Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (2001), narrated by Johanna Parker
In her world, vampires are real and through the development of synthetic blood they are now able to come out of hiding and try to become part of mainstream society. When a friendly vampire named Bill moves to town, single Sookie realizes she can't read his mind and becomes pretty smitten with him. But when local waitresses start turning up dead, blame is aimed at vampires and suddenly everything gets complicated for Sookie.
It took me a long time to make the connection between this series and the TV version, True Blood. These books look so light and fluffy from the covers but the TV show is neither, filled with violence and hateful, angry vampire sex. I couldn't even watch an entire episode of the show because it was so unpleasant, but the book has a very different tone. There's still murder and there are still "fang-bangers," vampire groupies who enjoy being bitten, but there's also humor and romance and Southern charm.
I picked this up because a co-worker recommended it when I told her the sort of book I listen to on audio. The narrator was great, getting just the right tone to capture the humor. I'm no expert on Southern accents and have no idea what a genuine one sounds like for that part of Louisiana, but the narrator's accent wasn't over-the-top as they can sometimes be.
This was a fun blend of humor, romance, and mystery. Even if you're turned off by True Blood, as I was, this may be a great choice.
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