The fact that to her he is dark, mysterious, and handsome couldn't hurt either. Their attraction to each other grows, without some setbacks and roadblocks in the way, as the first book progresses and ends.
LIVIND DEAD IN DALLAS continues their romance and also shows us more of Sookie's growth since her first meeting w/ Bill. This time around her life is thrown a dangerous curve when she must travel to Dallas w/ Bill to help investigate the disappearance of one of that city's vampires. It would seem that the vampire leader of Louisiana has loaned out Sookie's telepathic services as part of the deal she made with this vampire in the previous book. A vampire whose obvious lust for Sookie and the use he can have with her unique power doesn't sit well with her lover, Bill.
So off to Dallas she goes, but not before one of her co-workers and also a friend of hers is killed and made to look like one of the townspeople committed the crime. As usual with her "gift" Sookie knows this to be untrue, but with her mission to Dallas more paramount, she sets this aside until her return.
Sookie's adventures in Dallas shows her more of the society that Bill has lived in most of his life. As much as vampires have been "outed" for over two years, they are still seen with revulsion and hate. LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS introduces what could be an interesting group if handled well. The Fellowship of the Sun Center is akin to an ultra-religious right group with a healthy dose of the KKK mixed in. Sookie must not only infiltrate and discover if this group of anit-vampire zealots has kidnapped one of Dallas' vampires, but also she has to deal with the fact that shapeshifters are also pretty much in evidence in Dallas. Unlike Ms. Hamilton's ANITA BLAKE series where shapeshifters are also outed as well as vampires, Ms. Harris' shifters want to remain a secret and will protectively guard that secret. This is a welcome change that separates Sookie's world from that of Anita's.
Sookie grows in this book. She no longer hates and fears her telepathic ability, though there are times in the book that she wishes she didn't use it to read someone's mind. But she has begun to hone and practice her ability with Bill's help and support. Sookie also remains pretty grounded in her personality and mindset, even though events both dark and unusual keep happening to her. Unlike Anita, Sookie doesn't gain a power in this new installment. Other than the enhanced reflexes and strenght she's gained from ingesting the blood of Bill and a couple of other vampires, she's stuck to having just plain old telepathy.
The relationship between Sookie and Bill remains a working project. Even with her liking to Eric, the vampire leader of Louisiana, which confuses her more than anything else, Sookie still stays by Bill's side. Where as Eric wants her not just for her body but also for what her power can give him, Sookie knows that Bill just wants her for being Sookie and nothing more and nothing less. It is a surprise to her at times that the most human relationship she's had with one of the opposite sex and he turns out to be far from human.
LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS is a successful and enjoyable follow-up to DEAD UNTIL DARK. It's tone is much darker and we see Sookie plunged into one dangerous scrape after another in this installment. We also learn, through Sookie's eyes, that dark going-ons and unusual habits are not just the province of the vampires and supernaturals. Sookie learns that the people of her town have their own dark secrets, but despite this Sookie emerges untouched by this darkness and more wise because of it.