Living Dead in Dallas, book two of the Sookie Stackhouse series, shifts the action from tiny Bon Temps, Louisiana to Dallas, Texas. Finding herself beholden to vampire Eric Northman, thanks to her vampire boyfriend Bill Compton, Sookie heads to Dallas to help search for a missing vampire. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing at home as Sookie’s friend and Merlotte’s cook Lafayette Reynolds is found dead in the back of Detective Andy Bellefleur’s car.
Living Dead in Dallas is a worthy follow up to Dead Until Dark. Sookie is starting to come into her own as a heroine, and even learns to fend for herself without Bill to rescue her. Harris sandwiches the major vampire kidnapping plot between the relatively minor murder mystery, giving readers a glimpse into the complex workings of vampire politics. The Fellowship of the Sun, an anti-vampire cult, makes its first appearance. Willing to go to any lengths to rid the world of vampires, even kill humans, the Fellowship’s motives, juxtaposed with vampire society’s self-imposed sense of justice, will leave you questioning the true nature of evil.
Sookie does find herself injured more often than I could stomach, as a reader. She’s violently attacked by a maenad, and beaten and held prisoner by a cult (with the intention to burn her alive). Such experiences would leave a lesser character scarred—mentally as well as physically (and Sookie has her share of battle scars)—but Sookie manages to emerge with aplomb, if not intact.
We also gain more insight into Harris’s rich supernatural world, including the existence of werewolves (and other shifters), as well as mythical creatures like maenad. Nothing is ever as it seems—and for that, I’m a grateful reader.