Friday, October 23, 2009

Review - "A Touch of Dead" by Charlaine Harris

FROM THE DUST JACKET:
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.
A Touch of Dead is subtitled - Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories and contains five Sookie stories that have appeared in various anthologies over the years. I had actually read all of these in their origianl appearances and quite enjoyed my re-read of these stories that showcase various aspects of Sookie's character and personality. The book is quite nicely packaged with a two-page illustration preceeding each story. The only flaw is the ugly Trueblood ad on the cover of the book which detracts from the stylish Lisa Desimini jacket.


“Fairy Dust”
Most readers of Sookie Stackhouse will be familiar with the twin fairies Claude and Claudine, but did you know they were really triplets? In one of Sookie's first "murder" investigations, the always helpful Sookie agrees to help Claudine find the truth about who killed their sister Claudette. Of course Sookie plays the role of human lie-detector. Fairy Dust has Sookie's usual humorous and quirky inner/outer dialogue and observations.  We also get a reminder that fairies are not the gentle, fantasy creatures that we might wish for.

“Dracula Night”
In Dracula Night we get to see an entirely new side of Eric as Fangtasia holds its' annual Dracula birthday bash. The real Dracula is a creature of legend and each year graces an event with his presence. As it turns out Eric is a total fanboy when it comes to Dracula. Will he or won't he show up at Fangtasia? What are the chances out of all the places he could be? But he does. Sookie as always is at the centre of things and this amusing tale concludes with a big surprise - for Dracula. It was fun seeing this side of the laconic Eric.

“One Word Answer”
 One Word Answer is a prequel to Definitely Dead where Sookie first learns of her cousin Hadley's death. This is the darkest and most interesting story of the collection and contains the first meeting of Sookie and several recurring series characters. Sookie is raking leaves with Bubba when a limousine arrives bearing the Queen of Louisiana's demon lawyer Mr. Cataliades and news of Hadley's murder. Things are carefully orchestrated to give Sookie the opportunity to exact revenge on the killer, but in a fascinating twist that demonstrates Sookie's substantial smarts, she maneuvers events for her own desired outcome. Once again we learn that despite appearances you shouldn't discount Sookie. Here is one of my favourite Sookie lines from the story after the culprit Waldo is staked -
"Where's Waldo? All over my yard." I could say to anyone that asked.
“Lucky”
My least favourite story of the collection is this post Definitely Dead story about Sookie and the witch Amelia playing amateurs sleuths as they try to investigate possible sabotage of Sookie's insurance agent Greg's office. Given a  list of possible suspects they commence their inquiries. Along the way they discover some odd happenings with Greg's competitors and thwart the advances of an interloping vampire. The story is charming enough, but lacks the edge and emotional bite of the other stories.

“Giftwrap”
Here is my review that I did for this story when I first reviewed it for its' appearance in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe -
A short Sookie Stackhouse story that occurs after the events of the most recent novel. Sookie is spending Christmas alone until she finds an injured werewolf in the woods near her home. Nurturing Sookie just has to take action. Contains spoilers if you aren’t up to date on the series. A feel-good story although I must say Sookie’s relative is a piece of work despite his good intentions.
On reflection after the re-read, I was much more positively inclined to towards the relative who arranged this special diversion Giftwrap for Sookie's quiet, lonely Christmas, probably because I now know what is to come in the next book. The "most recent novel" refers to events after From Dead to Worse but before Dead and Gone. This one has some nice emotional punch to it.

All in all, this is a collection that Sookie Stackhouse fans will want to have on their shelves. The next full length Sookie novel will be out next May and is called Dead in the Family.

AUTHOR AND BOOK SHOWCASE

Penguin Group (USA)/Ace
Published: October 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Pages:192
ISBN #: 9780441017836


Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series:
  1. Dead Until Dark (2001)
  2. Living Dead in Dallas (March 2002)
  3. Club Dead (May 2003)
  4. Dead to the World (May 2004)
  5. Dead as a Doornail (May 2005)
  6. Definitely Dead (May 2006)
  7. All Together Dead (May 2007)
  8. From Dead to Worse (May 2008)
  9. Dead and Gone (May 2009)
  10. A Touch of Dead (Anthology - October 2009)
  11. Dead in the Family (May 2010)

4 comments:

  1. I am going to get this to make some room on my shelf, on the other hand, there are some great authors in the anthologies.

    I don't know if you accept them, but I gave you an award.
    http://ellzreadz.blogspot.com/2009/10/i-feel-loved.html

    because your my favorite

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  2. I've read some but not all of her short stories - I'm glad to see they're all in one place now!

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  3. I've been dragging feet on buying this one. I have quite a few of the anthologies that have the Sookie short stories in them but I think it would be nice to have them in one place. Will probably get it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Elnice, awards are always welcome especially from terrific ladies like you :)

    Patti it's nice for a Harris collector. I do believe there are still some other stories that appear elsewhere that couldn't be included in this. There's at least one in an HQN anthology I know of.

    Donna Harris is one of must have authors so yeah I wanted this one.

    ReplyDelete

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