In Dead Until Dark Sookie Stackhouse is a telepath who lives in a world where vampires have “come out of the coffins” (vampires have come out to the public and become legal citizens). Many vampires are “mainstreaming” (coexisting with humans) since the Japanese developed a synthetic blood that makes it possible for vampires to live in the open without the need to hunt humans for sustenance. Sookie lives with her grandmother, Adele and has an older brother, Jason.
Sookie falls in love with a vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill Compton. Amazingly, vampires’ minds are ‘silent’ to Sookie, which is heaven for her as human minds are difficult to shut out and bombard her constantly with their thoughts. In his first visit, Sookie saves him from the Rattrays (vampire drainers) and Bill returns her favor the next day when the Rattrays attack Sookie.
In the meantime, there are several murders in Bon Temps and people believe that Bill is behind these murders as many of the victims have fang marks in their bodies. But the local police suspect Jason Stackhouse and later arrest him, because he has been sexually linked to two of the victims. Sookie wants to help her brother and asks Bill to take her to a vampire bar in Shreveport, LA called Fangtasia. Fangtasia is owned by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff who is much older and more powerful than Bill. Eric soon discovers that Sookie’s ability is very useful and orders Bill to have Sookie use her mind reading ability to determine the identity of the person who has been stealing a large sum of money from his bar. Sookie finds out that Eric’s partner, Long Shadow (vampire), has been stealing the money and she almost gets killed in the process. Eric saves Sookie’s life by staking Long Shadow when he attacks her.
Back in Bon Temps, Sookie finds her own grandmother slaughtered in the kitchen. On the other hand, Bill, concerned with Eric’s power over him and Sookie, decides to gain his own position within their vampire hierarchy. He asks Bubba, a dim witted vampire, to protect Sookie while he is gone. Later, Sookie discovers that her boss, Sam is a shape shifter when she lets a stray dog sleep beside her and finds a naked Sam in the morning. While Bill is gone, Sookie discovers that the murderer is Rene and he almost kills her, but Sookie is able to fight back. She wakes up in the hospital badly injured with Bill by her side. Bill tells Sookie that he has become his area’s investigator, working under Eric.