This is the second in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series. Harris had two mysteries or subplots going on in this one, and while the one was kind of interesting, the other seemed rather weak. And actually, neither one of them seemed that mysterious, really.
The novel begins when Sookie's coworker Lafayette, a gay black man, is found dead - so much for using this character to explore sexuality and race issues. Shortly thereafter, Sookie is called away by the vampires in charge in the area to help out another group in Dallas. The part in Dallas was the interesting part, even though once Sookie read a few minds, there wasn't exactly any mystery as to what was going on. Instead, Harris used this opportunity to introduce a cult of sorts that is very anti-vampire. Basically, it's a mix of a cult, the KuKluxKlan and any other radical ultra-conservative group one can think of.
While working on that case, Sookie and Bill once again confront a few issues in their relationships, and their separation allows Sookie access to get some more clues about Lafayette's death upon their return home. This part is wrapped up, well, neatly isn't the right word . . . quickly. In addition, Harris threw in a few more supernatural characters, including a maenad, whose only reason for really being in the book seems to be the wrap up. Overall, an alright read, but I feel like Harris may have tried to throw too much in there for one book, and could have focused more deeply on some of the plotlines if she hadn't tried to have so many extra characters and events in it. Maybe I'm just too used to reading slow moving novels, and can't handle quickly paced plot lines . . .
Since I was reading this while in Berlin (I was on the subway a lot), I was rather surprised and delighted to discover that the Pergamon Museum, which has all the old Greek and Roman statues as well as Iranian art in it, was doing a special exhibit on Dionysius. Here is a picture of a maenad: