Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #3)

Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #3)

4.4 2076
by Charlaine Harris

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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…  See more details below


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 find Bill -- caught in an act of serious betrayal -- she's not sure whether to save him ... or sharpen some stakes.

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire saga (begun with Dead Until Dark and Living Dead in Dallas) chronicles the life and times of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress in love with a vampire named Bill Compton. Sookie is attracted to Bill not just because he's physically appealing and practically immortal but also because she can't read his mind. The glamour and mystery surrounding the tall, pale, and handsome vampire -- as well as his supernatural bloodsucking friends -- draws Sookie in to wild, otherworldly romance, as well as incomprehensible danger.

In Club Dead, Bill informs Sookie that he has to go somewhere on a top-secret mission for the queen of Louisiana (vampires have a strict territorial hierarchy) and promptly disappears. Later, Sookie is informed by Eric, the charismatic head of the local vampire territory, that someone has kidnapped Bill in Mississippi and that his life may be in grave danger. Sookie also learns that her undead boyfriend was actually summoned by one of his ex-girlfriends, a vicious vampire named Lorena, who was hired to seduce, abduct, and torture Bill to obtain his top-secret information. Eric believes that Russell Edgington, the powerful king of Mississippi, has Bill somewhere on his sprawling compound. Sookie decides to do anything to rescue him.

Like Laurell K. Hamilton's popular vampire hunter, Anita Blake, Sookie Stackhouse is a strong, intelligent, very sexy woman with a great sense of humor and a strange knack for getting emotionally involved with the undead. Club Dead is an action-packed page-turner of a fantastical mystery comparable to Hamilton's saga. Paul Goat Allen

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series, #3
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.12(w) x 6.78(h) x 0.87(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

From Club Dead

By Charlaine Harris

Club Dead copyright 2003 by Charlaine Harris

Bill was hunched over the computer when I let myself in his house. This was an all-too-familiar scenario in the past month or two. He’d torn himself away from his work when I came home, until the past couple of weeks. Now it was the keyboard that attracted him.

“Hello, sweetheart,” he said absently, his gaze riveted to the screen. An empty bottle of type O TrueBlood was on the desk beside the keyboard. At least he’d remembered to eat.

Bill, not a jeans-and-tee kind of guy, was wearing khakis and a plaid shirt in muted blue and green. His skin was glowing, and his thick dark hair smelled like Herbal Essence. He was enough to give any woman a hormonal surge. I kissed his neck, and he didn’t react. I licked his ear. Nothing.

I’d been on my feet for six hours straight at Merlotte’s Bar, and every time some customer had under-tipped, or some fool had patted my fanny, I’d reminded myself that in a short while I’d be with my boyfriend, having incredible sex and basking in his attention.

That didn’t appear to be happening.

I inhaled slowly and steadily and glared at Bill’s back. It was a wonderful back, with broad shoulders, and I had planned on seeing it bare with my nails dug into it. I had counted on that very strongly. I exhaled, slowly and steadily.

“Be with you in a minute,” Bill said. On the screen, there was a snapshot of a distinguished man with silver hair and a dark tan. He looked sort of Anthony Quinn—type sexy, and he looked powerful. Under the picture was a name, and under that was some text. “Born 1756 in Sicily,” it began. Just as I opened my mouth to comment that vampires did appear in photographs despite the legend, Bill twisted around and realized I was reading.

He hit a button and the screen went blank.

I stared at him, not quite believing what had just happened.

“Sookie,” he said, attempting a smile. His fangs were retracted, so he was totally not in the mood in which I’d hoped to find him; he wasn’t thinking of me carnally. Like all vampires, his fangs are only fully extended when he’s in the mood for the sexy kind of lust, or the feeding-and-killing kind of lust. (Sometimes, those lusts all get kind of snarled up, and you get your dead fang-bangers. But that element of danger is what attracts most fang-bangers, if you ask me.) Though I’ve been accused of being one of those pathetic creatures that hang around vampires in the hope of attracting their attention, there’s only one vampire I’m involved with (at least voluntarily) and it was the one sitting right in front of me. The one who was keeping secrets from me. The one who wasn’t nearly glad enough to see me.

“Bill,” I said coldly. Something was Up, with a capital U. And it wasn’t Bill’s libido. (Libido had just been on my Word-A-Day calendar.)

