Review: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Posted June 18, 2014 by Jessica in Jessica, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 86 Comments

Review: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #2
Published by ACE
Published on: March 26 2002
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 291
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Sookie Stackhouse likes living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and she likes working as a cocktail waitress at Merlotte's. But she is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face-to-face with a beastly creature which gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it).

The point is: the vampires saved her life. So when one of her bloodsuckers asks for a favour, she obliges-and soon Sookie's in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She's supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed. But that's easier than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly...


Most people who have read this series, at the very least, like portions of it.

They like the first 3 or 4 installments, but then they get bored, or after the 3rd or 4th book, the series really started picking up for them.

I’m weird, I guess. I pretty much liked the entire series right up until the end. Sure, how much I liked each book varied—for example, except for the last book, this one is my LEAST favorite, but that’s not uncommon, what with this being book 2 and all. It definitely has its good moments (like when Eric gets shot and that thing happens that is hilarious and awesome), but overall . . . MEH.

Living Dead in Dallas begins with Sookie finding a dead Lafayette in Andy Bellefleur’s car in the parking lot of Merlotte’s one morning. What do you mean, “a dead Lafayette?!” you ask. “Lafayette can’t be DEAD, he’s still going strong in season 6 of True Blood!”

Let me introduce you to a little game I like to play called “Same and NOT the Same.”

SO. Andy’s been drinking, ’cause you know, being a cop is hard, and Sookie has to call Portia (his sister) to come and pick him up.

Leaving his car at the bar.

For persons unknown to leave a dead body in.

But why would someone want to kill Lafayette? He’s so much fun!

Yeah, well, he’s also got a BIG mouth. A BIG mouth that he’s apparently been running about a house he’d been going to, “where there were all kinds of sex hi-jinks going on,” and someone didn’t like that. Someone didn’t like that a lot.

So poor Sook’s stressed out about that.

Then when she gets home from work that night, Bill tells her that she’s been “summoned” by Eric.

Better and better.

The next evening they drive to Shreveport, where Eric informs her that she’s been LOANED out to vampires in Dallas who could use some assistance of the telepathic variety. AND while Sookie’s understandably upset about Eric’s high-handedness, there’s really not much she can do about it—she did, after all, agree to help him any time he wanted, in exchange for turning over human culprits to human authorities, rather than taking matters into their vampire hands. I suppose it’s her own fault for not specifying she wouldn’t stand for being loaned out. You live and you learn, I guess.

Freakin’ vampires.

And that is how Bill and Sookie wind up on an airplane bound for Dallas.

I’ve already said that this is probably my least favorite book in the series until you get to end, and that is b/c . . . while I don’t have a problem with kink, I do have a problem with gross, middle-aged, pervy kink. And this group is just . . . blech.

I also have a problem with centuries-old, pedophile vampires. Actually, I have a problem with ALL types of pedophiles, so even contemplating one that has been doing what they do FOR SO FREAKING LONG<——well, clearly, it’s upsetting.

AND all of the Bill and Sookie relationship angst from book 1 grows and flourishes in book 2 (and relationship angst is not something you want growing and flourishing). This is also the book where you get your first glimpse of how self-absorbed Bill can be.

This book is also where you get your first glimpse of how attentive someone-not-Bill can be.


And that’s really the only sell point for this installment. Well, that, and it’s necessary to read this one to get to the good ones. BOTTOMLINE—too much perv for one book. Read it b/c you can’t move forward without it, but go into it knowing that there is some seriously disturbing stuff going on. That is all.

Sookie Stackhouse Series:

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.


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86 responses to “Review: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

  1. I tried to get into the Sookie series and just couldn’t do it. I read the first two books and didn’t like Harris’s writing style. Part of me has thought about going back and trying them on audio, but my list is too long right now. I tried watching True Blood and couldn’t do that either. *hangs head in shame* Maybe one day, I’ll try again.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Shield of Winter Audiobook by Nalini Singh (review) #Audiobooks

    • They’re not for everyone. Nothing for it sometimes 😉 I really liked it, but I have TONS of friends who didn’t like it either, and yeah, sometimes the TBR pile is just too darn big to mess around with things that you’re pretty MEH about. No shame in that 😉

  2. I almost didn’t continue with this series because book 1 did nothing for me. I did not like Bill at all, in fact, book 1 had me rooting for Sam. But then my friend, who does not read all that much, got hooked and begged me to continue with the series, and for me it did pick up after book 3 or so. 😉 I barely remember this one, but I do miss old school Sookie.
    Kate recently posted…Short and Tweet Review of Death Proof: A Screenplay

  3. I’m exactly like you, I actually loved the entire series BUT I haven’t read the last book yet. I can’t bring myself to do it.

