I (Patricia) wrote the following review in 2004 soon after the book was published but realized I had not published it here.
After her shift at Merlotte’s one New Year’s Eve, Sookie drives down the dark, lonely roads of Bon Temp, LA on her way home. She is surprised to see a man wearing only jeans running as if in fear for his life. She is even more surprised when she recognizes him. It is Eric, the head vampire of the area, who resides in Shreveport.
Welcome to the world of Sookie Stackhouse, a lady often considered a bit odd by others. Although she takes great pains to hide her ability to read minds, many feel uneasy around her and shy away. However, she cannot read the minds of vampires, a group which has recently made themselves known to the human population and now have acknowledged legal rights. Her first real boyfriend was Bill, a vampire, who besides being terribly handsome and charming, has a mind inaccessible to hers. Sookie finds this most agreeable. Through Bill she has met up with Eric. In the past Eric has called upon her to use her unique talent to help retrieve information from the minds of reluctant humans. Sookie has not necessarily liked doing this, but Eric can be fearfully persuasive.
Now Eric is the vulnerable one. Although Sookie recognizes him, he has no idea who she is. In fact he doesn’t know who he is. His confusion leads him to be fearful at times something that Sookie thought she would ever see in this strong, tall, blonde handsome hunk. She takes him to her house after persuading him that he can trust her. Once he is settled she contacts Pam, his second in command. What Sookie eventually learns is that a coven of powerful witches has appeared in Shreveport. Many in the group are more than human. They are shape shifters who add to their strength by drinking vampire blood. One of the witches placed a curse on Eric when he rebuffed her. Meanwhile Sookie’s attraction to Eric intensifies. It helps, of course, that she and Bill have had a huge falling out and he has gone off to Peru.
Another complication arises when Sookie’s brother Jason goes missing. She fears that he has been murdered by one of the witches.
This is the fourth book in the Southern Vampire series. With each volume the preternatural world as seen through Sookie’s eyes becomes more complex, more dangerous, and more interesting. As always Sookie’s level head and wry insights makes each installment a fun read.