Dead Until Dark

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Dead Until Dark
Cover of Dead Until Dark
Author Charlaine Harris
Country United States
Language English
Series The Southern Vampire Mysteries
Genre Fantasy, Mystery, Gothic, Romance
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date
May 1, 2001
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
e-Book (Kindle)
Audio Book (CD)
Pages 292(Hardcover)
ISBN ISBN 0-441-00853-4
OCLC 46875089
LC Class CPB Box no. 1850 vol. 12
Followed by Living Dead in Dallas

Dead Until Dark is the first novel in Charlaine Harris's series The Southern Vampire Mysteries.


Dead Until Dark, like the rest of the series to which it belongs, is narrated by Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress from the small fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps, not far from the non-fictional town of Shreveport. It is set at approximately the same time as the book's publication. However, in the world of the novel vampires (and other supernatural creatures) are a reality.

At some point in the recent past, Sookie tells us, the invention of synthetic blood has made it unnecessary for vampires to feed on humans for sustenance, allowing the world's previously underground vampire community to reveal its existence to humans. This "Great Revelation" was an internationally televised event in which vampires expressed the desire for peaceful coexistence with humans. Also relevant to plot development is the fact that vampire blood is an addictive and illegal drug which, amongst other effects, accelerates healing.

Plot summary[edit]

Sookie lives with her grandmother, Adele, and has an older brother, Jason. Early in the book, Sookie falls in love with a vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill Compton. After first meeting Bill, Sookie saves him from some "drainers", people who steal blood from vampires. Bill returns the favor several days later when the drainers attack Sookie.

Several murders occur in Bon Temps, and Bill becomes a suspect because many of the bodies have fang marks. Sookie's brother Jason is romantically linked to two of the victims, prompting the Bon Temps police to arrest him. Wanting to help her brother, Sookie asks Bill to take her to a vampire bar called Fangtasia, which is owned by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff much older and more powerful than Bill.

Eric realizes that Sookie's telepathy can be useful and commands Bill to direct Sookie to use her ability to determine the identity of the one embezzling from Fangtasia. Once Sookie identifies Long Shadow, who is Eric's partner and also a vampire, a confrontation ensues that nearly kills Sookie. Eric saves Sookie's life by staking Long Shadow when he attacks her. Meanwhile in Bon Temps, Adele is murdered within the family kitchen.

Bill, concerned with Eric's power over him and Sookie, decides to improve his own position within the vampire hierarchy. He asks Bubba, a dim-witted vampire, who was "the man from Memphis", to protect Sookie while he is gone. Sookie discovers that her boss, Sam, is a shape-shifter when she lets a stray dog sleep on her bed and finds a naked Sam in the morning.

While Bill is gone, Sookie discovers that the murderer is her brother's friend Rene Lenier. He almost kills her, but she fights back. Badly injured, Sookie wakes up in the hospital and finds the police by her side, telling her Rene has confessed to the killings. Bill appears later that night and tells Sookie that he has become his area's investigator, working under Eric.

See also[edit]