Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #2)

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Overview

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 painful 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 ...

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Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #2)

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Overview

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 painful 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. . . .

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  • Charlaine Harris
    Charlaine Harris  

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
This is one terrific read. Harris has created a charming and winning character in Sookie Stackhouse—cocktail waitress, telepath, and girlfriend of a vampire. Stackhouse lives in a different world, one where vampires, werewolves, and assorted other mythical beings actually exist. She is beholden to the local Louisiana nest of vampires and is sent by its head, Eric, to help the nest in Dallas. It seems that one of their vamps has disappeared and they need a telepath to track him and possibly save him. She dutifully follows Bill to Dallas where they stay at an interesting vampire hotel complete with windowless rooms and synthetic blood. In Dallas they discover a fanatical religious cult that is vehemently opposed to vampires and is trying to destroy them or, better yet, get them to destroy themselves. Sookie has to dive headlong into this mystery before she gets to try her hand and her mind at solving the murder of a fellow worker back home. Harris creates wonderful characters, an inventive plot, and terrific situations. She has a real feel for the world she has created and allows the willing suspension of disbelief to do its job. Her work is reminiscent of Laurel Hamilton and her Anita Blake series but much less dense. It also reminds a reader of Tanya Huff's work and has the same light touch. There is plenty of sexual tension between Sookie and her boyfriend but also between Sookie and Eric, who also wants her for his own. At the same time there is a joy and an innocence about the work that make it very appealing. (A Southern Vampire Novel) Category: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002,Berkley, Ace, 262p., , Philadelphia, PA
Susan Sizemore
A fun, fast, funny, and wonderfully intriguing blend of vampire and mystery that's hard to put down, and should not be missed.
Lynn Hightower
Highly original, extraordinarily riveting, erotic, and exotic . . . Charlaine Harris weaves storytelling magic in a tale of vampires and small-town Louisiana.
Tanya Huff
Charlaine Harris delivers both horror and humor as seen from the unique perspective of rural America.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441009237
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/26/2002
  • Series: Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: ACE MASS-M
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 84,023
  • Product dimensions: 6.78 (w) x 4.30 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Charlaine Harris writes both fantasy and mysteries.

Biography

A native of the Mississippi Delta, Charlaine Harris grew up in a family of avid readers (her father was a teacher; her mother a librarian). She attended Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, graduating in 1973 with a degree in English and Communication Arts. Although she penned poetry and plays in school, her first serious foray into fiction was with two standalone novels, Sweet and Deadly and A Secret Rage, published (effortlessly!) in the early 1980s.

After her early success, Harris released the first installment in a series of lighthearted mysteries starring spunky, small-town Georgia librarian, true crime enthusiast, and amateur sleuth Aurora Teagarden. When Aurora debuted in Real Murders (1990), Publishers Weekly welcomed "a heroine as capable and potentially complex as P. D. James's Cordelia Gray." The book went on to receive an Agatha Award nomination.

Anxious for another challenge, Harris began a second series in 1996. Darker and edgier than the Teagarden novels, these mysteries featured taciturn, 30-something housecleaner Lily Bard, a woman with a complicated past who has moved to the small town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, to find peace and solitude. The first novel, Shakespeare's Landlord, was well-received. BookList raved: "Harris has created an intriguing new character in this solidly plotted story." [Much to the disappointment of her fans, Harris concluded the Lilly Bard sequence in 2001 with Shakespeare's Counselor.]

Although Harris achieved moderate success with these two series (which she laughingly describes as "cozies with teeth"), she would hit the jackpot in 2001 with Dead Until Dark, a sly, spoofy paranormal mystery starring a telepathic Louisiana cocktail waitress named Sookie Stackhouse, who falls in love with a vampire named Bill. The novel, a delightful hybrid of mystery, science fiction, and romance, was an instant hit with critics. ("Harris' Sookie has the potential to attract more readers than Hamilton's Anita Blake," raved the dark fantasy magazine Cemetery Dance.) Readers, too, adored the Southern Vampire Series and have rewarded the author with bestseller after bestseller. (In 2008, the Sookie saga came to HBO in a top-rated television adaptation, True Blood, starring Anna Paquin.)

With 2006's Grave Sight, Harris added yet another fascinating character to her stable -- a young woman named Harper Connelly whose youthful encounter with a lightning bolt has left her with the ability to find corpses and determine how they died. In addition to juggling characters and plots for her popular series, Harris has also contributed short stories and novellas to several anthologies of paranormal fantasy fiction.

