Friday, October 09, 2009

A Touch of Dead, by Charlaine Harris

(hb; 2009: story anthology. Tenth/side entry in The Sookie Stackhouse Novels)

From the inside flap:

"In 'Fairy Dust,' Sookie finds her mind-reading talents in demand when a fairy from a set of triplets gets dusted.

" 'Dracula Night' may be the commemoration of the Prince of Darkness's birth, but it's Sookie who gets a tasty-looking present.

"Learning that her cousin is dead is shocking enough for Sookie. Learning that her cousin was a vampire who got staked leaves her speechless in 'One Word Answer.'

"When Sookie teams up with her witchy friend Amelia to discover who has it out for Bon Temps's most successful insurance agent, they get 'Lucky.'

"A solo Sookie has the holiday blues in 'Gift Wrap,' until she has an unexpected encounter with someone who has bigger problems than loneliness."

Overall review:

Caveat: (possible) spoilers in this review.

Fun, non-essential Sookie read.

These stories fill in certain event-blanks between the Sookie novels, but, for regular Sookie readers, there's an element of ok-get-to-the-#$%-point impatience to these pieces. The reason for this: Harris does a lot of necessary novel plot-/character-recapping in these stories, recaps that may bore those who have read the novels.

These pieces aren't bad, but, like I said before, they're non-essential.

One of the nice things Harris does, in her Introduction, is tell readers where these stories lie in the Sookie timeline (e.g., "The action in 'Fairy Dust' takes place after the events in Dead To The World.").

Not wondering when these stories happened eliminates any unncessary distractions for Sookie readers like myself, who read (and write) according to the timelines of the serial books we read (and write).

Also, Lisa Desimini's interior art imbues the pieces with additional warmth and much-needed quirkiness (there's not a lot of quirk in these stories).

"Gift Wrap" was my least favorite story. Its plot, barely saved by a character-based twist at the end, was otherwise pure Paranormal Harlequin romance.

Standout stories: "Dracula Night" (I liked seeing Eric get geek-fanboy about something), and "Lucky" (the most interesting, least-predictable story in this mix).

Decent read, unnecessary for ongoing Sookie-book fans.

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