Darker, but just as much fun, is Charlaine Harris' series of novels about Sookie Stackhouse, a blonde bombshell cocktail waitress and mind reader. Sookie finds yet more trouble, adventure and romance in Definitely Dead the sixth installment in this wildly popular series. After her recent troubles, Sookie is looking for a little peace and quiet and a chance to finally get the cabinets up in her kitchen. There's a new . . . er, man on the horizon, the courtly and muscular shape-shifter, Quinn, and she'd like to get to know him. But a dead cousin and a brewing war draw Sookie into the dangerous world of vampires and shifters. It's impossible not to love the wry, sexy, often earnest, ordinary-if-it-wasn't-for-the-whole-mind-reading-thing Sookie, surely one of the most winning heroines to guide us through the dark side in a long time. Maybe ever.
Barbara Samuel's Lady Luck's Map of Vegas is a 2006 RITA award finalist.