Good To Know

In our interview, Harris confesses:

"I'm really a boring person. My family (my husband and three children) is the most important thing in my life. I go to bed early, I get up early. I love to go to the movies with my husband. My favorite things about finally making some money as a writer are (a) I can buy as many books as I want, and (b) I can hire a maid. The first job I had was working in an offset darkroom at a very small newspaper. I stood on a concrete floor all day and made minimum wage -- which then was $1.60 an hour. I hated it, and I learned a lot, though not necessarily about working in a darkroom. So being a writer is much better."

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    1. Hometown:
      Southern Arkansas
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tunica, Mississippi
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English and Communication Arts, Rhodes, 1973
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Andy Bellefleur was as drunk as a skunk. This wasn't normal for Andy believe me, I know all the drunks in Bon Temps. Working at Sam Merlotte's bar for several years has pretty much introduced me to all of them. But Andy Bellefleur, native son and detective on Bon Temps's small police force, had never been drunk in Merlotte's before. I was mighty curious as to why tonight was an exception.

Andy and I aren't friends by any stretch of the imag- ination, so I couldn't ask him outright. But other means were open to me, and I decided to use them. Though I try to limit employing my disability, or gift, or whatever you want to call it, to find out things that might have an effect on me or mine, sometimes sheer curiosity wins out.

I let down my mental guard and read Andy's mind. I was sorry.

Andy had had to arrest a man that morning for kid- napping. He'd taken his ten-year-old neighbor to a place in the woods and raped her. The girl was in the hospital, and the man was in jail, but the damage that had been dealt was irreparable. I felt weepy and sad. It was a crime that touched too closely on my own past. I liked Andy a little better for his depression.

"Andy Bellefleur, give me your keys," I said. His broad face turned up to me, showing very little compre- hension. After a long pause while my meaning filtered through to his addled brain, Andy fumbled in the pocket of his khakis and handed me his heavy key ring. I put another bourbon-and-Coke on the bar in front of him. "My treat," I said, and went to the phone at the end of the bar to call Portia, Andy's sister. The Bellefleur sib- lings lived in a decaying large white two-story antebel- lum, formerly quite a showplace, on the prettiest street in the nicest area of Bon Temps. On Magnolia Creek Road, all the homes faced the strip of park through which ran the stream, crossed here and there by deco- rative bridges for foot traffic only; a road ran on both sides. There were a few other old homes on Magnolia Creek Road, but they were all in better repair than the Bellefleur place, Belle Rive. Belle Rive was just too much for Portia, a lawyer, and Andy, a cop, to maintain, since the money to support such a home and its grounds was long since gone. But their grandmother, Caroline, stubbornly refused to sell.

Portia answered on the second ring.

"Portia, this is Sookie Stackhouse," I said, having to raise my voice over the background noise in the bar.

"You must be at work."

"Yes. Andy's here, and he's three sheets to the wind. I took his keys. Can you come get him?"

"Andy had too much to drink? That's rare. Sure, I'll be there in ten minutes," she promised, and hung up.

"You're a sweet girl, Sookie," Andy volunteered un- expectedly.

He'd finished the drink I'd poured for him. I swept the glass out of sight and hoped he wouldn't ask for more. "Thanks, Andy," I said. "You're okay, yourself."

"Where'sboyfriend?"

"Right here," said a cool voice, and Bill Compton appeared just behind Andy. I smiled at him over Andy's drooping head. Bill was about five foot ten, with dark brown hair and eyes. He had the broad shoulders and hard muscular arms of a man who's done manual labor for years. Bill had worked a farm with his father, and then for himself, before he'd gone to be a soldier in the war. That would be the Civil War.

"Hey, B.!" called Charlsie Tooten's husband, Mi- cah. Bill raised a casual hand to return the greeting, and my brother, Jason, said, "Evening, Vampire Bill," in a perfectly polite way. Jason, who had not exactly wel- comed Bill into our little family circle, had turned over a whole new leaf. I was sort of mentally holding my breath, waiting to see if his improved attitude was per- manent.

"Bill, you're okay for a bloodsucker," Andy said ju- diciously, rotating on his bar stool so he could face Bill. I upgraded my opinion of Andy's drunkenness, since he had never otherwise been enthusiastic about the accep- tance of vampires into America's mainstream society.

"Thanks," Bill said dryly. "You're not too bad for a Bellefleur." He leaned across the bar to give me a kiss. His lips were as cool as his voice. You had to get used to it. Like when you laid your head on his chest, and you didn't hear a heartbeat inside. "Evening, sweet- heart," he said in his low voice. I slid a glass of the Japanese-developed synthetic B negative across the bar, and he knocked it back and licked his lips. He looked pinker almost immediately.

