A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Myst)
by Charlaine Harris
Review by Liz de Jager
Gollancz Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780575094420
Date: 29 October 2009 List Price £12.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The Sookie short stories in this new collection, A Touch of Dead should be read either as a lipsmacking dessert once you've devoured all the other Sookie books or approached with the knowledge that there will be spoilers ahead, especially if you've not read all the previous novels.
Charlaine Harris has an ease of storytelling that is just sinful. There are five short stories in the collection and not a single one fails to live up to her prowess. I like Sookie as a character, she grows, she stumbles, she develops and learns and she remains true to herself and her upbringing. Her fanbase has of course grown since the True Blood television series but these short stories are a lot more personal and allows Sookie to have a few more mini-adventures!
Each short story, call it a vignette if you will, as they are small excerpts taken from Sookie's life between novels, works well within its context because each story is self-contained and can be read (and works well) as a stand alone. Of course there are spoilers but if you don't mind them, then go ahead and give these a try as a taster before perhaps embarking on the rest of the Sookie books. You may go in knowing what's ahead but the reveals in A Touch of Dead is not everything that's revealed within the main story line for the original Sookie books.
What Charlaine Harris manages particularly well is making the supernatural creatures in the novel "human" by giving them faults and failings – for instance, in "Dracula's Night", can you imagine a powerful vampire going all fanvamp about his hero, Dracula?
My personal favourite has to be "Gift Wrap" - it first appeared as part of an anthology in 2008 called Wolfsbane and Misstletoe and it is just such a lovely, warm, (and sexy) little story, I lost my heart to it and was so glad I got the chance to read it again in this collection.
These shorts are almost, to my mind, the author writing fun, funky and interesting fan-fiction for her Sookie audience but for the fan of Ms. Harris's work, this is the perfect stocking-filler – although it's a quick read it is beautifully packaged and it allows you a further glimpse into Sookie's world and those of her friends.