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Charlaine Harris, Copyright: Caroline Grayshock
Charlaine Harris

Official Homepage:

Sookie Stackhouse Box Set
Sookie Stackhouse Box Set

1981 .|. Sweet and Deadly
1984 .|. A Secret Rage
1984 .|. Severn House
1990 .|. Real Murders
1992 .|. A Bone to Pick
1994 .|. Three Bedrooms, One Corpse
1995 .|. The Julius House
1996 .|. Dead over Heels
1996 .|. Shakespeare's Landlord
1997 .|. Shakespeare's Champion
1998 .|. Shakespeare's Christmas
1999 .|. A Fool and his Honey
2000 .|. Shakespeare's Trollop
2001 .|. Shakespeare's Counselor
2001 .|. Dead until Dark .|. Bookworm's Comment
2002 .|. Living Dead in Dallas .|. Bookworm's Comment
2002 .|. Last Scene Alive
2003 .|. Club Dead .|. Bookworm's Comment
2003 .|. Poppy Done to Death
2004 .|. Dead to the World .|. Bookworm's Comment
2004 .|. Night's Edge
     (with M. Shayne, B. Hambly)
2004 .|. Powers of Detection
     (Short Story)
2005 .|. Bite (Short Story)
2005 .|. Dead as a Doornail .|. Bookworm's Comment
2005 .|. Grave Sight
2006 .|. Definitely Dead
2006 .|. Grave Surprise
2006 .|. My big fat supernatural wedding
     (Short Story)
2007 .|. All together dead
2007 .|. Many bloody returns (Short Story)
2007 .|. An ice cold Grave
2008 .|. From Dead to Worse
2008 .|. Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
      (with Toni L.P. Kelner)
2009 .|. Dead and Gone
2009 .|. Grave Secret First Chapter from the Author's Homepage
2010 .|. Dead in the Family First Chapter from the Author's Homepage
2010 .|. Death's Excellent Vacation
      (with Toni L.P. Kelner)
2010 .|. A Touch of Dead (Short Stories)
5/2011 .|. Dead Reckoning

New York Times article "Vampire-Loving Barmaid Hits Jackpot for Charlaine Harris" (May 2009)

Dead until Dark       True Blood, Season 1, DVD
"Dead until Dark" (Ace Books, Paperback, 4th edition, 2001, read: August 02, April 09)
"Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability". She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting for all her life ...
But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of - big surprise - murder. And when one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next ... "

The "Southern Vampire Series" by Ms. Harris is a good addition to the 'light' branch of the vampire genre ... comparable to Laurell K. Hamilton and Tanya Huff. 'Light' being meant in contrast to Anne Rice or Bram Stoker who invented a complete mythology of vampire-stories with rules other authors follow. A novel like "Dead until Dark" is uncomplicated, not so profound and it's a great read without having to think too much about it.
Sookie Stackhouse, the central figure of the novel has a wish (one can easily understand): to meet a vampire. Just as with L.K. Hamilton there is the premise that vampires are real and legal, want to get civil rights and have the same difficulties just as every other minority in the US. Sookie just has the bad luck that she doesn't live in New Orleans, the vampire-capital, but in a small town some miles away. But her wish is granted.
The story itself isn't full of surprising twists and turns, but it's written just great. It's strength to my surprise lays in the description of Sookie's and Bill's relationship and especially in their erotic adventures. Good stuff! Sookie is daring, hard-boiled and not easily cought by surprise. And in Bill she has found a perfect addition. Both are really lovable and hopefully have some new adventures ahead of them. The second novel "Living Dead in Dallas" has already been published.
[Dorothée Büttgen, September 02]

Living Dead in Dallas
"Living Dead in Dallas" (Ace Books, Paperback, 1st edition, 2002, read: January 03)
"Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of bad luck. First, her coworker is murdered and no one seems to care. Then she's face-to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a peinful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it).
Point is, they saved her life. So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favor, she complies. And soon, Sookie's in dallas using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She's supposed to interview certain humans involved. There's just one condition: The vampires must promise to behave - and let the humans go unharmed. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly ..."

The story of small-town waitress Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire-boyfriend Bill continues. Sequels are said to be more difficult to write than first parts but I can definitely say that Ms. Harris accomplished to write a worthy follow-up to "Dead until Dark". The story starts where the first part stopped but it isn't based on to much background-knowledge. Sookie and Bill are still lovers (and they hopefully continue this affair for quite some time!) and Sookie sometimes uses her telepathic powers to help the vampires. As every real-life minority the vampires have their enemies and militant opponents. Here it's the "Fellowship of the Sun" who would like to turn all vampires to dust. Sookie plays an important part that exactly this isn't going to happen.
The murder of Sookies colleague who is mentioned in the cover text only plays a minor part in the end - in a subplot which wouldn't have been really necessary. And the race of the Shapeshifters is introduced for the first time - and not the last, I hope.