    I liked this book, too!!

    I don’t even remember being bothered by any pedophile silliness, either. I must give a pass on vamps to that kind behavior – their just weirdos anyways. NOW, in a contemporary, I’m ripping the book to pieces. But with vamps, they all live forever soooo…

    Unless I’m completely missing what the heck you’re talking about (which is entirely possible!) and it’s a non-supe you’re talking about then we’re cutting off body parts!!! 😉
    Kristin recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #37: We’ve Got Some Beautiful YA Covers Finally!

    • No, it was that super old vamp that was hangin’ the anti-vampire church, and was going to meet the sun on live TV. And I don’t want to think about that issue enough to figure out if I feel differently when it’s humans or supes. I’m just sticking to I don’t like it. But YAY! for finding someone else who liked the series all the way through 😉

    • Yeah. I think that’s why I started reading these too. When I heard about the TV series, and then that it was based on an UF series, I was like “Oooohhh?” and I got them. And really liked them. So it worked out 😉

    • Pervy vamps DO suck. After the 2nd book and up until 11 or 12, the in between books were all different levels of LOVE. I really loved 4,7, and 9, but I thought the rest were great too. *shrugs*

  4. Eeeep! I get to read a review of yours 😀 Haha. I’m glad that you’ve liked this series so much. I enjoyed the first book a lot, but as you, ha! The 2nd book is just.. I DNF-d. LAFAYETTE IS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER WITH JASON STACKHOUSE AND PAM!!! PAAAAAMMM 😀 Haha. That’s on the show though (which I stopped watching after S5 -.-) “I also have a problem with centuries-old, pedophile vampires.” LOOOOOL. Same 😀 Self-absorbed Bill? 🙁 Hmmm. Ohkay, I didn’t reach that part I guess 😀 I can’t wait for the rest of your reviews, lovely 🙂
    Siiri recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #16

    • PAM IS GOING TO BE AT DRAGON CON!!! And yeah, Bill sucks. If you kept reading this one, you’d have gotten to the part when they’re in Dallas, after Sookie escaped from the anti-vamp churchy people, when those same anti-vamp churchy people shoot-up the main vamp’s house. Eric dives on top of her to protect her, and gets shot several times in the process, and Bill just leaves. He runs out the door to hunt down the humans, and doesn’t even check to see if Sookie’s alive.<------RAT bastard.

  5. I think I made it to book 3 before I quit this series. I wanted to like it but found myself bored and annoyed by Sookie…LOL I actually bought the boxed set right before the TV series started and decided to watch instead after reading the first few books…I ended up giving away the set as a giveaway on my blog. I’m not sure I’ll give them another chance (maybe when I’ve tackled my large TBR pile), I think this is one of those series you either love or hate and honestly it just wasn’t for me.
    Lori recently posted…Review: Legally Undead by Margo Bond Collins

    • Well, I bet you made somebody happy, LOL. And yeah, I know a lot of people just couldn’t handle Sookie, and she will never be one of my favorite MCs, but I could tolerate her well enough, and I REALLY liked a lot of the other characters, so for me it worked.

  6. PEDOPHILES! Ok that just gets my freaking burr up bad right there. I hate when it comes into play because then immediately you get emotionally worked up. Makes me wonder …but yeah its there, it happens so of course its going to come into play in the books

    but you know I’ve seen it more in UF books then in other SFF books wonder why that is?
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin

      • Well I just hate thinking that normal pedophiles live a long life probably doing that to however many children but then you throw in a long lived nasty freaking immortal who has been doing it for MILLENIA and that just right there rips into my guts because then its like hey – they are immortal so that kid stands no chance and they’ve then been doing that for countless lifetimes to perfect their art of disgust and torment. That sends my gut into a reel of stress that I hate thinking about even while I type this.
        Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Fan Art Up! (10) – Studio Ghibli & Tough Traveling

      • EXACTLY. They live longer, they’re stronger, there’s no protection from it, unless all the centuries finally begin to weigh them down enough that they want to kill themselves . . . ugh, just ugh.

