The Southern Vampire Mystery Series Charlaine Harris
Living Dead in Dallas picks up only a few weeks after the first book ends.
Once again Sookie is called upon to work more closely with the vampire community, searching for a ‘nest brother’ in Dallas who has gone missing. She is also caught up in a human mystery – her friend and co-worker Lafayette has been killed. His remains are left in the back seat of the deputy sheriffs car (marking the first major departure in relation to True Blood, where this character was one of the break out stars of the first series). Sookie has to navigate the human and supernatural worlds cautiously to solve both crimes and come out alive.
(Dum dum dum!)
While it doesn’t vary dramatically from the initial book in terms of either the structure or set up , this story builds upon the world created and introduces us to several other species and oogily boogiles, such as werewolves and shape shifters (only to be expected), a pro-human/anti vampire ‘church’ and more details of the vampire hierarchy. Including creatures from Grecian mythology – maenads – was a welcome foray off the beaten track, hopefully an indication that the series will continue to delve into a less expected mythos in the future books of the series.
Another interesting point is that Sookie’s relationship with Bill is no longer running quite as smoothly. Indeed, our two protagonists spend much of the book apart, not merely for storyline purposes or to allow for Eric (the competitor) to step in, but also as Sookie has started to realise how controlling Bill is. Bill specifically as an individual, and not indicative of a normal relationship with one from the vampire community at large. It’s all a bit ‘my way or the high-way’ with him. Literally at one point.
Sookie notes that while Bill may have her best interests at heart, he does not respect her opinions, lifestyle and choices quite as much as initially appeared. He is also very quick to excuse any lack of consideration on his behalf as a quirk of his vampiric nature. He is quite happy to date other women – even ones who are actually disgusted by him – to try and infuriate Sookie. The ick factor is high in this one.
I was rather unimpressed/bordering on disgusted that a somewhat violent streak has entered into their sexual relationship. What can I say? I’m just nuts about consent, me!
Eric and Sam remain mostly on the peripheries. Sam just doesn’t seem to have much to do, though his few appearances do bring a welcome human element back to the fore.
Eric is self-centred and manipulative – tricking our intrepid yet occasionally vacuous heroine into taking his blood – yet seems to have a genuine concern for Sookie’s safety – beyond merely protecting a business advantage. I have a feeling that this trend will continue – Bill inadvertently puts Sookies life into danger, while Eric continues to rather flippantly save her. He is also the primary point for humour in the series so far.
Oh shush, I’m not biased at all…