Charlaine Harris introduces the world to a new reality with Dead Until Dark. The first of the Southern Vampire series, Ms. Harris tells us about how Vampires have always been all around us, but thanks to a Japanese creation of synthetic blood now they can come out of the coffin, so to speak. With that one detail readers are whisked away into the world of Sookie Stackhouse and the small town of Bon Temps, LA.
With the first novel of a series a writer has to throw a lot of information at readers while still gaining their attention and interest in the characters. Setting up a environment, a world so similar to the "real world" with only one or two differences could be glossed over, but that's not what happens. Instead readers are shown (instead of just told) the dangers to both vampires and humans. Along the way you meet Bill the Vampire, Sam Merlote - Sookie's boss and occasional star of fantasies, her womanizing brother Jason, and a cast of characters that you enjoy visiting in other books in the series. Sookie is a reluctant sleuth, but she is a brave one. She sets out to figure out who's causing a series of murders in Bon Temps with only the smallest hesitation. Her humor and outlook on life are fun additions to the story and will keep you coming back to the series.
Two books down, thirteen more to go before September 1st.