All Together Dead (2007) – Charlaine Harris
Vampires not only exist, but thanks to the invention of synthetic blood by a Japanese biotech firm, they have come out publicly and are now a
part of society. Welcome to the world of Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series. Set in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, the series follows a beautiful young waitress named Sookie Stackhouse who also happens to be a telepath. Whether a blessing or a curse, her power to read people’s minds had left her as a bit of a social outcast in the small town until she met Bill Compton, Vampire. Bill, who briefly became Sookie’s vampire boyfriend, was her doorway into the world of the supernatural. Vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches, wizards, fairies and a host of other “Supes” now feature in her life, many of them vying for her affections.
The seventh book in the series is “All Together Dead” and this edition finds Sookie hired by the Vampire Queen of Louisiana to help with an upcoming national vampire convention in Rhodes, Michigan. The Queen is to go on trial at the convention (read book six) and she needs Sookie to read the minds of any humans involved in order to help her win.
The book follows Sookie’s preparations for this trip and her excitement about it. She’s rarely traveled outside of Louisiana and this is the farthest north she’s ever been. The reader also finds themselves immersed in the young telepath’s complex love life. Sookie never had much luck with love before she met Vampire Bill, mostly because being a mind reader makes it hard to date. Supernatural beings, however, are generally either unreadable or at least much harder to read by her powers, so Sookie has found herself naturally attracted to men from that world. Of course it helps that her beauty, charm and the added mystery of her power, make her highly attractive to the supes as well. Now Sookie has to deal with her mixed feelings about all the different suitors in her life. Chief among her sources of conflict are Eric, the Vampire Sheriff in charge of her region of Louisiana and Quinn, a weretiger “celebrity” in the supernatural community.
Charlaine Harris has done an excellent job creating a realistically complex world for her characters to inhabit over the course of the series. “All Together Dead” builds on the foundation of the other books not only with new characters, but also more in-depth looks at many of the established favorites. Harris writes the books from Sookie’s perspective which not only allows the reader to learn about the supernatural world as she does, but it also helps the reader understand Sookie better. Well read, but not well educated, Sookie’s sometimes naïve way of looking at things is often a humorous relief during the more serious moments in the book.
Don’t start your journey into Harris’s world of Southern hospitality and the supernatural with “All Together Dead”. You need to go back to the beginning with “Dead Until Dark” the first in the series. If you’re already familiar with the Southern Vampire series, then you won’t be disappointed. New romance, new mysteries, and as always, something new from Harris’s bag of supernatural beings, “All Together Dead” has it all. Check it out.