Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Gothic Vampire Series)

Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Gothic Vampire Series)

by Charlaine Harris

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book, Dead As A Doornail by Charlaine Harris.

Have you looked at what’s hot on Amazon lately? Let me read you a couple of titles. Incubus Dreams. Dead Witch Walking. Undead and Unreturnable. Every Which Way But Dead. The Good the Bad and the Undead. And Undead and Unwed. And something called Why do Men have Nipples, but we’re not talking about that today.

If you see a trend, so do I. All those books and quite a few others, share a theme — women and the dead creatures they love. You can look back to the heaving bosoms of the Victorians and the rise of Count Dracula, which Bram Stoker wrote in 1897. Or you can thank Anne Rice. I read Interview with the Vampire when I was about 12 years old, and I remember thinking, ‘Geez, these guys are a bunch of self obsessed, depressed, moping losers!’ Then of course, I got a little older and suddenly no — they were sensitive tortured and beautiful souls. Note to self — listen to the kid.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer of course took some time off from slaying and had a couple of vampire boyfriends — who could resist all that moping and brooding? And now it’s practically a genre all to itself. Sometimes the women are dedicated to fighting evil and the forces of darkness, and sometimes they wake up and find themselves one of the undead — and the heaving bosoms among other things are in ready supply. Writer Laurel Hamilton is particularly guilty of this — her heroines are so fabulous, so gorgeous, so irresistible, and she goes on at great length. Page after page.  With animal, vegetable and mineral. We get it Laurel, now how about some plot? My take is that women have finally giving up on rescuing the real men they’re involved with; it never works and men rarely appreciate the impulse. Vampires, though — if you can get a room temperature demon to behave, that’s pretty impressive!  And when he says he’ll love you forever he means it literally.

I’ve been reading Charlaine Harris’ novels about psychic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse for a couple of years now, and while she’s on the ‘women who love vampires’ shelf, she puts a refreshing spin on it. Plus she’s a whole lot of fun to read. Her Sookie reads minds, and can’t control it very well, which puts a big damper on her love life — would you want to know everything your date is thinking? In her universe, vampires have ‘come out’ and are grudgingly accepted. The Japanese developed synthetic blood, which her bar handily stocks. She lives in the middle of nowhere, Louisiana, which by the third or so books seems more like Grand Central Station for supernatural creatures. Sookie is torn between her first love, Bill, kind and polite Civil War vet and the mysterious and powerful Eric, former Viking warrior, current bad news and head vampire in town. One guess as to how that’s going to turn out. Sookie likes the dead guys because she can’t read their mind, she appreciates the quiet. Harris has another book planned in the series, and she consistently combines the reality of very small town life in the bayous of central Louisiana with the supernatural creatures that Sookie encounters. I’m curious to see whether Katrina or Rita — or FEMA for that matter — make an appearance in Sookie’s next adventure.

I’m Kim Alexander, with Dead as A Doornail by Charlaine Harris on Fiction Nation.


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