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A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse) by Charlaine Harris
Cover Artist: Lisa Desimini
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441017836
Date: 06 October 2009 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

There haven't been many Sookie Stackhouse short stories published but the ones that have been in various anthologies have been collected in this volume--so instead of having to buy five books, you only need to buy this one to complete your Sookie Stackhouse collection. However, having read two of the anthologies these stories were in, I'd suggest checking them out because some of the other stories were up to this quality.

The first story in the book is "Fairy Dust", Claudine asks Sookie if she can come and read some people for her. Of course, Sookie asks if the people are okay with this but she forgets to ask why Claudine and Claude want them read in the first place. As usual, Harris has managed to place Sookie into the middle of a muddle and while the circumstances are deadly serious, the environment and surrounds are wonderfully surreal. Next up is "Dracula Night", first published in Many Bloody Returns. It's Dracula, the original's, birthday, and vampires everywhere are expected to gather to celebrate the holiday. Each year Dracula is expected to show up at one of the parties and it's a great honor to host him. Eric has really pulled out all the stops for the celebration at Fangtasia, and Sookie was more than happy to attend the party. Too bad things don't go as Eric planned or hoped.

In "One Word Answer", Sookie gets news that her cousin Hadley Delahoussaye has died. This is a great short story where we met some new characters in the series; the vampire Queen of New Orleans and Mr. Cataliades. However, the circumstances of Hadley's death here do not match those of Definitely Dead, but none the less it's a tensely written story where Sookie manages to hold her own.

"Lucky" is a quirky story where Sookie and her roommate and witch, Amelia Broadway, are hired to figure out who has been sneaking into the files of insurance agent, Greg Aubert. It turns out Bon Temps may be running out of luck.

"Gift Wrap" was originally published in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe. Sookie is alone for Christmas. She could have joined any of her friends but she didn't want to admit that she didn't have any family for Christmas, so she was spending it alone and feeling a bit sorry for herself. Or at least she was alone until she found a wounded were out in the back end of her property. Maybe Christmas won't be so lonely after all.

This is a great collection. So, often when you enjoy and collect the novels of a series you miss the short stories that the author may write in that same world with the same characters that may be in anthologies that you may or may not notice. Having them collected in one book, makes it so much easier to have the complete Sookie Stackhouse works on your shelf.

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