  7. LOL Excellent review, Jessica. I haven’t read past #4 in this series…but I haven’t given up. Maybe I did get a little bored but mostly I just got caught up in so many other series. I WILL have to get back to this series someday since you think it gets better. 😉

    • Seriously, Brandee. IMO books 4-9 friggin’ ROCK. I think the whole series is worth it for those books. I hope you do get back to them one day, b/c they really are great. And thanks!

    • Yeah, I had to stop watching the show too (and for more reasons than just Eric). I loved him too, and it made me really sad when he started turning into a superjerk in the books. But I kept reading . . . like you. Except I did read the last one . . .

  8. Stephanie H.

    I agree, this was far from my favorite installment, but it did have one of my favorite scenes from the whole series, when Sookie asks Eric help investigate the party, the conversation they have when. He shows up, and of course his outfit!

    • Yeah, that was a lot of fun. AND, like I already mentioned, I loved it when he tricked her into sucking out the bullets from his chest. He’s so mischievous in this book, LOL. LOVE him.

    • Yeah, I really wanted things to work out with Quinn or Alcide too. Until Alcide just showed up in her bed that time, which was pretty obnoxious, but I never quit hoping for Quinn. Sigh . . .

      Thanks, Sharon. An yes, that was especially irksome.

  9. AAAAAAND I still haven’t started this series yet! Gah, Jessica, you should try reading Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive too so we can get sucked into 1000 pages of awesomeness that will leave us not wanting to read anything else for days 😉 In any case, this sounds like this suffered much from the “middle book syndrome” despite being the third book in a series. Reading through the comments and it seems like this book didn’t work so well with them either o.O
    Faye recently posted…ARC Review: Come Back to Me by Mila Gray

    • LOL, Faye. It is going to be a LONG time before I’m able to squeeze in a 1000 page book. But I will eventually. I think I already have BOTH books. And yeah, this book had issues. Thankfully, those issues were resolved fairly quickly. Overall though—LOVE this series.

  10. I read this book so many years back I don’t remember the details. I know, my memory sucks.
    I like this series, but as you said in your review I liked some books more than others. The only book I haven’t read and I’m not planning to read is last book. I already gave Sookie the HEA I wanted and not the one Harris gave her.
    BookaholicCat recently posted…CATS-ilicious Thursdays

    • You and everybody else, LOL. GAH. Why? Part of the reason I wanted to reread these books a bit after the fact was that Harris said she always intended for the series to end that way, so I wanted to see if there really were hints all along. And . . . there kind of are . . . I’m not sure what to do with that yet, but they are definitely there.

  11. For some reason, this never came across as my kind of read, but I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it Jessica! I think it might just be a bit to romance-focused for me; but if I’m in the mood for something like that, I’ll definitely keep this in mind. Thanks for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe recently posted…The Half Life of Molly Pierce

  12. Like you, I enjoyed the whole series…some books more than others but as a whole it was fun. I actually was up-to-date on reading the series when True Blood came out and had a little bit of confusion over Lafayette…it was all “isn’t he dead?” That’s when I realized that the show was going to really deviate from the books and have been really good at seeing them as two completely different things.
    Traci recently posted…Review ~ Scorched ~ Erica Hayes

    • Yeah, see I didn’t start reading the series until I found out the show was coming. I think I had read them all, up to that point, but by the time the show started (b/c they advertised for MONTHS), it was all still really fresh, and therefore (I guess) more malleable in my mind. Obviously, I expected him to die on the show, but when he didn’t, it didn’t bother me that much. I didn’t quit until the Lilith nonsense 😉

  13. Yeah, I was seriously grossed out by the perv factor too, but really enjoyed the novel overall. I’m with you on liking the series, sometimes more, sometimes less, right until the last one there which was so totally disappointing (we’ve talked about it before, won’t get into my whining again, lol).

    But I think the first like 11 novels at least in the series are very worth reading, they were fun and interesting 😀
    Livia recently posted…Sandstorm Heart by Liv Olteano

    • Me too! Yay! There’s like FOUR of us now, LOL. Seriously though, books 4-9 IMO are fantastic, and yeah, things started to go downhill for me in 10 and 11 (b/c youknowwho was turning into a youknowwhat), but they were still really good books.

