Dead Until Dark
Author Charlaine Harris
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date May 1, 2001
Pages 292 (Hardcover)
ISBN ISBN 0-441-00853-4
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Dead Until Dark is the first book in Award-winning author Charlaine Harris' New York Times bestselling series "The Southern Vampire Mysteries", also known as the "Sookie Stackhouse novels", and as of recent, the "True Blood novels". The series of books in which the HBO original series True Blood is based, Dead Until Dark is the first of thirteen novels in the The Southern Vampire Mysteries collection. In this first installment, the author introduces the character of Sookie Stackhouse, a young telepathic waitress from the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and her world, an alternate history where vampires, shapeshifters and other supernatural beings coexist with humans. In Dead Until Dark, Sookie begins a romantic entanglement with her vampire neighbor and is faced with a series of murders in town.

—First Line


In Dead Until Dark Sookie Stackhouse is a telepath who lives in a world where vampires have come out to the public and become legal citizens since the Japanese developed a synthetic blood. True Blood makes it possible for vampires to live in the open without the need to hunt humans for sustenance. Sookie lives with her grandmother Adele Stackhouse and has an older brother Jason.

Sookie falls in love with a vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill Compton. Amazingly, vampires' minds are 'silent' to Sookie, which is heaven for her as human minds are difficult to shut out and bombard her constantly with their thoughts. In his first visit, Sookie saves him from the Rattrays (vampire drainers), and Bill returns the favor the next day when the Rattrays attack Sookie.

In the meantime, there are several murders in Bon Temps, and people believe that Bill is behind the murders because many of the bodies have fang marks. The Bon Temps police suspect Sookie's brother Jason and arrest him because he has been romantically linked to two of the victims. Sookie wants to help her brother and asks Bill to take her to a vampire bar called Fangtasia in nearby Shreveport.

Fangtasia is owned by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff who is much older and more powerful than Bill. Eric soon discovers that Sookie can be useful and orders Bill to have her use her telepathic ability to determine the identity of the person who has been stealing from his bar. Sookie finds out that Eric's partner, Longshadow (vampire), has been stealing the money and she almost gets killed in the process. Eric saves Sookie's life by staking Long Shadow when he attacks her.

Back in Bon Temps, Sookie finds her grandmother Adele slaughtered in the kitchen.

Bill, concerned with Eric's power over him and Sookie, decides to improve his own position within their vampire hierarchy. He asks Bubba, a dim-witted vampire, to protect Sookie while he is gone.

Sookie discovers that her boss, Sam is a shape-shifter when she lets a stray dog sleep beside her and finds a naked Sam in the morning.

While Bill is gone, Sookie discovers that the murderer is her brother's friend Rene Lenier. He almost kills her, but she fights back. Badly injured, Sookie wakes up in the hospital and finds Bill by her side. Bill tells Sookie that he has become his area's investigator, working under Eric.


Major Characters

  • Sookie Stackhouse:Human, main character. She works at Merlotte's (local bar) in Bon Temps.  
  • Bill Compton: First vampire in Bon Temps and Sookie's boyfriend. Bill is trying to mainstream (A vampire who is trying to live among humans and live as humans do or at least live in harmony with them.)
  • Sam Merlotte: Shapeshifter and owner of Merlotte's.

Recurring Characters

  • Jason Stackhouse: Human and Sookie's brother. Addicted to sex and frequent murder suspect.
  • Arlene Fowler: Human and waitress at Merlotte's whose been married several times. Rene's fiance.
  • Andy Bellefleur: Human and an insecure detective that feels he should be regarded with more respect. He is also a drunk.
  • Eric Northman: Vampire sheriff of Area 5. Owner of Fangtasia, bar in Shreveport.
  • Pam: Vampire and Eric's second in command and co-owner of Fangtasia.
  • Terry Bellefleur: Human and Andy's second cousin. Stand in cook and bartender at Merlotte's.

Non-Recurring characters

  • Adele Stackhouse: Human and Sookie's grandmother.
  • Malcom, Diane and Liam: Vampires who do not want to mainstream. They scare the people of Bon Temps, especially Sookie.
  • Rene Lenier: Human and Jason Stackhouse's friend.
  • Dawn Green: Human, barmaid of Merlotte's and a fangbanger. She casually dates Jason Stackhouse..
  • Lafayette ReynoldsHuman, cook at Merlotte's.

Variant Covers


Audiobooks are narrated by speaker Johanna Parker.

Differences between the book and TV show

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