Intro and Welcome:
Hey folks! It's your girl, Dom. My #BookReportSunday series on my podcast, Dominique Does Life (available on Spreaker, iHeartRadio, iTunes Podcast, Google Play, Spotify and more!) has really taken off, so I've decided to bring it on over to my blog in written form. While this has taken some time to do, and while at this time, I don't think I'll be going back and doing this for every book I've reviewed on the Dominique Does Life podcast, I do think it'll be worth it to do a corresponding blog piece for each new book I review on Dominique Does Life's podcast. Let me know what you think, and leave your comments about what you liked, loved, disliked, hated or even what you felt a bit 'meh' about in this book in the comments below! As always, please introduce any spoilers with a spoiler alert, so that I don't have to deal with a bevy of angry readers 😂. Read on, be well and have a fabulous day!
Dead Reckoning Spoiler-Free Synopsis
In “Dead Reckoning,” a title which happens to be a play on a mode of navigation for flying airplanes in poor weather conditions with low visibility, Charlaine Harris takes Sookie and company on the wildest ride yet, with her characteristic twists and turns, and with the clear plan to wrap up the deliciously in-depth character arcs she has created throughout the previous ten books and the many vignettes in between. Sookie explores her relationship with Eric, which is pushed to the limits as new foes loom on the horizon, improves her friendship and simultaneously tests the bond between her and Amelia, and helps Tara through her unexpected pregnancy.
Sookie begins to understand more about her relationship with her fae brethren and what it means to be part fae herself, while finding new allies in old friends like Mr. Cotaliades and Diantha, and drawing lines in the sand with old flames, like Alcide and Bill. Sookie finds a new depth to her unexpected friendship with her ex-boyfriend Bill Compton, after having assisted Bill in reconnecting with family who had no idea they were descended from the Comptons (in the last book in the Sookieverse, “Dead In The Family”), while finding unforeseen complications which could spell trouble and ultimate doom for her relationship with Eric Northman. Sookie’s friendship with Pam is strengthened, as Pam defies her maker’s orders in order to give her friend [Sookie] a much-needed heads up about a situation that could have grave consequences for Sookie, about which Eric would prefer to keep Sookie in the dark.
Sookie cultivates a deepened bond both with her brother, Jason, and her faerie Great Uncle, Dermot, whom she has grown to love and respect. Jason’s relationship with his girlfriend-turned-fiancee, Michele, becomes more serious, and Sookie is incredibly grateful and eminently thankful to notice that her once harebrained, immature, and…er…promiscuous (to say the least!) brother has now grown up and is taking to his life as were-panther, former widower and current fiancee with a finesse that Sookie never realized Jason had. Jason is able to prove himself to Sookie on more than one occasion, being there for her in unexpected ways.
Sookie gains some new insight into who her Gran was and why she was so protective of Sookie, above and beyond Sookie’s telepathic “gift.” This window into her Gran’s soul also affects Sookie’s relationship with Niall, Claude, Dermot, Mr. Cotaliades, and her late Grandfather, Finton, as well as the rest of the fae at Hooligan’s, and those beyond the dimensional borders. Sookie’s friendship with Sam is tested, and will apparently continue to be, though she is able to help him in a major way when Merlotte’s heads into a bit of a slump, due to Victor, the new King Regent of Louisiana opening a new bar in his area, and the townsfolk being wary of Sam’s now public status as a two-natured shape-shifter. Sandra Pelt, Alcide Herveaux, and Lily Bard Leeds and her husband Jack even turn up in this book. I really enjoyed this entry into the Southern Vampire Mysteries and would highly recommend giving it a read.
Character Development: 5/5
Narrative Flow: 4/5
Total Score: 28/30
I’d categorize this one as a Must Read!
AVAST YE AND DEATH TO ALL WHO ENTER HERE, FOR THERE ARE MANY SPOILERS AHEAD, YE SCURVY DOGS!
READ NO FURTHER IF YE HAVE NOT YET READ DEAD RECKONING, OR THE ILLS OF THE CURSE OF READING SPOILERS BEFORE YE HAVE READ THE BOOK BE UPON YE! ARGH!
