Dead Until Dark is a delightful romp, vampire romance and murder mystery rolled into one, with a little--just a little!--social commentary to hold it together. Sookie Stackhouse is a sassy small-town Southern girl with a disability; she's a telepath, and it takes all her powers of concentration not to be constantly overwhelmed by the thoughts of those around her. At the story's beginning she's working in a bar, living with her Grandmother, and resolutely remaining a virgin--too much mental noise involved with the prospect of sex.
Then she meets Bill, the vampire. Oh, Bill's not the only vampire; for two years, now, vampires have been out of the coffin ("as they laughingly put it") and living among humans. Bill Compton has returned to his hometown of Bon Temps, Louisiana and is living in his old family home and attempting to mainstream into human society. As things will, one leads to another, and Sookie and Bill become involved.
Charlaine Harris has created a charming, strong, self-aware heroine in Sookie Stackhouse. She also creates a strong sense of place in her depiction of Bon Temps and its environs.
Now reading: Deaf Sentence by David Lodge