The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
SookieStackhouseNumberOneCover 2363.jpg

The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, also known as the "Southern Vampire" series, are a series of best-selling novels by Charlaine Harris. They take place mostly in and around the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and are written with a distinctly old school Southern Flavor, including some of the consequences of living in that part of the country.

The main character, and the one from whose point of view the stories are told, is Sookie Stackhouse, a very pretty waitress at a popular bar in town, who is also a telepath. Sookie's world is one where, two years before the first book's story begins, the Vampires came forward, introduced themselves to the world at large, and began walking among regular people. Sookie's boyfriend Bill is a vampire, so chosen because she cannot read his mind and thus finds it comforting to be around him. Due to the vampires turning up in Bon Temps, murder soon follows, and Sookie's relationship with Bill and the politics thereof causes her to get mixed up in solving the mysteries.

An HBO series called True Blood has been made based on the books.

Books and short stories in the series are as follows:
  • Dead Until Dark (May 2001)
  • Living Dead in Dallas (March 2002)
  • Club Dead (May 2003)
  • Dead to the World (May 2004)
      • "Fairy Dust" in Powers of Detection (October 2004)—Introduction of Claudine's brother Claude, and posthumous introduction of their sister Claudette.
      • "Dancers in the Dark", a novella in Night's Edge (October 2004) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)—Introduction of Sean and Layla, later seen briefly in All Together Dead.[7]
      • "Dracula Night" in Many Bloody Returns (September 2007)
  • Dead as a Doornail (May 2005)
      • "One Word Answer" in Bite (2005)—Introduction of Hadley's death & Mr. Cataliades, Waldo, and Sophie-Anne Leclerq.[10]
  • Definitely Dead (May 2006)
      • "Tacky" in My Big, Fat Supernatural Wedding (2006) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)—Introduction of vampires Dahlia and Taffy, and their husbands Todd and Don. (Dahlia is later seen alone in All Together Dead and with Taffy in "Dahila Underground" and "Bacon".)
  • All Together Dead (May 2007)
      • "Dahlia Underground" in Crimes by Moonlight (April 2010) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)— Features the vampires Dahlia and Taffy
      • "Lucky" in Unusual Suspects (December 2008)
  • From Dead to Worse (May 2008)
      • "Gift Wrap" in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (October 2008)
  • Dead and Gone (May 2009)
      • "Bacon" in Strange Brew (July 2009) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)
      • "The Britlingens Go To Hell" in Must Love Hellhounds (September 2009) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)—The Britlingens were previously introduced in All Together Dead.
    • A Touch of Dead (October 2009) (a compilation of some of the Sookie-universe short stories: "Fairy Dust", "One Word Answer", "Dracula Night", "Lucky", and "Giftwrap".)
  • Dead in the Family (May 2010)
      • "Two Blondes" in Death's Excellent Vacation (August 2010)
  • Dead Reckoning (May 2011)
  • Deadlocked (May 2012)

Tropes used in The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries include:
  • Accidental Marriage -- In book 9 Eric arranges for Sookie to present him with a knife used for weddings in front of the Nevada manager. This in vampire terminology seems to mean that he and Sookie are married. Sookie is not told about what this means ahead of time.
  • Action Girl - Sookie. (How badass is killing someone with a garden tool or breaking someone's knee with a baseball bat just to get them to back off?) Pam. Most vampire women, the demon girls...
  • All of the Other Reindeer - The rest of Bon Temps, despite being aware that such things as vampires exist, largely disbelieve in Sookie's telepathy, and think she's just weird, crazy, or stupid. Those who do believe think she's a freak and treat her only with civility because it's impolite to do otherwise...or because her talent is useful to them.
    • Justified. The official word on vampires is that it's caused by some kind of disease - Sookie herself believed that in the first book before she gets a better understanding - and her "disability" makes her behavior genuinely atypical and erratic. It's more a case of most people half-believing it but preferring considering her crazy to knowing they have no privacy in her presence.
  • Anyone Can Die - No main characters yet, but as the books go on, supporting cast members are dropping like flies...
  • Arbitrary Skepticism - Vampires exist and are known the world over as such, though they've managed to convince people that it's a medical condition and not supernatural in nature. But even with this knowledge, people don't believe in Sookie's telepathy, or in any of the other supernatural entities roaming the earth.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking - From Dead to the World:

"...on Debbie Pelt, whom I despised because she had been cruel to Alcide, insulted me grievously, burned a hole in my favorite wrap and--oh--tried to kill me by proxy. Also she had stupid hair."

