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Club Dead    by Charlaine Harris order for
Club Dead
by Charlaine Harris
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2003 (2003)
Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Sookie Stackhouse is devastated when her vampire boyfriend informs her that he is leaving on a secret assignment. Aside from being a fabulous lover, he is the only male with whom she has been able to have a relationship. After all, even if one can find a man not intimidated by one's ability to read minds, how long can that last? Fortunately, it is virtually impossible for Sookie to read the minds of vampires. And so Bill departs, warning her to hide his ultra-secret computer files, and leaving Sookie uneasily convinced that there is too much he isn't telling her.

She is only too right. It turns out that Bill is involved in a convoluted plot involving the king of Mississippi and the queen of Louisiana (vampires have different political divisions from those of humans). Bill's secret project appears to be coveted by several parties, and he himself has either allied with or been seduced by an old lover named Lorena. Sookie is not eager to involve herself in such a dangerous game, but Bill's betrayal with Lorena is a powerful argument. Soon she is whirled into the middle of perilous doings, and in the heart of enemy territory.

Charlaine Harris has created a fascinating and plausible world (once you accept the existence of supernatural creatures), peopled with colourful characters. Sookie's allies include Eric, the ancient and seductive vampire who is Bill's superior, and Alcide Herveaux, a werewolf who seems to me a far more attractive proposition than Bill. She also indulges a wicked sense of humour in Bubba (the sightings of Elvis have a basis in reality) and various commentaries on our modern society (such as the business opportunities afforded by supernatural clientele).

Sookie herself is an admirable protagonist, courageous, loyal, and refreshingly down to earth. Third in a series featuring Sookie and the unique world Harris has created, Club Dead inspires a wish to pursue this mind-reading heroine's acquaintance.

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