Halloween means monsters– ghosts, vampires, women wearing little more than fishnet stockings and a smile. So it is in the spirit of Haloween that I’ve started reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. Eight novels comprise the Sookie Stackhouse series, so far– the first one being Dead Until Dark published in 2001. The series takes the vampire legend and turns it on its head. The premise is that the development of synthetic blood has allowed vampires to come “out of the coffin” for the first time in history. So much of vampire lore is wrapped up in the element of secrecy about them. Harris does away with all that in the second paragraph before moving on to her version of vampire stories.

I came across these books via the HBO series “True Blood”. Alan Ball created the television series, basing it upon the Sookie Stackhouse novels. You may know Alan Ball as the writer of American Beauty and the creator of another of my favorite HBO series, “Six Feet Under”. When I saw that he was creating another TV series, I decided to take a look. After two episodes I wanted to read at least the first book.

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 witha seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of– big surprise– murder. And when one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next …

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