      • Lol! God, yes, the turning into a youknowwhat sucked! But up until #9, I thought they were kickass, I seriously did! Maybe I didn’t totally love the whole series until the end, but hey, there were awesome reading along the way.

        I’m still PO-ed at CH, but someday I hope to move on and be able to try some of her newer stuff :))

      • They were! And I had to stop my reread (in favor of other more pressing rereads, LOL) right before the hotel on fire one, which is my FAVORITE. Really wanting to get back to it now . . . But I CAN’T. Sign.

  14. Oddly enough I liked the first 8 books and this was one of them (I think)…although if it had the creepy/disgusting pedophile, it would have turned me off. However, I liked it enough to keep reading but then somewhere I kinda lost interest. Maybe I should re-read this series because I’ve totally evolved as a reader, you know? But as always you deliver kick-ass reviews and I mean, ALWAYS! ♥
    Cristina recently posted…At Your Beck & Call by Jane Harvey-Berrick

    • Thanks, dollface! And yeah, it’d be interesting to see what you think about them now. I was rereading them, and had to take a break (that has turned out to be MUCH longer than I anticipated), but I still want to finish it when I have the time.

  15. Yes it’s true, why killing him? You know after reading the books, when I read saw the TV show I was totally lost, it’s really different. I think that’s why I stopped the TV show too after 2 seasons.

    • Lucky you! I would not try to wake myself up from dreams of Eric. And yeah, in both the books and the TV series, he is WAY better. It was my love of him that made the last few books so difficult—he just became such an ASS 🙁

  16. I’m not sure but I think the third book is the last I’ve read of this series…when did Eric lost his memory again? Ha, it’s been so long I don’t even remember! I meant to continue on but I got lured away by other books. I remember the dead Lafayette haha, I wondered if they made him live because the fans like him so much…I know I did. Anyway, I’m really babbling here lol. Awesome review Jessica! <3
    Amir recently posted…Gushing and Ravings: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

    • 4! Book 4 is where Eric loses him memory. And I loved TV Lafayette too. BUT I hope you pick up the series again eventually b/c (IMO) book 4 is where the series starts getting REALLY good. Thanks, Amir!

    • LOL! I do that too, but for me it’s not aversion. Something will happen to get me pumped about an unread book, but then I don’t read it immediately (I just put it in the pile), and by the time I look at it again, I’m not longer pumped. We both just need to do iiiiiittttttt 😉

  17. I wanted to like this series. The premise sounded so cute and it was quite original when the first in series was released. Allow me to be honest. A large part of it was that I was drawn in by the cover.
    I didn’t end up liking the series at all. I don’t mind a little kinky business, but the romance portion was awkward in more than a few ways for me.
    Stephanie recently posted…Review: The Monster Within by Kelly Hashway

  18. I’ve just read your “Re-reads” topic and this series is one I’ve re-read more than once! These books are a lot of fun and such quick reads! I think I’ve read the first 5-6 books about 3 times each! Then I started losing a bit of interesting in them, and by book 9 I wasn’t as keen on them as I was. The last book? I was entirely unhappy about it! =( (Team Eric for the win, no surprises my fave book is #4!).

    This one is the book that made me dislike Bill as a love interest and as a character, and part of the book was as you said quite disturbing. Plenty of humour to make you not dwell on the worse parts of it, thankfully!
    Pili recently posted…Showcase Sunday #38!

    • I was entirely unhappy with book 13 too, but man, books 4-9 are my FAVORITE. Actually my favorite is whichever one the vampire hotel burns down in, but that whole run of Sookie is 4-5 stars each for me. LOVE it. And yeah, I was Team Eric even after he started turning into a jerk, and I kept holding out hope that Harris would reign it back in, but you know how that went (and book 4 was my first 5 star in the series 😉 ).

      And I agree–yes, there was plenty of humor to distract while I was reading, but I’ve always been one of those people who (especially when reviewing) goes back and dwells. This was either the 3rd or 4th time I’ve read this book, and it’s also the first time I gave it less than 4 stars (b/c I started thinking about it while writing this review, and this time there was no humor to distract me). I didn’t realize how much I disliked Bill until I wrote a review either. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Anyway, always happy to meet another Sookie fan.