Behold teaser number two from Kill Your Darlings Issue Two. The following excerpt is from Mel Campbell’s article about the cult vampire television phenomenon, True Blood. Mel Campbell is a cultural critic and journalist who specialises in fashion, popular music, branding and celebrity. She’s also one of the founding editors of The Enthusiast, an online magazine of culture and the popular arts.

Generically, the Southern Vampire Mysteries are an intriguing hybrid of crime fiction, fantasy and romance, narrated in the first person by Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, who happens to be telepathic. ‘I’m blond and blue-eyed and twenty-five, and my legs are strong and my bosom is substantial, and I have a waspy waistline,’ Sookie says matter-of-factly on page one of Dead Until Dark. ‘But I have a disability. That’s how I try to think of it.’

The books could never be considered fine literary works; they are written to satisfy readers’ demands for plot-driven intrigue and interpersonal dramas among a lively and attractive cast of characters. At times, the prose is awkward and expository. But Harris skilfully structures the pace at which the central mystery unfurls. She introduces characters expediently, giving readers just the right amount of information to leave them thrilled by the ensuing twists.

It’s easy to be seduced by the universe Harris has created: a version of contemporary America in the midst of uncomfortably incorporating the supernatural. Aside from the physical characteristics and weaknesses she ascribes to vampires (which are fairly canonical in vampire literature), Harris sketches the various political responses to vampirism, raises civil rights issues and shows the clash between humans’ and vampires’ systems of government (and, subsequently, the relationships and conflicts between vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches, demons and fairies).

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