“You didn’t see what you just saw,” he said steadily. His dark brown eyes regarded me without blinking.

“Uh-huh,” I said, maybe sounding just a little sarcastic. “What are you up to?”

“I have a secret assignment.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or stalk away in a snit. So I just raised my eyebrows and waited for more. Bill was the investigator for Area 5, a vampire division of Louisiana. Eric, the head of Area 5, had never given Bill an “assignment” that was secret from me before. In fact, I was usually an integral part of the investigation team, however unwilling I might be.

“Eric must not know. None of the Area 5 vampires can know.”

My heart sank. “So—if you’re not doing a job for Eric, who are you working for?” I knelt because my feet were so tired, and I leaned against Bill’s knees.

“The queen of Louisiana,” he said, almost in a whisper.

Because he looked so solemn, I tried to keep a straight face, but it was no use. I began to laugh, little giggles that I couldn’t suppress.

“You’re serious?” I asked, knowing he must be. Bill was almost always a serious kind of fellow. I buried my face on his thigh so he couldn’t see my amusement. I rolled my eyes up for a quick look at his face. He was looking pretty pissed.

“I am as serious as the grave,” Bill said, and he sounded so steely, I made a major effort to change my attitude.

“Okay, let me get this straight,” I said in a reasonably level tone. I sat back on the floor, cross-legged, and rested my hands on my knees. “You work for Eric, who is the boss of Area 5, but there is also a queen? Of Louisiana?”

Bill nodded.

“So the state is divided up into Areas? And she’s Eric’s superior, since he runs a business in Shreveport, which is in Area 5.”

Again with the nod. I put my hand over my face and shook my head. “So, where does she live, Baton Rouge?” The state capital seemed the obvious place.

“No, no. New Orleans, of course.”

Of course. Vampire central. You could hardly throw a rock in the Big Easy without hitting one of the undead, according to the papers (though only a real fool would do so). The tourist trade in New Orleans was booming, but it was not exactly the same crowd as before, the hard-drinking, rollicking crowd who’d filled the city to party hearty. The newer tourists were the ones who wanted to rub elbows with the undead; patronize a vampire bar, visit a vampire prostitute, watch a vampire sex show.

This was what I’d heard; I hadn’t been to New Orleans since I was little. My mother and father had taken my brother, Jason, and me. That would have been before I was seven, because that’s when they died.

Mama and Daddy died nearly twenty years before vampires had appeared on network television to announce the fact that they were actually present among us, an announcement that had followed on the Japanese development of synthetic blood that actually maintained a vampire’s life without the necessity of drinking from humans.

The United States vampire community had let the Japanese vampire clans come forth first. Then, simultaneously, in most of the nations of the world that had television—and who doesn’t these days?—the announcement had been made in hundreds of different languages, by hundreds of carefully picked personable vampires.

That night, two and half years ago, we regular old live people learned that we had always lived with monsters among us.

“But”—the burden of this announcement had been—“now we can come forward and join with you in harmony. You are in no danger from us anymore. We don’t need to drink from you to live.”

As you can imagine, this was a night of high ratings and tremendous uproar. Reaction varied sharply, depending on the nation.

The vampires in the predominantly Islamic nations had fared the worst. You don’t even want to know what happened to the undead spokesman in Syria, though perhaps the female vamp in Afghanistan died an even more horrible—and final—death. (What were they thinking, selecting a female for that particular job? Vampires could be so smart, but they sometimes didn’t seem quite in touch with the present world.)

Some nations—France, Italy, and Germany were the most notable—refused to accept vampires as equal citizens. Many—like Bosnia, Argentina, and most of the African nations—denied any status to the vampires, and declared them fair game for any bounty hunter. But America, England, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries adopted a more tolerant attitude.

It was hard to determine if this reaction was what the vampires had expected or not. Since they were still struggling to maintain a foothold in the stream of the living, the vampires remained very secretive about their organization and government, and what Bill was telling me now was the most I’d ever heard on the subject.

“So, the Louisiana queen of the vampires has you working on a secret project,” I said, trying to sound neutral. “And this is why you have lived at your computer every waking hour for the past few weeks.”

