“Dead to the World”
Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 4
by Charlaine Harris
published by Ace, 2004

Continuing in the world of the Southern Vampires and the supernatural events in the life of Sookie Stackhouse, here’s book 4, “Dead to the World.”  This book for me marked a bit of a milestone in the Charlaine Harris creations.  This milestone is that this is the book that becomes more like the world of my favorite author, Jim Butcher.  After all it was Jim Butcher that got me interested in the Charlaine Harris books.

What I mean by this is that when Jim Butcher writes his Harry Dresden novels he combines as many creatures as possible in his tales of the supernatural.  Which makes sense, really, because if there is one creature in the supernatural world there has to be more.  Charlaine Harris started this series of books with vampires and some hinting toward shape-shifters.  By the 3rd book she had vampires, menads, shape-shifters and werewolves.   In this 4th book she introduces the reader to witches, Wiccans and fairies.  Thus creating a fun read in the supernatural world, and not just a romance series involving vampires.  I will admit there were times in this book where I let out a displeasing sigh when the romance novel would burst out of the pages.  But, Ms. Harris knew to keep that as a minor point and to move on with some great supernatural horror and adventure, oh, and some really funny dialogue.  You gotta have your comic relief.

The stories are all told by the main character Sookie Stackhouse, a bar-maid in Bon Temps, Louisiana with the gift of telepathy.  In this installment (which takes place just weeks after the previous book, “Club Dead”) Sookie is ready for the New Year and her resolution is to not get beat up, a resolution that seems to be hard to keep when you run around with vampires and werewolves.

After leaving Merlotte’s, the bar in which Sookie works for Sam the shape-shifter, Sookie sees a nearly naked man running in the cold night.   From there things just get weirder.  She stops to help the man.  The nearly naked man turns out to be Eric Northman, the vampire sheriff for that area of Louisiana.  The problem is that Eric does not know who Sookie is and worse yet he doesn’t know who he is.

As the story unfolds it is discovered a coven of witches have moved into Shreveport, where Eric maintains his area from a bar called Fangtasia.  By the way, the vampires are the only supernatural creature that, in the world created by Charlaine Harris, have made themselves known to the world.  Vampire rights are an issue in this world.  Fangtasia is mainly a “tourist” bar where normal people can come to stare at vampires while the vampires sip on “True Blood,” the synthetic alternative to human blood.

Eric refuses the witches and they curse him.  This curse sends him to Bon Temps without his memory.  Sookie gets help from her brother, Jason, sending him to buy clothes and “True Blood” for Eric.  Eric’s second in command Pam, meanwhile tries to locate the witches so that the vamps can retaliate.

To add woe to Sookie’s now Eric-babysitting service, Jason comes up missing.  Thinking the witches may have kidnapped him so Sookie will reveal where she is hiding Eric, Sookie joins the retaliation by helping to recruit the werewolves of Shreveport and the Wiccans of Bon Temps.

In what turns out to be an explosive battle against this dark witch coven by Wiccans, werewolves and vampires, Charlaine Harris has written in an adrenaline fueled thriller with some great humorous moments.

These books just keep getting better.

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