"How'd your meeting go, honey?" I asked. Bill had been in Shreveport the better part of the night.

"I'll tell you later."

I hoped his work-related story was less distressing than Andy's. "Okay. I'd appreciate it if you'd help Por- tia get Andy to her car. Here she comes now," I said, nodding toward the door.

For once, Portia was not wearing the skirt, blouse, jacket, hose, and low-heeled pumps that constituted her professional uniform. She'd changed to blue jeans and a ragged Sophie Newcomb sweatshirt. Portia was built as squarely as her brother, but she had long, thick, chest- nut hair. Keeping it beautifully tended was Portia's one signal that she hadn't given up yet. She plowed single- mindedly through the rowdy crowd.

"Well, he's soused, all right," she said, evaluating her brother. Portia was trying to ignore Bill, who made her very uneasy. "It doesn't happen often, but if he decides to tie one on, he does a good job."

"Portia, Bill can carry him to your car," I said. Andy was taller than Portia and thick in body, clearly too much of a burden for his sister.

"I think I can handle him," she told me firmly, still not looking toward Bill, who raised his eyebrows at me.

So I let her get one arm around him and try to hoist him off the stool. Andy stayed perched. Portia glanced around for Sam Merlotte, the bar owner, who was small and wiry in appearance but very strong. "Sam's bar- tending at an anniversary party at the country club," I said. "Better let Bill help."

"All right," the lawyer said stiffly, her eyes on the polished wood of the bar. "Thanks very much."

Bill had Andy up and moving toward the door in sec- onds, in spite of Andy's legs tending to turn to jelly. Micah Tooten jumped up to open the door, so Bill was able to sweep Andy right out into the parking lot.

"Thanks, Sookie," Portia said. "Is his bar tab settled up?"

I nodded.

"Okay," she said, slapping her hand on the bar to signal she was out of there. She had to listen to a chorus of well-meant advice as she followed Bill out the front door of Merlotte's.

That was how Detective Andy Bellefleur's old Buick came to sit in the parking lot at Merlotte's all night and into the next day. The Buick had certainly been empty when Andy had gotten out to enter the bar, he would later swear. He'd also testify that he'd had been so pre- occupied by his internal turmoil that he'd forgotten to lock the car.

At some point between eight o'clock, when Andy had arrived at Merlotte's, and ten the next morning, when I arrived to help open the bar, Andy's car acquired a new passenger.

This one would cause considerable embarrassment for the policeman.

This one was dead.

I shouldn't have been there at all. I'd worked the late shift the night before, and I should've worked the late shift again that night. But Bill had asked me if I could switch with one of my coworkers, because he needed me to accompany him to Shreveport, and Sam hadn't objected. I'd asked my friend Arlene if she'd work my shift. She was due a day off, but she always wanted to earn the better tips we got at night, and she agreed to come in at five that afternoon.

By all rights, Andy should've collected his car that morning, but he'd been too hung over to fool with get- ting Portia to run him over to Merlotte's, which was out of the way to the police station. She'd told him she would pick him up at work at noon, and they'd eat lunch at the bar. Then he could retrieve his car.

So the Buick, with its silent passenger, waited for dis- covery far longer than it should have.

I'd gotten about six hours' sleep the night before, so I was feeling pretty good. Dating a vampire can be hard on your equilibrium if you're truly a daytime person, like me. I'd helped close the bar, and left for home with Bill by one o'clock. We'd gotten in Bill's hot tub to- gether, then done other things, but I'd gotten to bed by a little after two, and I didn't get up until almost nine. Bill had long been in the ground by then.

I drank lots of water and orange juice and took a multivitamin and iron supplement for breakfast, which was my regimen since Bill had come into my life and brought (along with love, adventure, and excitement) the constant threat of anemia. The weather was getting cooler, thank God, and I sat on Bill's front porch wear- ing a cardigan and the black slacks we wore to work at Merlotte's when it was too cool for shorts. My white golf shirt had merlotte's bar embroidered on the left breast.

As I skimmed the morning paper, with one part of my mind I was recording the fact that the grass was defi- nitely not growing as fast. Some of the leaves appeared to be beginning to turn. The high school football stadium might be just about tolerable this coming Friday night.

The summer just hates to let go in Louisiana, even northern Louisiana. Fall begins in a very halfhearted way, as though it might quit at any minute and revert to the stifling heat of July. But I was on the alert, and I could spot traces of fall this morning. Fall and winter meant longer nights, more time with Bill, more hours of sleep.