  • Badass Normal: Sookie Stackhouse. Though she doesn't have any supernatural abilities beyond the ability to read human thoughts, she believably comes out on top of countless dangerous situations through practicality, resourcefulness, intelligence and a refusal to back down or sit on her hands.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished - Subverted in All Together Dead - many of the preternaturally gorgeous vampires are injured to the point of disfigurement.
    • Sookie herself, a blonde beauty, often gets battered to the point of disfigurement. If not for supernatural methods of healing her, anyway.
    • Heavily subverted with Sookie - being human, even with superhuman healing methods, she's often very badly hurt by the end of the book, spending weeks to months in recovery time.
    • Least we not mention Queen Sophie Anne. Poor poor Sophie Anne...
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy - Bubba is Elvis Presley, albeit a bit dain bramaged because of how he was turned into a vampire.
    • Not to mention how drugged-up his body was beforehand.
    • Also, Alexei Romanov, last tsarevich of the Russian Empire, was turned into a vampire by Eric's maker
  • Berserk Button - Never EVER call Bubba by his real name (or the name of the guy you think he looks like).
  • Blessed with Suck - Sookie's mind reading not only gets her embroiled in vampire, werewolf and faerie politics in turn - exposing her to horrific violence - it also prevents her from forming close relationships with humans, since she can literally hear every thought that passes through their head and it's extremely hard for her to even dampen the effect.
  • Bi the Way - The revelation of both Sophie-Anne and Pam's bisexuality is very offhand, not to mention Amelia.
  • Brother-Sister Incest - You could easily miss it if you weren't paying attention, but Sookie mentions seeing the two fairies who torture her in Dead and Gone having sex. Claudine later reveals that they're brother and sister.
  • Bury Your Gays - Several examples, unfortunately. Lafayette, Adabelle Yancy, Mel, Hadley Stackhouse (who was probably bisexual, but the trope still stands)...
  • Cat Fight - Both played straight and averted, as the people who frequently kick the daylights out of Sookie are either supernatural and consider humans beneath them; or are thugs and badguys whom the reader's supposed to dislike anyway. But occasionally Sookie goes up against another female and holds her own just fine.
    • She just as often goes up against male opponents and holds her own just fine: Charles, Mickey, Murry... and other female characters go up against male characters and win as well.
  • Celebrity Star - Sookie's bodyguard for times when Bill or Eric can't be present to protect her is a famous figure who was turned into a vampire by a fan...but it went poorly, leaving him a bit diminished in mental capacity. Referring to him by the name he had in life is a big no-no, as it upsets him. He is called Bubba to his face, and Sookie usually refers to him in narrative as The Man from Memphis. Readers would recognize him as Elvis Presley.
    • In Dead In The Family, there's Alexei Romanov. Who makes Bubba look incredibly sane and normal. And yet is also a giant Woobie, under the circumstances.
  • Chekhov's Gun - Things Sookie says or sees early in the book end up important later.
    • One comes in the form of a borrowed gun in Dead To The World. Sookie uses it to kill Debbie.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Lorena. Good god, Lorena.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture
  • Costume Porn: Every time Sookie changes clothes, her new outfit is described in loving detail.
  • Country Mouse - Sookie is very much the Fish Out of Water in the big city when the story takes her there.
  • Combo-Platter Powers - Subverted, in that when Sookie gets a powerup from drinking or otherwise ingesting vampire blood, it can last anywhere from hours to weeks. It gives her a weaker version of a vampire's abilities, with none of their weaknesses. And the danger is that it is like taking a drug. Humans tend to feel invincible and act like it; which ends up as a fatal reminder that they are not, in fact, invincible.
  • Dark Action Girl: Lorena in book 3.
  • Death by Sex
    • Played straight - a number of Fangbangers in book 1.
    • Subverted - Sookie's brother survives, but learns the hard way that there's a price for bedhopping.
  • Department of Redundancy Department -

"'He looked baffled; that's what he looked.'"