“Yes,” Bill said. He picked up the bottle of TrueBlood and tipped it up, but there were only a couple of drops left. He went down the hall into the small kitchen area (when he’d remodeled his old family home, he’d pretty much left out the kitchen, since he didn’t need one) and extracted another bottle from the refrigerator. I was tracking him by sound as he opened the bottle and popped it into the microwave. The microwave went off, and he reentered, shaking the bottle with his thumb over the top so there wouldn’t be any hot spots.

“So, how much more time do you have to spend on this project?” I asked—reasonably, I thought.

“As long as it takes,” he said, less reasonably. Actually, Bill sounded downright irritable.

Hmmm. Could our honeymoon be over? Of course I mean figurative honeymoon, since Bill’s a vampire and we can’t be legally married, practically anywhere in the world.

Not that he’s asked me.

“Well, if you’re so absorbed in your project, I’ll just stay away until it’s over,” I said slowly.

“That might be best,” Bill said, after a perceptible pause, and I felt like he’d socked me in the stomach. In a flash, I was on my feet and pulling my coat back over my cold-weather waitress outfit—black slacks, white boat-neck long-sleeved tee with “Merlotte’s” embroidered over the left breast. I turned my back to Bill to hide my face.

I was trying not to cry, so I didn’t look at him even after I felt Bill’s hand touch my shoulder.

“I have to tell you something,” Bill said in his cold, smooth voice. I stopped in the middle of pulling on my gloves, but I didn’t think I could stand to see him. He could tell my backside.

“If anything happens to me,” he continued (and here’s where I should have begun worrying), &'grave;you must look in the hiding place I built at your house. My computer should be in it, and some disks. Don’t tell anyone. If the computer isn’t in the hiding place, come over to my house and see if it’s here. Come in the daytime, and come armed. Get the computer and any disks you can find, and hide them in my hidey-hole, as you call it.”

I nodded. He could see that from the back. I didn’t trust my voice.

“If I’m not back, or if you don’t get word from me, in say…eight weeks—yes, eight weeks, then tell Eric everything I said to you today. And place yourself under his protection.”

I didn’t speak. I was too miserable to be furious, but it wouldn’t be long before I reached meltdown. I acknowledged his words with a jerk of my head. I could feel my ponytail switch against my neck.

“I am going to…Seattle soon,” Bill said. I could feel his cool lips touch the place my ponytail had brushed.

He was lying.

“When I come back, we’ll talk.”

Somehow, that didn’t sound like an entrancing prospect. Somehow, that sounded ominous.

Again I inclined my head, not risking speech because I was actually crying now. I would rather have died than let him see the tears.

And that was how I left him, that cold December night.

The next day, on my way to work, I took an unwise detour. I was in that kind of mood where I was rolling in how awful everything was. Despite a nearly sleepless night, something inside me told me I could probably make my mood a little worse if I drove along Magnolia Creek Road: so sure enough, that’s what I did.

The old Bellefleur mansion, Belle Rive, was a beehive of activity, even on a cold and ugly day. There were vans from the pest control company, a kitchen design firm, and a siding contractor parked at the kitchen entrance to the antebellum home. Life was just humming for Caroline Holliday Bellefleur, the ancient lady who had ruled Belle Rive and (at least in part) Bon Temps for the past eighty years. I wondered how Portia, a lawyer, and Andy, a detective, were enjoying all the changes at Belle Rive. They had lived with their grandmother (as I had lived with mine) for all their adult lives. At the very least, they had to be enjoying her pleasure in the mansion’s renovation.

My own grandmother had been murdered a few months ago.

The Bellefleurs hadn’t had anything to do with it, of course. And there was no reason Portia and Andy would share the pleasure of this new affluence with me. In fact, they both avoided me like the plague. They owed me, and they couldn’t stand it. They just didn’t know how much they owed me.

The Bellefleurs had received a mysterious legacy from a relative who had &'grave;died mysteriously over in Europe somewhere,” I’d heard Andy tell a fellow cop while they were drinking at Merlotte’s. When she dropped off some raffle tickets for Gethsemane Baptist Church’s Ladies’ Quilt, Maxine Fortenberry told me Miss Caroline had combed every family record she could unearth to identify their benefactor, and she was still mystified at the family’s good fortune.

She didn’t seem to have any qualms about spending the money, though.

