Monday, May 2, 2011

Sookie Stackhouse: Short Stories & Novellas

Reviewed by Jen
The following provides a brief rundown of all the short stories and novellas featuring Sookie Stackhouse and where they fall chronologically in the series.

Dracula Night (Sookie 4.1*) – Sookie is invited to a party at Fangtasia to celebrate Dracula’s birthday.  Eric practically worships the Prince of Darkness and it seems all vamps hold him in high regard. It’s a very fancy affair and Eric goes all-out, in hopes Dracula will show up.  During the party,  a man does step forward claiming to be Dracula. But Sookie determines he is an imposter and stakes him.  (It was a cute short story, but contributes nothing to the ongoing story arc.) 

Fairy Dust (Sookie 4.2) – We learn a little bit more about the fairy Claudine in this very short story.  Claudine visits Sookie at Merlotte’s and offers her a job, reading the minds of humans.  We learn Claudine is one of three triplets. But now her sister, Claudia (who is referenced as Claudette in later books), is dead and she wants Sookie to help figure out who killed her. Claudia worked at a strip club with the third triplet, Claude.  He is extremely attractive, kind of rude, and gay.  Sookie pinpoints the killer and goes on her way.  This story is less than two dozen pages, and you don’t need to read it to keep up with the ongoing arc.  I do, however, remember wondering if I missed something when Sookie spoke about Claude like she knew him in Dead as a Doornail.  Well, mystery solved. She met him here.

One Word Answer (Sookie 5.1) – Remember Sookie’s long-lost cousin Hadley? We’ve never met her, but she’s been mentioned several times in the series. She ran away as a teen and Sookie hasn’t seen or heard from her in years.  With the appearance of an unusual man (named Mr. Cataliades) at her home, Sookie finds out that Hadley is dead and has left everything she had to Sookie.  To make matters more interesting, we learn Hadley had become a vampire before her death and was a consort, of sorts, to the Queen of Louisiana. In the course of this short story, Sookie figures out how Hadley died and orchestrates quick justice for her killer.   She also meets the Queen, herself.   The aftermath of Hadley’s death plays out in Definitely Dead.

Lucky (Sookie 6.1) – Remember Greg Auburt, the insurance agent who helped out Sookie when her house caught fire? Now he needs help. It seems someone has been breaking into his office at night and going through his files.  And that’s no small feat because he uses magic to ward the office. Amelia and Sookie work together using Sookie’s telepathy and Amelia’s magic know-how to figure out who is responsible.  It turns out to nothing nefarious. But Greg’s spells designed to protect his clients have been using up all the good-luck in Bon Temps and the other insurance agents are suffering. One connected the dots and had broken in to see his files. Now Greg realizes he must change how he runs his business. (This one has no bearing on Sookie’s ongoing story.) 

Gift Wrap (Sookie 8.1) – What a fun little story this was! It’s Christmas Eve and Sookie finds herself all alone. Amelia is in New Orleans. She’s on the outs with Jason. And she doesn’t have a boyfriend. So instead of feeling sorry for herself, she goes on a hike. Not far from her home, she finds an injured man who tells her he is a were who had been attacked. Sookie brings him back to her house to tend to his wounds and one thing leads to another.  After a great night together, Preston is gone, leaving only a note of thanks. We find out at the end he was really a fairy, there as a favor to Sookie’s great-grandfather. Niall had made the arrangements to ensure Sookie had a very Merry Christmas! 

All of the above short stories were previously published in various anthologies but were re-released together in A Touch of Dead.

Two Blondes (Sookie 9.1, Death's Excellent Vacation) - Sookie and Pan take a road trip to visit the casinos in the Mississippi Delta. But it's not just a pleasure trip. Eric's boss Victor wants the women to scope out whether Russell's territory is vulnerable for takeover.  (This short story clearly takes place after Dead and Gone, though Sookie seems to be suffering the ill effects she is dealing with at the beginning of Dead in the Family.)  As Sookie and Pam meet with the vampire owner of an area strip club, they realize they've been set up. And they have to take some unusual measures to escape. Let's just say Sookie's dancing skills get a good workout. 

*Dracula Night is often refered to at Sookie 7.1, though chronologically, it seems to take place before Dead as a Doornail, so I consider it 4.1.
**There are other short stories set in the Sookie Universe, but these are the ones which actually feature Sookie and the characters featured in the books.

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