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-- Rhi


10.06.2008

Spotlight: Southern Vampire Mysteries

In the past year or so several authors have had their book series made into a television series. This fall HBO debuted True Blood, based upon the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. The books are told from the perspective of Sookie Stackhouse, a young waitress who can hear the thoughts of people around her. Such a format does not always translate well into television so the show's creator, Alan Ball of Six Feet Under fame, has taken some creative liberties with adding scenes and situations for other characters within the series. As with any HBO show you can expect that this one has the nudity, language and violence you won't get on regular cable. You can view the show's official trailer here on YouTube.

I've been checking out the reactions of fans who have already read the books and they seem to be quite mixed. I've heard some complaints about the graphicness of the nudity and sex scenes. For some these could feel a little gratuitous. Other complaints have regarded making smaller characters from the books more important than they were previously and even how Sookie is pronounced! But love it or hate it, the show has wide appeal and has already been picked up for a second season.

I, personally, first became aware of the show through its exceptional viral marketing campaign (for more on that please read this article). When author Patricia Briggs received the first clue about the site she posted about it on her blog in hopes her fans could help her figure out the mystery. Needless to say the marketing had the desired effect. It got people curious and invested in the outcome. When the air date of September 7th rolled around I was chomping at the bit to see the first episode.

Having had the books on my wishlist for a couple of years now and never gotten down to buying them all so I could start reading I felt a bit guilty. Fortunately the show makes it easy to ease into the world Harris created and (no pun intended) be sucked in deep. The third episode hadn't even aired yet and I had ordered the first two books. I think the show is here to stay when other urban fantasy novels-turned-television-shows, like Lifetime's Bloodties and SciFi's Dresden Files, have not made it. At this time HBO is not putting the episodes on iTunes to be purchased until after the season finishes. Those looking for a legal way to watch them without subscribing to HBO may be stuck waiting until then.

In the meantime get your fan-fix by checking out some True Blood fan sites.

http://www.truebloodfansite.com/
http://true-blood.tv/
http://true-blood.net/
http://www.southernvampires.com/
http://www.fangbangers.com/
http://www.trueblood.fan-sites.org/

Or, of course, you can purchase the books and read them!

Please note that the following descriptions of each novel's plot could be VERY spoilerific to watchers of the show who haven't read them.

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Dead Until Dark #1
Paperback (ACE BOOKS, 292 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441008534
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.

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Living Dead in Dallas #2
Paperback (ACE BOOKS, 291 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441009239
When a vampire asks Sookie Stackhouse to use her telepathic skills to find another missing vampire, she agrees under one condition: the bloodsuckers must promise to let the humans go unharmed.

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Club Dead #3
Paperback (ACE BOOKS, 258 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441010512
Sookie's boyfriend has been very distant-in another state, distant. Now she's off to Mississippi to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead-a little haunt where the vampire elite go to chill out. But when she finally finds Bill-caught in an act of betrayal-she's not sure whether to save him...or sharpen some stakes.


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Dead to the World #4
Paperback (ACE BOOKS, 320 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441012183
When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire--but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.

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Dead as a Doornail #5
Paperback (ACE, 320 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441013333
When Sookie's brother Jason's eyes start to change, she knows he's about to turn into a were-panther for the first time. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population-and Jason's new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who's behind the attacks, unless the killer decides to find her first.


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Definitely Dead #6
Paperback (ACE, 352 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441014917
Spiked with a frothy fusion of romance, mystery, and fantasy, this bestselling series sends the supernaturally gifted cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse to New Orleans, where she has to deal with the legacy of one of her own family and a host of potentially dangerous characters.

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All Together Dead #7
Paperback (ACE, 352 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441015816
Betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse must now not only deal with a possible new man in her life-the oh-so-handsome shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with a long-planned vampire summit. With her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans, the local vampire queen is vulnerable to those hungry for a takeover. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she'll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.

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From Dead to Worse #8
Paperback* (ACE, 336 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0441017010
After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the manmade explosion at the vampire summit, everyone—human and otherwise—is stressed, including Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who is trying to cope with the fact that her boyfriend Quinn has gone missing.It’s clear that things are changing—whether the weres and vamps of her corner of Louisiana like it or not. And Sookie—Friend to the Pack and blood-bonded to Eric Northman, leader of the local vampire community—is caught up in the changes.In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death, and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood finished flowing, her world will be forever altered.
*Available March 2009, Currently available in Hardback

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