Friday, January 22, 2010

'A Touch of Dead' Brings Readers Up to Speed on Sookie Stackhouse & Friends

Charlaine Harris's short story compilation A Touch of Dead is nothing new-- new stories, that is. All of these Sookie Stackhouse stories have been published elsewhere before, but never together in one volume. It is a short collection of only five stories -- it took me maybe an hour or two to complete it. But it offers some deeper meaning to both the character that is Sookie and to other characters introduced into the series in various Southern Vampire novels.

In "Lucky", we learn a bit more about both Sookie's wiccan friend Amelia and her insurance agent Gary, who appear in other books. In "Dracula Night", we get further looks at vampire sheriff Eric Northman, his second-in-command Pam, and werepanther leader Calvin. Harris adds to the fairy family in "Fairy Dust", as we learn about kinfolk of Sookie's "guardian angel" (or fairy, as the case may be) Claudine. In "Gift Wrap", Sookie receives a special Christmas gift that may or may not be related to Alcide and the werewolves or to her great-grandfather, a fairy himself. And in "One Word Answer" readers are given a new angle on Sookie's cousin Hadley who, although dead, factors importantly into several books towards the end of the series.

I would have liked to see Harris include all of the Sookie-universe stories, starring Sookie or not, in this volume; however, at this in-between-books stage, I'll take what I can get! I enjoyed every last word from Harris's Southern Vampire series; all I ask for is more. I can hardly wait for the next book in the series, Dead in the Family, to be published in May. Until then, you take what you can get, and what you can get is this collection of Sookie stories. Savor it to the last bloody drop.

If you dare to take a peek (for now, I'm trying to save it until I can read the whole thing!), here is the first chapter of the latest novel, available for your reading pleasure from the author's website.

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