The short stories in A Touch of Dead
would be okay as stand-alone stories set in the world of Sookie Stackhouse, but I just can't get past my irritation that it's NOTICEABLE that you've missed something if you don't know about these stories and only read the novels. Harris acknowledges this in the introduction to this collection, so maybe she realizes it's annoying.
I read some of these stories earlier, when I first noticed the gaps, and I had to hunt each one down online since I didn't want to buy an unrelated anthology just for one story; at least they're all collected in one book now.
The stories are good in that junk-food-reading way. I've started to notice Harris's writing tics more -- "Fairy Dust" serves as an introduction to Claude, who plays a large role in later Stackhouse books, and he's described as "surprised" four different times in the short story, which kind of cracked me up. Is he new?
I'm sure "Lucky" is not one of the crowd favorites, because it's pretty goofy, but I liked it a lot. It's cute, a little Sookie-style detective story.
"Gift Wrap" is the only story I really didn't like. It's creepy! Sookie acts creepy, acknowledges it, and keeps on creepin'. The wrap-up is even creepier! Maybe I'm a Puritan at the core. OR MAYBE IT'S JUST CREEPY.