Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris, is a paranormal cozy mystery romance. It’s told from the first-person perspective of Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress and mind reader in the little southern town of Bon Temps, and her first encounter with a vampire—who she falls in love with. Of course, said vampire is a suspect in some local murders, as is Sookie’s brother.
Sookie thinks of her mind reading ability as a disability. It makes it difficult to interact normally with people, difficult to concentrate on anything much more than just keeping other people out of her head. She’s careful not to invade people’s privacy, especially her boss Sam’s. She likes her job as a waitress at Merlotte’s and doesn’t want to have to give it up. So when Bill comes in and she can’t read his mind, Sookie immediately takes to him.
2—Vampires are Out of the Coffin
After the development of synthetic blood, vampires come into public view. Some, like Bill Compton, want to mainstream—assimilate into human society. Which is why Bill has moved back to his human hometown of Bon Temps. Other vampires, like the ones who come to visit him one night, are definitely not trying to fit in. There are also fang-bangers, human groupies who get off—literally—on vampires.
Then there’s the mystery—who is murdering women in Bon Temps? Sookie finds one of the murdered women, a co-worker, when Sam asks her to check on her when she doesn’t show up for work. Then shortly afterward, Sookie’s own grandmother is murdered when the murderer was laying in wait at their house for Sookie. The murders don’t stop there, and Sookie knows she’s on the killer’s list. She doesn’t believe Bill or her brother are responsible, so she decides to use her ability to read minds to try to figure out who the murderer really is, but it’s not so simple.
I enjoyed Dead Until Dark. I thought the progression of Sookie and Bill’s romance was realistic, a progression rather than total devotion at first sight. The mystery was good and I didn’t guess whodunnit until about a chapter before he came to kill Sookie, but Sookie never came off as stupid for not guessing the killer earlier. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.