Even Terry Bellefleur, Portia and Andy’s cousin, had a new pickup sitting in the packed dirt yard of his double-wide. I liked Terry, a scarred Viet Nam vet who didn’t have a lot of friends, and I didn’t grudge him a new set of wheels.

But I thought about the carburetor I’d just been forced to replace in my old car. I’d paid for the work in full, though I’d considered asking Jim Downey if I could just pay half and get the rest together over the next two months. But Jim had a wife and three kids. Just this morning I’d been thinking of asking my boss, Sam Merlotte, if he could add to my hours at the bar. Especially with Bill gone to “Seattle,” I could just about live at Merlotte’s, if Sam could use me. I sure needed the money.

I tried real hard not to be bitter as I drove away from Belle Rive. I went south out of town and then turned left onto Hummingbird Road on my way to Merlotte’s. I tried to pretend that all was well; that on his return from Seattle—or wherever—Bill would be a passionate lover again, and Bill would treasure me and make me feel valuable once more. I would again have that feeling of belonging with someone, instead of being alone.

Of course, I had my brother, Jason. Though as far as intimacy and companionship goes, I had to admit that he hardly counted.

But the pain in my middle was the unmistakable pain of rejection. I knew the feeling so well, it was like a second skin.

I sure hated to crawl back inside it.

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What People are saying about this

Denver Post
"Harris playfully mixes several genres to make a new one that is her own bright creation."
Cemetary Dance
"You don't want to miss a single paragraph of this Southern Vampire series ... A delightful blend of humor, intrigue, mild eroticism, and human (and non-human) nature."
From the Publisher
"Horror and humor as seen from the unique perspective of rural America." - Tanya Huff

Tanya Huff
"Charlaine Harris delivers both horror and humor as seen from the unique perspective of rural America."

