I am a big fan of the HBO vampire series "True Blood." When I heard that it was all based on Charlaine Harris's "Sookie Stackhouse" series, I knew I had to check out the books. Thankfully, my friend Courtney was several steps ahead of me and kindly allowed me to borrow the first four. Dead Until Dark opens in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Vampires have recently come out of the closet and are openly living among humans. With the Japanese invention of bottled synthetic blood, they can even survive without draining too many of the not yet undead. Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress at the neighborhood bar, has the gift of telepathy - which has rendered her somewhat of an outcast among the locals, but makes her very popular with the vampires. Coincidentally (or not), several of the local women have been found strangled to death in their homes. The link among them seems to be that they all enjoyed the company of vampires, as well as of Sookie's brother, Jason. The writing in this novel is absolutely horrendous. The TV show tracks the book pretty closely, which tells me that Harris has clearly developed some interesting characters and great plot arcs. But, it also tells me that the television writers have worked a lot of magic, because the suspense and shock of certain revelations on TV, simply fall flat in the book. I will continue with this series because I am interested to see the differences from the show, and because once I start a series, I find it hard to let it go. But, unless you are obsessed with vampire novels, or a big fan of "True Blood" that wants more of Sookie, Bill, and Eric until the new season begins, I would stay far far away from this book.