Mermaidrain's Reviews > A Touch of Dead

A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris
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Mar 09, 11

Read from March 07 to 09, 2011

This was a much quicker read than I thought it would be. Bummer. I was hoping it would keep me busy for longer than a day! BUT this is a very thin short story anthology with only 5 short stories in it (one of which I've read before in its original publication). I'm glad I only paid $3.99 for it at a used bookstore too, because these are NOT the greatest things I've seen from Charlaine Harris. In fact, I think she's a better novel writer than a short story writer. These were odd little assignments she didn't quite carry off, and the last one disturbed the heck out of me.


SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.


"Fairy Dust" sets the stage for Claude, Claudine's twin brother. I always thought that his introduction in the novel series seemed so "here he is again" and I couldn't figure out why. This short story is why. He was introduced here outside of the novel series first. I hate it when stuff like that happens. Minor little spin-off stories with the characters that don't mean anything to the major novels, sure. But NOT major character introductions or major plot points! Good grief. The story itself was all right. Nothing fantastic, but it also explained who Claudette was and what happened to her (there was actually a triplet at one point that was NEVER seen).

"Dracula Night" was the story I'd read before. It's funny to think of a vampire series set in modern day referring to Dracula when he's not really a part of the cannon, though it is SO overdone in EVERY series that has ever had vampires. This story appeared in an anthology featuring vampires and birthdays as themes, so CH wrote a story with Sookie and Eric getting ready to celebrate the birthday of the most famous vampire of all. Naturally. It's a bit meh.

"One Word Answer" suffers from the lamest title ever (and it gets hammered to death by the end of the story). However, when I was reading the novels and I got to "Definitely Dead" I mentioned missing a major piece of the puzzle with the plot. This story was the reason why. It's the precursor to the novel! WHY would you do that?! It sets up how Sookie finds out about her cousin Hadley's death, and her introduction to the Vampire Queen and her demon lawyer, Mr. Cataliades. This was the best short story in this set and I have NO clue why it was separated from the novel when it so clearly served as a set piece for that book. Just wrong!

"Lucky" was the best stand alone short story in the book. It has Sookie and Amelia working together to try and solve a mystery in perhaps the only time we will ever get to see the two team up together. And they were investigating a case for Sookie's insurance agent, Greg Aubert. He's the one who sets spells to help keep his clients safe, etc. Interesting twist to that little tidbit planted in the novels in this story.

Finally, "Gift Wrap" was the last story in this anthology and I would have been happier if I had NEVER read it. The premise is clunky and the end result is incredibly disturbing. As it was originally published in the short story anthology "Wolfsbane and Mistletoe" I'm guessing the theme assignment was "werewolf" and "Christmas" (which it does cover). HOWEVER, CH's interpretation of that is to give Sookie a one-night-stand with some character created JUST for this story in what she terms a "satisfying gift." The truly disturbing part is that it was all arranged by her fairy great grandfather, Niall. YUP!! Grandpa wanted to make sure she got laid! WHAT THE CRAP?!?!?! And the werewolf in question wasn't even a werewolf! He was a fairy posing as a werewolf! UGH! WHY?! Awful, awful, awful note to end the anthology on. I was much happier when I knew Sookie had 3 lovers, not 4. This was just SO very pointless!
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