So I was cheerful when I went to work. When I saw the Buick sitting all by its lonesome in front of the bar, I remembered Andy's surprising binge the night before. I have to confess, I smiled when I thought of how he'd be feeling today. Just as I was about to drive around in back and park with the other employees, I noticed that Andy's rear passenger door was open just a little bit. That would make his dome light stay on, surely? And his battery would run down. And he'd be angry, and have to come in the bar to call the tow truck, or ask someone to jump him so I put my car in park and slid out, leaving it running. That turned out to be an optimistic error.

I shoved the door to, but it would only give an inch. So I pressed my body to it, thinking it would latch and I could be on my way. Again, the door would not click shut. Impatiently, I yanked it all the way open to find out what was in the way. A wave of smell gusted out into the parking lot, a dreadful smell. Dismay clutched at my throat, because the smell was not unknown to me. I peered into the backseat of the car, my hand covering my mouth, though that hardly helped with the smell.

"Oh, man," I whispered. "Oh, shit." Lafayette, the cook for one shift at Merlotte's, had been shoved into the backseat. He was naked. It was Lafayette's thin brown foot, its toenails painted a deep crimson, that had kept the door from shutting, and it was Lafayette's corpse that smelled to high heaven.

I backed away hastily, then scrambled into my car and drove around back behind the bar, blowing my horn. Sam came running out of the employee door, an apron tied around his waist. I turned off my car and was out of it so quick I hardly realized I'd done it, and I wrapped myself around Sam like a static-filled sock.

"What is it?" Sam's voice said in my ear. I leaned back to look at him, not having to gaze up too much since Sam is a smallish man. His reddish gold hair was gleaming in the morning sun. He has true-blue eyes, and they were wide with apprehension.

"It's Lafayette," I said, and began crying. That was ridiculous and silly and no help at all, but I couldn't help it. "He's dead, in Andy Bellefleur's car."

Sam's arms tightened behind my back and drew me into his body once more. "Sookie, I'm sorry you saw it," he said. "We'll call the police. Poor Lafayette."

Being a cook at Merlotte's does not exactly call for any extraordinary culinary skill, since Sam just offers a few sandwiches and fries, so there's a high turnover. But Lafayette had lasted longer than most, to my surprise. Lafayette had been gay, flamboyantly gay, makeup-and- long-fingernails gay. People in northern Louisiana are less tolerant of that than New Orleans people, and I ex- pect Lafayette, a man of color, had had a doubly hard time of it. Despite or because of his difficulties, he was cheerful, entertainingly mischievous, clever, and ac- tually a good cook. He had a special sauce he steeped hamburgers in, and people asked for Burgers Lafayette pretty regular.

"Did he have family here?" I asked Sam. We eased apart self-consciously and went into the building, to Sam's office.

"He had a cousin," Sam said, as his fingers punched 9-1-1. "Please come to Merlotte's on Hummingbird Road," he told the dispatcher. "There's a dead man in a car here. Yes, in the parking lot, in the front of the place. Oh, and you might want to alert Andy Bellefleur. It's his car."

I could hear the squawk on the other end of the line from where I stood.

Danielle Gray and Holly Cleary, the two waitresses on the morning shift, came through the back door laugh- ing. Both divorced women in their mid-twenties, Danielle and Holly were lifelong friends who seemed to be quite happy working their jobs as long as they were together. Holly had a five-year-old son who was at kindergarten, and Danielle had a seven-year-old daughter and a boy too young for school, who stayed with Danielle's mother while Danielle was at Merlotte's. I would never be any closer to the two women who, after all, were around my age because they were careful to be sufficient unto themselves.

"What's the matter?" Danielle asked when she saw my face. Her own, narrow and freckled, became in- stantly worried.

"Why's Andy's car out front?" Holly asked. She'd dated Andy Bellefleur for a while, I recalled. Holly had short blond hair that hung around her face like wilted daisy petals, and the prettiest skin I'd ever seen. "He spend the night in it?"

"No," I said, "but someone else did."

"Who?"

"Lafayette's in it."

"Andy let a black queer sleep in his car?" This was Holly, who was the blunt straightforward one.

"What happened to him?" This was Danielle, who was the smarter of the two.

"We don't know," Sam said. "The police are on the way."

"You mean," Danielle said, slowly and carefully, "that he's dead."

"Yes," I told her. "That's exactly what we mean."

"Well, we're set to open in an hour." Holly's hands settled on her round hips. "What are we gonna do about that? If the police let us open, who's gonna cook for us? People come in, they'll want lunch."

"We better get ready, just in case," Sam said. "Though I'm thinking we won't get to open until sometime this afternoon." He went into his office to begin calling sub- stitute cooks.