As I said, it's a really good sequel to a really good vampire-series. Not terribly 'horrific' but more thrilling until the last-but-one page. And with an interesting bit of vampire-human-erotics ;-).
The third part "Club Dead" will be available in May 2003.
[Dorothée Büttgen, February 03]

Club Dead
"Club Dead" (Ace Books, Paperback, 1st edition, 2003, read: May 03, May 09)
"There's only one vampire Sookie Stackhouse is involved with (at least voluntarily) and that's Bill. But recently he's been a little distant - in another state, distant. His sinister and sexy boss Eric has an idea where to find him. Next thing Sookie knows, she is off to Jackson, Mississippi to mingle with the under-underworld at Club Dead. It's a dangerous little haunt where the elitist vampire society can go to chill out and suck down some type O. But when Sookie finally finds Bill - caught in an act of serious betrayal - she's not sure whether to save him ... or sharpen some stakes."

The third part of the "Southern Vampire Series" is all about Bill, the Vampire-boyfriend of Sookie, even though he only appears in person in the last third of the story. In the first part of the series they fell in love, in the second part they were happy as can be and in the third part its all going to pieces. After Bill disappeared under strange circumstances Sookie hears that he wanted to leave her for an old girlfriend of his. Sookie starts looking for him after all because his life is at stake. On the way she meets an interesting shape-shifter who makes her knees go all wobbly ... if only she knew where she's standing with Bill.

The central figure Sookie is as interesting as ever. The mix of old friends (Eric, Elvis aka. Bubba, Pam) and new players (Alcide Herveaux, the shape-shifter and Russell Edgington, the "King of Mississippi") makes the story interesting and eventful. Even though Sookie suffers terribly when she hears of Bill's betrayal she keeps her dry humor. The interesting events around Bill and Alcide show that one has to be prepared for everything regarding Sookie. I liked Bill as her boyfriend a lot but I also like the idea that she is able to develop. And that she keeps the upper hand in the end.
[Dorothée Büttgen, June 03]

Dead to the World
"Dead to the World" (Ace Books, Hardcover, 3rd edition, 2004, read: June 04)
"Sookie Stockhouse is a small-town cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's pretty. She does her job well. She keeps to herself and has only a few close friends because not everyone appreciates Sookie's gift. She can read minds. Not exactly every man's idea of date bait. Unless they're undead. Vampires and the like can be tough to read - just the kind of guy Sookie's been looking for.
Maybe that's why, when she comes across a naked vampire on the road home from work, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out he hasn't a clue as to who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric, still as scary and sexy - and dead - as the day she first met him. But now that he has amnesia, Eric is sweet, vulnerable, and in need of Sookie's help - because whoever took his memory now wants his life. Sookie's investigation into why leads straight into a dangerous battle among witches, vampires, and werewolves. But there could be a greater danger to Sookie's heart - because the kinder, gentler Eric is very difficult to resist ... "

It's Sookie's fourth adventure and this time she stumbles into it quite unforseen. One night she drives by Eric, head of the local vampire community, who runs naked and completely confused down the street. Witches have erased his memory and he doesn't remember anything anymore. Sookie takes him home with her for protection, at first only as long as the vampires and witches have sorted things out among themselves.
But when her brother vanishes without a trace and nobody can tell if those events are connected she is drawn into a fight of all supernatural creatures in the area and just can't stand aside. And all this happens when Bill, her former boyfriend, runs around in Brasil and the werewolf Alcide, with whom she got close and very personal in the third part of the 'Southern Vampire Series' still hasn't sorted out his love-life.

The good thing with the Sookie-books is that now you know the characters quite well but the story is different every time. No novel is like the other and the story doesn't get boring. To keep this up in the fourth part of the series is quite an accomplishment - other authors start repeating themselves in their second installment, or at least in book 3.
The 'Southern Vampire Series' is definitely still a 'must-read' in vampire literature!
[Dorothée Büttgen, November 04]

Charlaine Harris - Dead as a Doornail
"Dead as a Doornail" (Ace Books, paperback, 1st edition, 2006, read: June 06)
"Small-town cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has had more than her share of experience with the supernatural - but now it's really hitting close to home. When Sookie sees her brother Jason's eyes start to change, she knows he's about to turn into a werepanther for the first time - a transformation he embraces more readily than most shape-shifters she knows. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population, and Jason's new panther brethren suspects he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who's behind the attacks - unless the killer decides to find her first ... "

In the fifth part of the series Sookie has some serious trouble with the shape-shifters among her acquaintances. Either they use her abilities for political reasons, as eg. Alcide does, or they are being shot in front of her. Two are already dead and a third has been injured. The police doesn't see the connections because they don't know that all three are shape-shifters and their investigations go into the wrong direction. But sooner or later even Sookie is among the suspects.

A good story, a bit predictable from an early stage on, but in any case an advancement of the series that is worth reading.
Fortunately I've written the above words right after reading the book in June 2006. Because today, as I add them to the homepage (some nine months later - what a shame!), I don't have much recollection of the story anymore. I would love to add some more details to the review but for that I would have to read the book all over again. And there's not enough time to do that. Or rather there are too many unread books lying on my bedside table ;-).
[Dorothée Büttgen, March 07]

More great reviews from Bookworm's Lair:

Laurell K. Hamilton - Guilty Pleasures     Tanya Huff - Bloodprice     Anne Rice - Interview with the Vampire     Thomas Staab - Vampire's Waltz

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