  • Disappeared Dad - Both Bill and Eric had children who they had to abandon after being turned into vampires. Bill eventually discovers some descendants who he helps out financially, though.
  • Damsel in Distress - Subverted in that the Victim of the Week, which Sookie is usually trying to rescue, is often male. Bill, Jason, Farrell, Eric, Sam...
  • Domino Revelation - Vampires exist so why not shifters, were-creatures, fairies, ghosts, and other odd entities.
  • Elvis Has Left the Planet - A fan who happened to be a vampire was working in the morgue when they brought him in and, well...
  • Emergency Transformation - Vampirism and vampire blood in general.
  • Emotion Eater - Callisto and others of her kind feed on drunkenness and lust.
  • Even the Guys Want Him - Claude, who's okay with this, and Jason Stackhouse, who is okay with it more or less but may not be so crazy about it when he's the object of desire.
  • Everything but the Girl - Eric, after getting his memory back.
  • Evil Feels Good - Sookie frets about not being a good Christian when she reflects on how little she cares about some of the dark things she's had to do since getting involved with the supernaturals.
  • The Fair Folk - Claudine and Claude are both fairies in the supernatural sense. Claudine is, in fact, Sookie's Fairy Godmother. And Sookie's cousin.
  • Fantastic Racism - Vampires consider themselves the best, other supernaturals beneath them, and humans the bottom of the barrel; despite having been human once themselves, some vampires are offended if a human dares speak to them in the manner of an equal. Werewolves and Shape Shifters have friction between them, and have been known to comment on how tacky it is if one sleeps with the other. The shifters also have a justified wariness of humans, who they believe will treat them more like animals than people. The faerie are split decision. Some like humans just fine and find them fun; others find them disgusting.
  • Fetish - There's an entire subculture of people who dig the idea of sleeping with or getting bitten by vampires. Plus, vampires can put the woogie on most humans (Telepaths like Sookie are immune) to get what they want from them. The "Fangbangers" all dress in black and spend time indoors to look like vampires, or attractive to them.
  • First-Person Smartass - Sookie.
  • Half-Human Hybrid - Sookie, her brother Jason and their cousin Hadley are one eighth faerie by way of an affair their grandmother had with a half human/half faerie hybrid. It is implied that the faerie blood flowing through their veins is why Sookie, Jason, and Hadley seem so attractive to supernatural creatures. The fact that both Sookie and Hunter (Hadley's son) are telepathic is due to Mr. Cataliades, what with being friends with their fairy granddaddy, giving his gift of telepathy to all Fintan's ancestors with the essential "spark"
  • Hemo-Erotic
  • Ho Yay - Jason and Hoyt, Jason and Mel. Deliberately on Mel's side, because he's gay.
    • And, In Dead In The Family, Claude and Dermot, two of Sookie's fairy relatives. Claude's actually gay and Dermot is...questionable. They sleep in the same bed at the end of Dead In The Family, albeit with Sookie. The book ends on this mildly incestuous OT3 image.
    • Not forgetting Mustapha and Warren. At the end of Deadlocked, Sookie is literally left "confused" by their open display of affection.
  • Hyper Awareness - several characters, including Sookie herself [particularly as if she's had vampire blood recently].
  • Identical Grandson - Jason Stackhouse's looks and personality are identical to that of his half human/half faerie grandfather's fraternal twin brother, Dermot.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal - Sookie laments her lack of normal life because of her telepathy. She then laments the fact that her life without the supernatural in it would go back to being what passes for normal for her, while her life with the supernatural in it exposes her to horrific violence. And normal for her was pretty lousy, as she can't have a normal relationship since she's a telepath, and everyone she knows thinks she's a freak.
  • Jerkass - Both Sookie's brother Jason, and Crystal.
    • Several of the town residents are Jerk Asses to Sookie specifically.
  • Kill It with Fire - Vampire skin lights up like parchment when touched by flame.
  • Kiss of the Vampire - The Fangbangers seem to really enjoy getting bitten.
  • Law of Conservation of Normality - Sookie may help the vampire population of Louisiana whenever needed, but when they don't need her, she's got to go to work and pay her bills and worry about money like everybody else.
  • Literal-Minded - Bubba.
  • Love Dodecahedron - Sookie is a very desirable woman, and after having vampire blood literally glows. That, plus her telepathy makes her politically desirable for the vampires, but she is the object of romantic affection to Eric, Alcide and Sam besides Bill, at least. Complicated further after she dumps Bill after he cheats on her, she sleeps with a mind-wiped Eric, and gains a new boyfriend in Quinn the weretiger.