SPOILERS ARE HAPPENING
I’M NOT KIDDING. THIS SHIT IS SUPER SPOILER HEAVY.
TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T YET READ DEAD RECKONING.
SPOILERS INCOMING IN…
Dead Reckoning Timeline Of Events: Spoilers Included
Sookie, Dermot, and Claude work together to clean out the attic and affect some home improvements so that Dermot has a furnished attic to live in (Dermot loves HGTV).
Sookie decides to sell her old items and old family “junk” to an antique shop called Splendide, in Shreveport.
Sam told Sookie about Splendide, where, apparently, Janalynne shops. Sam and Sookie make plans to go to Splendide to talk to the owners about selling Sookie’s stuff. Dermot, Claude and Sookie start a burn pile for the rest.
Merlotte’s is firebombed by a quickly moving supe who Sookie just barely catches sight of out of the corner of her eye before the supe throws the molotov cocktail through the window of the bar, before running away and disappearing. Jane Boathouse, the town drunk, is seated by the window when this happens. Sam gets Jane to safety and Sam and Sookie put out the blaze. Sam quickly recovers from his burnt arm and Sookie has some of the ends of her hair burnt beyond repair.
By the time Bud Dearborn shows up to investigate the fire, Eric has already arrived, having felt Sookie’s pain and fear, having dropped everything and flown over to rescue Sookie. Bud is surprised that Eric was able to make it over so quickly. Eric tells Bud that Eric has flown over to Merlotte’s, much to Bud’s consternation. Sookie and Eric strategically avoid talking about their blood bond and the implications it has on how and why Eric showed up so quickly when Sookie was in danger.
Eric and Pam bring Emanuel, a top-notch hairdresser and the brother of Pam’s human partner, Miriam, to fix Sookie’s burnt hair. Eric is in a terrible mood and, in a towering rage, Eric attacks Pam and makes a mess out of Sookie’s kitchen in the process. Sookie ushers everyone out of her house, wondering why Eric is in such an horrible mood. Pam seems to be trying to tell Sookie something, but Sookie can’t fathom what that might be.
The faeries come home and wonder what the hell happened. Sookie is too frustrated to explain.
Sam shows up at Sookie’s the next morning, despite the fire the previous night at Merlotte’s, ready to take Sookie over to Splendide. Apparently, Sam is looking to buy Janalynne a birthday present while he and Sookie are at the antique shop. Between Danny the new bouncer, Terry, Sam, and the fire marshall, Merlotte’s has been cleaned up and is ready to reopen the following evening, despite the police have as yet been unable to catch whoever firebombed Merlotte’s.
|I cannot with Sam right now|
Sam acts like a little bitch, being jealous and surly with Claude, and, after visiting Splendide with Sookie, convinces Sookie to head right on over to the strip club Claude runs and Dermot helps manage, to give all of the fae there the hard brace about why they’re really staying at Sookie’s house and what implications being fae has for Sookie on her life (which, why not just ask Claude and Dermot while you were at the house being surly with them when you picked Sookie up to go to Splendide...? Ugh, Sam. I can’t even with you.). Obviously, the fae aren’t super thrilled with this dick move, but they oblige as much as they feel comfortable. Sam then scolds Sookie about Eric needing to fix the mess he made of Sookie’s kitchen, because why not, I guess...?
Eric and Sookie are asked to go to Victor's new bar, Vampire's Kiss, to pay tribute to the King Regent of Louisiana (holding the state for King Filipé de Castro, who is the first vampire king to rule more than one state at a time, or possibly the first vampire king to hold more than one state ever). Pam arrives first, being Eric’s second and lieutenant, and asks to check the premises to ensure Eric’s safety when he arrives. Victor takes offense to this and has his minions beat the ever-loving crap out of Pam.