It felt strange to be going about the opening routine, just as if Lafayette were going to mince in any minute with a story about some party he'd been to, the way he had a few days before. The sirens came shrieking down the county road that ran in front of Merlotte's. Cars crunched across Sam's gravel parking lot. By the time we had the chairs down, the tables set, and extra silver- ware rolled in napkins and ready to replace used settings, the police came in.

Merlotte's is out of the city limits, so the parish sher- iff, Bud Dearborn, would be in charge. Bud Dearborn, who'd been a good friend of my father's, was gray- haired now. He had a mashed-in face, like a human Pe- kinese, and opaque brown eyes. As he came in the front door of the bar, I noticed Bud was wearing heavy boots and his Saints cap. He must have been called in from working on his farm. With Bud was Alcee Beck, the only African American detective on the parish force. Al- cee was so black that his white shirt gleamed in contrast. His tie was knotted precisely, and his suit was absolutely correct. His shoes were polished and shining.

Bud and Alcee, between them, ran the parishat least some of the more important elements that kept it functional. Mike Spencer, funeral home director and par- ish coroner, had a heavy hand in local affairs, too, and he was a good friend of Bud's. I was willing to bet Mike was already out in the parking lot, pronouncing poor Lafayette dead.

Bud Spencer said, "Who found the body?"

"I did." Bud and Alcee changed course slightly and headed toward me.

"Sam, can we borrow your office?" Bud asked. With- out waiting for Sam's response, he jerked his head to indicate I should go in.

"Sure, go right ahead," my boss said dryly. "Sookie, you okay?"

"Fine, Sam." I wasn't sure that was true, but there wasn't anything Sam could do about it without getting into trouble, and all to no avail. Though Bud gestured to me to sit down, I shook my head as he and Alcee settled themselves in the office chairs. Bud, of course, took Sam's big chair, while Alcee made do with the better extra chair, the one with a little padding left.

"Tell us about the last time you saw Lafayette alive," Bud suggested.

I thought about it.

"He wasn't working last night," I said. "Anthony was working, Anthony Bolivar."

"Who is that?" Alcee's broad forehead wrinkled. "Don't recognize the name."

"He's a friend of Bill's. He was passing through, and he needed a job. He had the experience." He'd worked in a diner during the Great Depression.

"You mean the short-order cook at Merlotte's is a vampire?"

"So?" I asked. I could feel my mouth setting stubborn, and my brows drawing in, and I knew my face was getting mad. I was trying hard not to read their minds, trying hard to stay completely out of this, but it wasn't easy. Bud Dearborn was average, but Alcee projected his thoughts like a lighthouse sends a signal. Right now he was beaming disgust and fear.

In the months before I'd met Bill, and found that he treasured that disability of mine my gift, as he saw it I'd done my best to pretend to myself and everyone else that I couldn't really "read" minds. But since Bill had liberated me from the little prison I'd built for myself, I'd been practicing and experimenting, with Bill's en- couragement. For him, I had put into words the things I'd been feeling for years. Some people sent a clear, strong message, like Alcee. Most people were more off- and-on, like Bud Dearborn. It depended a lot on how strong their emotions were, how clear-headed they were, what the weather was, for all I knew. Some people were murky as hell, and it was almost impossible to tell what they were thinking. I could get a reading of their moods, maybe, but that was all.

I had admitted that if I was touching people while I tried to read their thoughts, it made the picture clearer like getting cable, after having only an antenna. And I'd found that if I "sent" a person relaxing images, I could flow through his brain like water.

There was nothing I wanted less than to flow through Alcee Beck's mind. But absolutely involuntarily I was getting a full picture of Alcee's deeply superstitious re- action to finding out there was a vampire working at Merlotte's, his revulsion on discovering I was the woman he'd heard about who was dating a vampire, his deep conviction that the openly gay Lafayette had been a disgrace to the black community. Alcee figured some- one must have it in for Andy Bellefleur, to have parked a gay black man's carcass in Andy's car. Alcee was wondering if Lafayette had had AIDS, if the virus could have seeped into Andy's car seat somehow and survived there. He'd sell the car, if it were his.

If I'd touched Alcee, I would have known his phone number and his wife's bra size.

Bud Dearborn was looking at me funny. "Did you say something?" I asked.

"Yeah. I was wondering if you had seen Lafayette in here during the evening. Did he come in to have a drink?"

"I never saw him here." Come to think of it, I'd never seen Lafayette have a drink. For the first time, I realized that though the lunch crowd was mixed, the night bar patrons were almost exclusively white.

"Where did he spend his social time?"

"I have no idea." All Lafayette's stories were told with the names changed to protect the innocent. Well, actually, the guilty.

"When did you see him last?"