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Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #3) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2040 reviews.
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book even although the first one was my favourite one in the Southern Vampire series. The story will keeps you entertained for hours.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Bill goes missing and Sookie goes to Jackson to find where he could be. She goes with Alcide, a werewolf who helps her since he owes Eric a favor. Will Sookie find Bill? Could it have anything to do with a secret project he's been working on? Another great read in the series. Seems the series gets even better with each book.
Samantha57 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Even though I have to still say the second one was my favorite in this series thus far I still highly recommend this book. I think the part that truly bugged me though was the fact that Sookie was not more surprised by Bills actions. I still loved this book and had some resistance in putting the book down. I totally recommend this for all who love the genre of Paranormal Romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this installment alot! Maybe hbo should have stuck to the story line... great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These books are like popcorn and a movie. Great entertainment. Sex, vampires, shapechangers, and other nasties. What's not to like.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
Sookie Stackhouse is in a pickle again, but this time her vampire boyfriend Bill can't save her. because she's the one that has to save him. When Bill is kidnapped only Sookie can listen for clues to his whereabouts. But what she learns about where Bill was when he was kidnapped, and why he stayed away, may be too much for her to handle. Torn between a deep sense of betrayal and a deeper bond of loyalty, Sookie must decide who to help, and how far she's willing to go. This is the third book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series and to be honest, I sometimes wonder why I waste my brain-power. Once again the writing is nothing special, bordering on amateurish. Harris has written Sookie as a frequenly annoying and grating narrator. I don't care to know what exact color, pattern, and fabric your pajamas are every single time you put on a pair. Likewise, I don't give a crap about your word-a-day calendar unless that calendar is going to cut someone's head off at the end of the book (it doesn't). So many times throughout this book I wanted to yell at Sookie. I wanted to say, "Sookie, Bill bit the bejeesus out of your neck. Just because your body feels good nestled against his is no reason to cuddle!" I wanted to tell her that Eric just wants to get into her pants, so though it's nice that he seems all warm and fuzzy toward her now, it's not okay for him to do gross things while she drinks his blood. And Alcide!? Alcide is a hot werewolf, for those who haven't read the book. And in order to listen to the clues for Bill, Sookie has to pretend to be Alcide's girlfriend, and of course things get complicated there. I don't even know what shape I could use to define Sookie's love life, but it's definitely one with many sides. Three books into the series and I really wish she'd get her act together and start thinking with her brain instead of her lady-business. I'm also really tired of Sookie always being the victim of abuse. This is not to say she doesn't defend herself, because she does, every time. But several times in the last three books she's been completely torn apart and beaten to shreds. Bloodied and bruised and broken to the point of death, I'm really tired of everyone trying to kill her. In conclusion, I may read the fourth book in the series at some time in the future, but I think it's possible this is one of the rare examples where the screen version is better than the book in my estimation. The acting on TrueBlood is more genuine to me than Sookie's narration in the novel. This is the kind of series I would download on an eReader if I had one, because though it's entertaining, it's not anything that's going to enrich my physical book collection.
deadguyindallas More than 1 year ago
Out of what I have read so far on the Southern Vampire Series, Club Dead has to be the best one. The has quickly grow into one of my favorite book series. Charlaine Harris's style of writing keep me wanting more of Sookie Stackhouse adventures in a world that anything can happen. I defiantly recommend this book to anyone whose looking for a very interesting read.
vlewis515 More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series that have come out so far (my favorite is Dead to the World). I love them all, they have original plots and twists, always something new happening and new characters to meet! My only problem is not so much with the way that Charlaine Harris writes as much as her continuity issues. For example through most of the books she refers to Jason's boss as Catfish Hennessey then in one book she calls him Catfish Hunter through the entire book. Another example is that she refers to Maxine Fortenberry as Hoyt's grandmother then changes to call her his mother. Just somethings that you would think the writer would catch and if not her someone in the proofing or editing process. I realize it's not a big issue but I think it insults the readers intelligence, memory, and attention-span to not pay better attention to those details. That being said didn't keep me from reading the books, or thoroughly enjoying them, or raving about them to interested readers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're a fan of the series who decided to read the books when the show ended then this novel showed biggest Gulf in quality yet. The series was about the effects on the world of vampires came out with Sookie's love life fitting into that greater plot. In the novels we instead have the ultimate bored housewife fantasy with minimal plot used just to fill pages. In this novel most of the focus is on Sookie getting preferred treatment at the salon and having THREE primal powerful men vie for her affections. What housewife wouldn't love that.? If anything the novel makes you appreciate the job Alan Ball and the hbo staff did talking this narrow work and expanding it into the True Blood alternate universe which was much deeper and enthralling and taking insignificant peripheral characters from the novel like Russell Eddgington and turning him into a bona fide villian of the darth Vader variety. Novel is about Sookie dating or more correctly screwing with everything else just subtext and the only real purpose of the vampires is for the smutty female reader to have the ultimate in powerful sexual beasts to fantasize about, again what bored housewife wouldn't Salivate at the idea of a vampire ripping her clothes off?
Mindy_Lou More than 1 year ago
I am addicted to this series " GIVE ME MORE "
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series was written in a simplistic/amateurish first person format. Sookie is an annoying protagonist  and spends too much time focusing on her libido and not using her brain. She comes off as a Mary Sue. The author gives us boring unnecessary detail about Sookie's clothing and shampooing her hair, but then glosses over more pertinent details and descriptions that would enhance the story line. Sookie has the emotional depth of a sponge and is not a relatable character whatsoever.  I was disappointed by the unsophisticated dialogue, lack of character development and frequent use of sex to add excitement to an otherwise lackluster series. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really like the book. It's not Pride and Prejudice, except perhaps it serves a similar function for the times we live in. Sookie is a good heroine, independent, smart. resourceful, talented. Bill and Eric are good romantic possibilities for her, though flawed and actually not even human. Alcide is ok, only part supernatural and a little boring. It's great that Sookie has a selection from which to choose, but I don't find him nearly as exciting. Harris writes Sookie into good adventures 3 books into the series, better that the TV's shows and she writes nice sexual experiences for Skokie, more inventive and interesting that HBO visusex. This book recounted its heroine's experiences with hot men and danger as well as some fun Pam and Bubba moments. Sometimes they were they same event. I loved that Sookie saved the day a couple of times and that Eric flies and really takes quite good care of Sookie. Just wish I could look forward to a future in which Sookie would pick up on that once and for all and that some day they would fly together into eternity. If I talked about SKOKIE in this review, it's because my auto correct fights me about the name Ms Harris gave her heroine in this book.
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Loved this one
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This book series is amazing, beyond discription. I definitely recommend it as a must read! Specially for people who love fantasy/fiction, you will get completely lost and have you yearning for more!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago