Featured Genre/Contributor Friday: Mystery

November 5, 2010 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment

Those of you who know Amanda at the circulation desk know that she is always ready with a good book recommendation.  Here she waxes poetic about a fun series in a genre that this blog has not yet covered: mystery.

An Ode to a Viking Vampire

The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris

10 books (Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, etc)

Fiction (Adult)

The mystery novel can be many things to many people and it can take place anywhere, at any time. However, there is always one constant. A mystery novel must have a detective, professional or amateur, and there must always be a mystery to solve.  At the Topsfield Library the Mystery genre gets its very own room in the original lobby of the building. In this elegant little room with its large windows overlooking the common and the comfortable leather backed chairs, you could certainly get lost for an hour or two. It is a forgotten space that gets little foot traffic but deserves so much more….

It is officially November and Halloween is now over.  If Halloween is your favorite holiday and you are starting to pine away for your next chance to spook or haunt, may I suggest an alternative to moping around the house in your old Dracula costume: how about a good mystery series?

Charlaine Harris has currently written 10 books and several short stories comprising the Sookie Stackhouse series. The first one, Dead Until Dark, was originally published in May of 2001. In 2008, HBO adapted this first book into the television series True Blood and it has since been followed by 4 more seasons and counting. The Sookie Stackhouse series is one I would have never dreamed of picking up before the premiere of True Blood on HBO.  In its tiny paperback incarnation, Dead Until Dark looks like just another tacky romance novel and if you’ve seen the television show you could assume it might be.

For Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse, the world was never quite the same for her as it was for her neighbors and classmates.  She was born telepathic but was raised to believe she had an unnamed disability and was treated like an outcast by her small community of Bon Temps, Louisiana. When the “Great Revelation” reveals that Vampires are not myth and legend but in fact real life, Sookie’s world gradually starts to change. Not only are the vampires real in Sookie’s world, but so are werewolves, witches, goblins, fairies, and shape-shifters. Once her disability is deemed a talent by the supernatural community, she embarks on a series of adventures.  These adventures make up the ten Sookie Stackhouse novels. The series takes Sookie to some unusual destinations and puts her in some very unusual situations. One of the most endearing aspects of this series is that Ms. Harris chooses not to ignore Hurricane Katrina and its impact on Louisiana. Starting with the 7th book in the series, All Together Dead, Hurricane Katrina becomes an event with a lingering domino effect on the human and supernatural communities, which triggers various plot lines and sub-plots in the following novels.

Although I enjoy the True Blood television series, it has diverged greatly from the books Charlaine Harris wrote, robbing the characters of their genuine appeal and authenticity. These novels contain engaging characters, like Sookie herself who is brave, kind, and generous. Or the Viking vampire Eric Northman, who is calculating, handsome, and frank.  If I could love any vampire, it would be Eric Northman.

This is a charming and addictive series of mysteries with a core that is far more human and real than it would first appear. –Amanda


Entry filed under: Amanda's reviews, Genres, Mystery.

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