"Dead, in the car."

Bud shook his head in exasperation. "Alive, Sookie."

"Hmmm. I guessthree days ago. He was still here when I got here to work my shift, and we said hello to each other. Oh, he told me about a party he'd been to." I tried to recall his exact words. "He said he'd been to a house where there were all kinds of sex hijinks going on."

The two men gaped at me.

"Well, that's what he said! I don't know how much truth was in it." I could just see Lafayette's face as he'd told me about it, the coy way he kept putting his finger across his lips to indicate he wasn't telling me any names or places.

"Didn't you think someone should know about that?" Bud Dearborn looked stunned.

"It was a private party. Why should I tell anyone about it?"

But that kind of party shouldn't happen in their parish. Both men were glaring at me. Through compressed lips, Bud said, "Did Lafayette tell you anything about drugs being used at this get-together?"

"No, I don't remember anything like that."

"Was this party at the home of someone white, or someone black?"

"White," I said, and then wished I'd pled ignorance. But Lafayette had been really impressed by the home though not because it was large or fancy. Why had he been so impressed? I wasn't too sure what would con- stitute impressive for Lafayette, who had grown up poor and stayed that way, but I was sure he'd been talking about the home of someone white, because he'd said, "All the pictures on the walls, they all white as lilies and smiling like alligators." I didn't offer that comment to the police, and they didn't ask further.

When I'd left Sam's office, after explaining why Andy's car had been in the parking lot in the first place, I went back to stand behind the bar. I didn't want to watch the activity out in the parking lot, and there weren't any customers to wait on because the police had the entrances to the lot blocked off.

Sam was rearranging the bottles behind the bar, dust- ing as he went, and Holly and Danielle had plunked themselves down at a table in the smoking section so Danielle could have a cigarette.

"How was it?" Sam asked.

"Not much to it. They didn't like hearing about An- thony working here, and they didn't like what I told them about the party Lafayette was bragging about the other day. Did you hear him telling me? The orgy thing?"

"Yeah, he said something to me about that, too. Must have been a big evening for him. If it really happened."

"You think Lafayette made it up?"

"I don't think there are too many biracial, bisexual parties in Bon Temps," he said.

"But that's just because no one invited you to one," I said pointedly. I wondered if I really knew at all what went on in our little town. Of all the people in Bon Temps, I should be the one to know the ins and the outs, since all that information was more or less readily avail- able to me, if I chose to dig for it. "At least, I assume that's the case?"

"That's the case," Sam said, smiling at me a little as he dusted a bottle of whiskey.

"I guess my invitation got lost in the mail, too."

"You think Lafayette came back here last night to talk more to you or me about this party?"

I shrugged. "He may have just arranged to meet some- one in the parking lot. After all, everyone knows where Merlotte's is. Had he gotten his paycheck?" It was the end of the week, when Sam normally paid us.

"No. Maybe he'd come in for that, but I'd have given it to him at work the next day. Today."

"I wonder who invited Lafayette to that party."

"Good question."

"You don't reckon he'd have been dumb enough to try to blackmail anyone, do you?"

Sam rubbed the fake wood of the bar with a clean rag. The bar was already shining, but he liked to keep his hands busy, I'd noticed. "I don't think so," he said, after he'd thought it over. "No, they sure asked the wrong person. You know how indiscreet Lafayette was. Not only did he tell us that he went to such a party and I'm betting he wasn't supposed to he might have wanted to build more on it than the other, ah, partici- pants, would feel comfortable with."

"Like, keep in contact with the people at the party? Give them a sly wink in public?"

"Something like that."

"I guess if you have sex with someone, or watch them having sex, you feel pretty much like you're their equal." I said this doubtfully, having limited experience in that area, but Sam was nodding.

"Lafayette wanted to be accepted for what he was more than anything else," he said, and I had to agree.

—Reprinted from Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris by permission of Berkley, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2002, Charlaine Harris. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 2367 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    I really enjoyed this book. It has a story that will keep you entertained for hours.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Cute Series

    I have enjoyed this series. I mostly read crime scene, murder mystery, court room drama books and, in between, I like to break it up with light hearted, funny reading like Janet Evanovich and Gemma Halliday books. This series fits right in! I have been entertained. And for me, that's what counts :)

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    For Entertainment Purposes Only, Of Little To No Literary Value

    It is a safe bet that nobody is reading the Sookie Stackhouse series for its literary value. The second book in the vampire series by Charlaine Harris is as poorly written as the first, if not more so. Can we agree that we read the adventures of Sookie for the violence and the sex? These novels have their place in our culture, just as big budget blockbuster films do. They serve as a quick, mindless read, finished in a few days. They are the horror equivalent of the tawdry drugstore romance novel with little to no character development, description, or internal conflict. The imagination factor is minimal, the vocabulary is basic, and the language is cliché-filled.

