Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
**This review was originally posted on my Goodreads**
**This review contains explicit spoilers for the book.**
I think I should start out by saying that I was introduced to the True Blood show before I even knew about any of the Sookie Stackhouse books, and so I already had a picture of these characters, as well as opinions of and attachments to some of them. So I found it very upsetting when one of my very favorite characters was found dead right at the beginning. Although we had not seen much of Lafayette in the first book, I had hoped (due to how important he was in the show) his role would pick up, but I guess not.
I thought that this book was a little slower than the first one, and found the maenad confusing and a little juvenile. She just sort of skipped into Bon Temps, throws a few orgies, kills a few people, then shrugs her shoulders and tosses her hair with a painful 'oh well, I have to go somewhere else now' type goodbye worthy of a flirty 13 year old talking to a crush on AIM, and flounces right back out of the series leaving Sookie, or rather Bill and Eric, to clean up the mess. It felt like a cop out ending if there ever was one. So you found the villain, and they killed someone, and they attacked you, leaving you for dead just to send a message, what are you going to do next? Answer: watch her dance off into the woods like a crazy person and do nothing. In the sarcastic words of my 18 year old younger sister 'Cool story, bro, tell it again.'
But there is another story line here, you say? It's got a much better resolution to it, you say? Well, yes, you would be at least partially correct. Sookie is hired(bullied) into helping Bill's boss, Eric's friend find his kidnapped 'brother' from a crazed religious group called the Fellowship of the Sun, because an ancient, remorseful, child molesting vampire want's a buddy when he commits suicide to escape the guilt (and gain redemption?). I wasn't sure if I felt bad for this guy because he was thoroughly brainwashed to the point of stupidity by the Fellowship of the Sun, into thinking that this was God's will, or something like that, or not because he was a self proclaimed child rapist.
But wait, you say, that's not the whole book! There is the wonderful, and romantic love story between Sookie and Bill! Now that you mention it, I do remember a deeply disturbing, and borderline terrifying relationship between the two of them. The entire book, while trying to show the deep love and devotion these two had for each other, was littered with alarming passages about Bill's controlling nature, and outbursts of rage. My favorite is when he demands that she take off Eric's shirt (given to her because her own was ruined in a vicious attack) because he could not stand to see her wear Eric's clothes. Other's included hastily brushed away bursts of fear from Sookie, and borderline rape, when Sookie, badly injured, does not feel up to sex, but Bill insists until she finally agrees. It almost played out as a what not to do for relationships, although their eventual split up at the end of the book makes me wonder if the author wrote it as a bad relationship (I hope so!).
Overall I didn't really like this book all that much, but I would recommend it to someone who liked the Vampire Diaries books, or Beautiful Creatures. I will probably finish the series, but it will most likely take me a while.
Living Dead in Dallas on Goodreads
My review on Goodreads