Book Review: A Touch of Dead (The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Short Story Collection)

You know it’s never a good sign when the author admits in the foreword that she originally didn’t think her short stories would translate, or that they were any good. She’s right — sort of. A Touch of Dead doesn’t translate…at least not for fans of the True Blood TV show. Out of the five short stories that encompass this collection, NONE are stand-alone in the sense that they don’t reference major plot points and spoilers that go well beyond the second season of HBO. Each story is like a domino, delicately balanced on the bindings of the book series that propelled Charlain Harris‘ world of vamps into the limelight.

The five short stories span from (SPOILER ALERT!) Sookie and Bill’s break-up to the present in which Sookie is spending Christmas estranged from Jason and without her fairy great-grandfather. Placed in chronological order, they begin with a request for help from two fairies (“Fairy Dust”) and end with Sookie enjoying a spot on Santa’s “Naughty” list (“Giftwrap”). Personally, I say skip “Fairy Dust,” “One Word Answer,” and “Lucky,” and have a good giggle over “Dracula Night” (Eric gets all giddy when he decides to honor the real Dracula with a big party at Fangtasia), and “Giftwrap.” Both stories are sexy-sweet and show the quirky brave side of Sookie the show sometimes fails to highlight.

Fast-paced and fun, I’m only recommending this book for die-hard fans of the book series itself. Attempt it otherwise, and you’ll find it a confusing jumble of names and faces you’ve yet to encounter and may never know (Alan Ball totally SUCKS for not including any Bubba cameos in the TV show!). A Touch of Dead is exactly that: Just enough blood to keep your heart barely pumping, but not enough to sustain you for very long.

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