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Dead But Not Forgotten
Ed. by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner
Ace Books, $16.00 TPB, 382 pp
Published: October 2015 E

This is a collection of stories written in the Sookie Stackhouse universe delivered by a sometimes sterling cast of contributors.  They are, in order of stories: Rachel Caine, Christopher Golden, Leith Perry, Jeffrey Mariotte, Seanan McGuire, Jeanne Stein, Jonathan Maberry, Nicole Peeler, Leigh Evans, Bill Crider, Nancy Holder, Miranda James, Suzanne McLeod, Dana Cameron, and MaryJanice Davidson.  And, before you ask:  No, nothing from Ms. Harris herself.

There’s a fun story about the relationship between Kevin Pryor and Kenya Jones, two beat cops in Bon Temps from Rachel CaineChristopher Golden takes up the story of Quinn, one of the more fascinating characters – the weretiger.  He examines a bit closer the family ties of weretigers; much different from other shape-shifters.  I loved this story.

Diantha, the niece of the demon Mr. Cataliades, is a fun character and Leigh Perry plays her very well in a delightful examination of the Santa Claus myth from a demon-perspective.

I also greatly enjoyed meeting up again with my favorite witch, Amelia; and Bob, of course.  This one came from Seanan McGuire and she did Amelia justice. My least favorite came from Jeanne Stein and told of Sookie’s grandmother’s encounter with Fintan; an illicit liaison that brought Sookie into the world as quarter-fae.  I didn’t care for the story to be brought up – no more than Sookie would have – and it just wasn’t that interesting.

Jonathan Maberry got in the act using the lone wolf character of Mustapha who gets involved in a reality game rather reminiscent of so many others from Running Man to Hunger Games.  It was an okay story.  Nancy Holder gave us a bitter-sweet story of Alcide Herveaux’ first and true love and how he was able to finally give her a much-deserved peace.  Miranda James indulged us with a story of Claude and Claudine investigating a murder in their club.  It was okay, not very original.

I liked Suzanne McLeod’s story that involved not only Luna Garza, a shapeshifting werebat, but also Sookie’s cousins Hunter and Remy.  They have to find a missing shapeshifting teen and Hunter is the only one who can hear him.

Nicole Peeler wrote of the character Desiree who worked in the vamp bar, Bat’s Wing. Leigh Evans used the vampire hosts of the show Dead and Gone.  Bill Crider gave us the details of the time Bubba almost got crucified by Russell Edgington. Jeffrey Mariotte explores Andy Bellfleur’s old girlfriend and the havoc she creates when she brings a TV crew into Sam’s bar.

Dana Cameron took on one of my favorites: Pam.  And a cameo from Quinn.  We’ve all seen the depth of Pam’s loyalty to Eric Northman but in this story we find that her heart really belongs to another.  And the book wraps up with the most poignant story of Eric looking up Sookie’s descendants.  It was well-written by MaryJanice Davidson but I didn’t like it for the message it seems to send:  Sookie is gone and we’ll never see the likes of her again.

As an anthology, this was well-crafted.  No character was repeated with the small exception of Quinn; which does make me wonder if good stories were cut simply because the editors wanted a gamut of characters.  I wouldn’t turn down another collection…just sayin’… ~~ Catherine Book

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