    Yet still, they serve their purpose. Living Dead In Dallas finds Sookie Stackhouse working for the vampires, on loan to the Dallas vampires and using her psychic abilities to help locate a kidnapped vampire. Her vampire lover, Bill, and Eric, the leader of the Louisiana chapter of vampires, accompany her on her journey. Along the way, she meets a number of colorful characters who, if the time had been taken to develop them more intimately, may have been interesting. It seems as though Charlaine Harris may have consulted a personality dictionary during her writing, creating superficial characters with little to no internal conflict, at least none that is obvious to the reader.

    The story moves quickly through Dallas as Sookie helps to unravel a plot by an anti-vampire league chartered with publicly expressing their hatred for vampires. Sookie returns home to find a close friend's murder still unresolved, and she engages herself in a local sex club to help bring the killers to justice. Harris tries desperately to engage her readers in the supernatural world, weaving different other-worldly creature such as shape-shifters and maenads into the storyline. But she does no unsuccessfully as the characters serve no real purpose for their presence or add little to help the story move forward.

    Living Dead In Dallas serves its purpose as mindless , unfocused fiction, the kind you can read in the airport without having to focus too intently on the content. If you miss a few pages out of distraction, you can probably figure out what happened by thinking about how you would have crafted the story. It is less than creative and entirely basic, but it does provide some satisfaction as entertainment only.

    6 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Living Dead In Dallas

    What do I have to say about the author Charlain Harris and one of her many Sookie Stackhouse books Living Dead In Dallas? I only have one word that comes to mind. Phenomenal. Let me tell you if you're not really a big reader and you're looking for something to spark you interest this is the book to pick up for sure. It sure rekindled my love of reading and many times I found it extremely hard to put the book down. I was so hooked that I went out to buy the whole Sookie Stackhouse series. The genre is Fantasy/Mystery but I found it to be so much more than that. This book has everything you could possibly want in a book. It's got of course fantasy, mystery, adventure, light comody or humor, detective, drama, a bit of gothic, and you can't forget the romance with a splash of the supernatural. I mean really, what more could you ask for in a single book? The story starts off in a little town called Bon Temps in Louisiana where the main character Sookie Stackhouse lives, a beautiful mind reading outcast. Working in a local tavern and shunned by all "normal" men she is ecstatic when a tall dark and ever so handsome vampire strolls in to have a drink and forever change her life. Bill Compton. Little did she know exactly what their entanglement would get her? Soon after finding her friend and co-worker murdered she is summoned to Dallas Texas to do some investigating work for the Area 5 sheriff, Eric Northerman, whom she owes so is duty bound to do what he asks of her. Her assignment was to find out what happened to a missing vampire that has been kidnapped through her mind reading abilities. Going around Dallas reading other human's minds sounds easy enough right? Wrong. She finds herself in a whole lot of trouble many times over with many, many close calls of near death, fights, beating and even kidnapping. Through this whole worldwind of trouble and mayhem with her loving vampire by her side she somehow pulls it all off. Sookie and Bill find out what had happened to the missing vampire and some things she wished she didn't know (or rather hear). She then returns home to do some investigating of her own. She closes the murder case of her co-worker/friend. All seems well for the moment and she's turned into quit a survivor. I don't know what else to say about this book, except, you just have to read it. It's got something for everyone. You'll fall head over heels for the characters and the crazy things that happen. I employ you to read this book and tell me otherwise but chances are you'll find it as hard to put down and I did.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2009

    Fun!

    This book is fun! It's a great story told in an interesting way. This book made me want to read others in the series. Much better than the show on HBO.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A really fun read

    I am pleasantly surprised with the Sookie Stackhouse series thus far. I have not seen the show. Book one was a little slow, but I have been thoroughly entertained with both Books 2 & 3. I recommend it to anyone who wants a fun, light read. Definitely not for kids.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Very good second edition to the Soukie Stackhouse Series

    I started to read this series after some co-workers were talking about the True Blood series on HBO based on the books. I got the first one for Christmas and have read the entire series to date. This book picks up where Dead Until Dark leaves off and the characters develop even more. The story keeps you hooked and moving to the last page. If you are looking for a good series to read this is it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2010

    Better than the show

    I have really enjoyed the series so far can't wait to get the next book. I really loved the show but the book have blown it out of the water. I would suggest it to anyone who loves vampires or love stories.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    This series is great so far.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2010

    Couldn't put it down!!!