    • ... Who she dumps when she figures out he loves his family more. She's with Eric again... for now.
      • Part of her desirability towards vampires is explained when it is revealed that she is part faerie, and faerie blood is highly addictive for vampires.
  • Love Hurts - Sookie is frequently frustrated and upset by Bill's thoughtlessness and lack of consideration. Part of this comes from his vampire nature subsuming his humanity. Part of this comes from the fact that he's been dead since the Civil War and is not quite up to date on how a modern woman prefers to be treated.
    • And part of it comes from finding out that Bill was ordered back to Bon Temps specifically to seduce Sookie so that the Queen could use her telepathy....
  • Mad Love: Lorena and Bill
  • Magical Land: the Another Dimension where fairies are from.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Sookie never had control of her powers until getting with Bill and the other supernaturals. She is pretty much the personification of this trope.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse
    • Sookie was forced to do it to Bill's vampire sire, for whom he unceremoniously dumped Sookie. But it was self defense.
    • Debbie Pelt tried that on Sookie.
    • Crystal's other boyfriend tried it on Sookie's brother Jason.
  • Never One Murder: The Sookie-verse is a very dangerous place.
  • Not with Them for the Money - The Bellefleur family are well-off and have a famous, beautiful mansion. Andy Bellefleur's wife, Halleigh would rather they just lived in a small house together.
  • Our Monsters Are Different
  • Parental Abandonment
    • Sookie's parents were killed when she was small. Murdered, we find out in Dead and Gone.
  • Power Incontinence - None of the telepaths in the series can turn it off, though Sookie has gotten better at shielding.
  • Race For Your Love
    • Averted. Sookie takes off, angry, after Bill does something thoughtless. Bill does not rush after her.
  • Rape Tropes:
    • Attempted Rape - if a vampire is deprived of blood to the point of starvation, he will leap on the first victim he encounters. If the victim is also his preferred sexual partner type, the vampire will seek to have sex with the victim whether the victim is willing or not.
    • Near-Rape Experience - Bill actually started with Sookie but she managed to get through to him, and he stopped. Sookie tries to rationalize this, and not to think about it, by turns.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot - Considering the series is set mainly in Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina had a massive effect on later volumes' politics.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers - Kevin and Kenya started out as such, but do not remain so.
  • Shape Shifter - Sookie's boss Sam is a Shape Shifter whose preferred form is that of a friendly dog. And he's not the only shapeshifter in the series by a longshot.
  • Shout-Out - Anne Rice
    • Dead and Gone opens with an absolutely hilarious parody of "What Not To Wear"
    • Sookie gives Eric the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to watch when he's staying over at her house in Dead to the World.
    • "Dead in the Family" has everyone at the bar sing the theme song to True Blood.
  • Suicide by Sunlight
  • Take That - Rice again. Several vamps (especially those local to New Orleans) express animosity towards Rice for making people expect a certain image of vampires (and contempt for those who consciously try to play to that image)
  • Title Drop:
    • Sookie uses the words "Definitely Dead", in the book with the same name, to describe Hadley´s feelings about Sophie-Anne´s marriage.
    • Dead and Gone is mentioned in the book with the same name.
    • If you read carefully, you'll find one in every book and a few of the short stories, usually said or thought by Sookie herself.
  • The Casanova - Jason
  • The Unmasqued World
  • They Fight Crime - She's a telepathic barmaid! He's a slightly asynchronous vampire! They solve murders!
  • Telepathy - Sookie, Barry the Bellhop, and Sookie's kid cousin Hunter.
  • Too Many Love Interests: Bill, Eric, Sam, Alcide, Calvin, Quinn...Sookie herself has expressed some discomfort with this.
  • Vampires Own Nightclubs: Eric and Pam co-own Fangtasia. Members of Stan Davis's nest own The Bat's Wing.
    • The books actually say that some vampires have tried other things, like all-night dry cleaners' or grocery stores, but that they never took off like the vampire bars did.
  • Viral Marketing - for the TV Adaptation only: http://www.trubeverage.com
  • Xanatos Roulette - Sookie invokes this trope to shoot down Alcide's suggestion that the plot of Dead to the World might be a plan by Eric to get into Sookie's pants. Alcide is suitably chastened.
  • You Sexy Beast - The series is built on this trope, with vampires. There's even a special term for people who like to have sex with vampires: "fangbangers".