June has been the month of Mysteries. Paranormal Mysteries in fact. In May I jumped back in time with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, an old favorite, but I just had to step away in the middle of the 5th book. There's only so much historical fiction I can take at once, so I started looking for something completely different and found Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Series.
Since I was checking the books out from the library I started with Dead to the World, which is actually the 4th book in the series. The main character, Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress with an extra gift, the ability to read minds. She lives in a world, not much different from our own, except for the vampires that freely roam the earth and are out of the coffin, so to speak. Because of Sookie's gift she finds the company of vampires soothing since she can't read their minds the way she can regular...living humans.
Her optimistic outlook on life and her feisty nature make Sookie a great heroine and an intriguing woman to the supernaturals around her. Her love life is one that while prominent in the story, it doesn't interfere with the two mysteries she's trying to solve. One on behalf of the vampires and one that is much more personal, the disappearance of her brother. In a way the resolution to these mysteries seems to happen awfully fast, but at the same time, at 320 pages, there's not a way to draw out the conflict too much. Dead to the World was a good introduction to the Southern Vampire series and made me want to continue reading about Sookie and the rest of the characters.
Oddly enough, Sookie and her friends in Bon Temps, Louisiana reminded me of the cast of characters from Mitford, North Carolina found in the Mitford series by Jan Karon. Two extremely different genres, but the small town atmosphere, and camaraderie that comes from that small town (and small ensemble) comes through in both series. Since reading Dead the the World I've gone back and read the first two books in the series. Looking forward to getting the third in July.