    It only took me 3 days to read this book! I'm addicted,i will be setting more very soon!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    Excellent Follow-Up to "Dead Until Dark"

    After reading "Dead Until Dark" I couldn't wait to read Charlaine Harris's follow-up book "Living Dead in Dallas". And just like the first novel Ms. Harris' failed to disappoint. Even though these books are in the horror genre, the main characters have a great amount of sex appeal that keeps the reader wanting more....If anyone is a fan of the television series (Season 2 is loosely based on this novel)they will be most definitely satisfied with this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Sookie's at it Again

    I came to the Sookie Stackhouse series a little belatedly, but what a great find. Charlaine Harris is the queen of total escapism; the kind of books I like to call "brain candy". Not a lot in the way of deep reading, nothing philosophical or life-changing, but who doesn't need books like that now and again? In this book, she incorporates witches with vampires and werewolves, and I'm please that she did research on the topic of witches and wiccans beforehand to get her information accurate. And I'm still trying to figure out how she makes Sookie such a little sexpot without ever making her whorish. Pure talent.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Addicited!!

    I am sooo addicted to the Sookie Stackhouse Series!!! I first heard of it when I started watching TrueBlood on HBO, which I am a HUUUGE fan of! I had NO idea that TrueBlood was based on these books! I LOVE movies/shows that are based on books!!! Of course, the books are usually better...I was so excited to read these books!! If you are an adult Twilight Fan and looking for something a bit for adult, this series is it!! They are so much fun!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    good book-- pages missing!!!

    So the book is written well, it keeps good pace and is interesting.. not exceptional but quite good.. now the annoying thing!! Pages 199-230 are missing from my edition! This is incredibly inconvienent and annoying once you're better than halfway through reading it!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2009

    Another great book in the series. Now that I have read all of the books in this series and seen the first series on HBO, I can't wait to see what HBO does with this book in the second season.

    For anyone who loves the HBO series, I urge you to read the books. The books are so much better than the series (although I love the series on it's own merit). Sookie and Bill have to travel to Dallas as a favor to help another vampire sheriff find a missing vampire. While there, Sookie gets involved with the Fellowship of Sun. Here she meets not only other vampires but werewolves and another telepath as well and starts to understand there's a bigger world of secrets out there than she thought. This was a great, fast-moving story and I read it in about three evenings. The book doesn't disappoint for anyone who loved the first book and left you wanting to start the third book as soon as you closed the book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Still Not Awesome...but wasn't bad..

    I thought this book was okay, and I would reccomend it to other people. I am going to read the third book and see if it gets better...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A great Sequel

    I thought this was a great continuation of this series. Eric orders Sookie to go to Dallas so that another vampire could use her "services." A vampire in the Dallas group has gone missing and Sookie soon finds out that a radical church/cult has taken him so that he can go into the light with another vampire. Sookie of course tries to save him and ends up in trouble. I love Charlaine Harris' world of vampires, weres, and shifters and how all of them fit together. I love Sookie and Bill and their relationship and it gets pretty steamy in this book. I didn't really like the whole Manaed plotline but the rest was great, I can't wait to read of the rest of the series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2009

    Fun Read

    I read this book after reading the first Sookie novel and am really enjoying this series. I was happy that this book was less graphic than the first and had a better story line. The first book seemed to move too fast but this one was at a much better pace. In Living Dead in Dallas, you get to know the characters more indepth and begin to truly care about them and what may about to happen. It was a fun, quick read and I am really happy that I discovered this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Better than the first book

    The writing got better. A lot of sexual tension as in the first book.
    More supernatural creatures, more action, better story than the first book.
    Loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Number Two Does NOT Disappoint!!!

    This is the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series for Charlaine Harris. It's probably one of the best sequels I've read in this type of genre.
    Bill and Sookie go to Dallas on official vampire business, and stay in a hotel that caters to vampires. That, in and of itself, was strange enough, but then they meet up with a group that hates vampires and wants them gone. The group is sort of like a church, but think more of the cult type. Some more shapeshifters also make an appearance, and a maened.
    There's a lot that goes on in Dallas, but even more is going on when they return home. There's been a murder, the law of the town has been accused of the murder, there's a group having sex/orgy parties that may have actually committed the murder and Sookie has to figure it all out while managing not to get hurt or killed herself by the maened or the crazy cult group.
    This is also the book where Tara makes her appearance for the first time, though she's not quite the same as the TV series, and Eric, the sexy vampire that lusts for Sookie, actually manages to get closer to Sookie.
    I really hope True Blood follows the books. This would most definitely be an exciting TV show!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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