When Eric and Sookie arrive, Victor acts as offensively and disrespectfully as possible to Sookie and Eric, hoping to make them snap and start a fight, so he has an excuse for Felipe to sanction the killing of Eric, Pam and Sookie. Victor has also kidnapped Pam’s sick human partner, Miriam, Emanuel’s sister, and holds her hostage at the bar, pretending that she came of her own volition. Pam must go through the night pretending that she doesn’t care about Miriam so that Victor doesn’t harm her further. Eric, Pam, and Sookie don’t bite, and maintain their best behavior, and so Victor moves to his backup plan and tries to serve Pam and Eric True Blood that has been laced with faerie blood, which is intoxicating to vampires, again, in the hopes that they’ll lose their minds and go nuts in his club, allowing him license to kill them and not get in trouble with Felipe for killing Eric, who is one of Felipe’s top earners, due to his ownership of Fangtasia. Victor has even primed two of his vampire minions to approach Eric and company in the bar parking lot, pretending to want to overthrow Victor. Back inside of the club, when Victor attempts to spike Eric’s and Pam’s blood, one of the servers, a man named Colton, sends Sookie a message telepathically, in order to warn her that there was faerie blood in their glasses. Sookie sends her concern through her blood bond with Eric and, while she is unable to give him specifics, intimates to him that he and Pam should not drink from the glasses Victor has offered them. Eric then tells Victor that he and Pam have nothing against American packaging and that he would prefer to drink from the bottle. This confounds Victor, but his hands are tied, and he serves them bottled True Blood instead of True Blood from the glasses Victor initially provided.
Pam is able to escort Miriam off the premises and get her safely home. Pam, knowing that Miriam is ill (she has leukemia), has petitioned Victor to turn Miriam into a vampire. Victor has delayed the process, knowing that when Miriam eventually dies, Pam will be enraged, and hoping that she will attack and give Victor an excuse to put Pam and Eric down and take over Fangtasia himself. While Pam escorts Miriam home, Eric and Sookie follow Colton, the helpful server home to talk to him. Once Colton and his girlfriend Audrina realize that Eric and Sookie are not a threat, they set up a time to meet at Sookie’s house to discuss how they might all go about killing Victor, as Victor has become too big of a threat and too unpredictable to allow him to live. Felipe won’t take any action against Victor, because he doesn’t want his other lieutenants thinking that’s how he normally deals with the vampires who have sworn loyalty to him and rebelling against him. Victor is a pain in Felipe’s behind too, because of his thirst for power and unpredictability, and Sookie, Eric and Pam know that if they do kill Victor, Felipe will need to make a show of imposing some sort of consequence on them, even if it is just for optics.
|I realize this is Debbie, but we work with what we've got|
Because one attack wasn’t enough, Sandra Pelt sends some blood heads (vampire blood users) to Merlotte’s AFTER Janalynne walks in and becomes jealous of Sookie and Sam, because they are closeted together in his office working on tax paperwork. Janalynne, Sam, Sookie, and visitors Lily [nee Bard] and Jack Leeds who have visited the bar to finish up their involvement with the Debbie Pelt case, and Terry Bellefleur subdue the attackers. Andy happens to be in the bar at the time and he hauls said thugs off to jail. Apparently, Mr. Cotaliades has sent Lily and Jack to Merlotte’s, knowing that Sandra was planning yet another attack on the bar. Mr. Cotaliades is the executor of the Pelt family’s will, and, as we find out later on in this book, Sookie’s sponsor, which essentially means that as Sookie’s Grandfather Finton’s best friend, in addition to keeping an eye on Sookie and keeping Sookie safe, he gave Sookie her gift of telepathy (and Hunter’s too) by giving her Gran some of his blood in some wine, which allowed Sookie and any other descendants of Gran to have the ability of telepathy, an ability which Finton and Desmond Cotaliades both thought would be a boon, and would offer any descendants with the essential spark (a basic ability to empathize with and understand those who were supernatural, an ability which Gran apparently had and passed on to some of her descendants) in an effort to offer them a leg up on their human peers. But Desmond Cotaliades isn’t the only one looking out for Sookie. Terry admits to Sookie, in a state of PTSD shock, that Niall and Eric have coerced him into looking after Sookie and keeping an eye on her when they’re not around. Sookie is displeased at this news but isn’t too terribly surprised. Jack Leeds is shot for his trouble to come out to Merlotte’s and finish his job working for the Pelt estate, warning Sookie of Sandra’s intentions in so doing. Thankfully Lily was able to get Jack to the hospital emergency room and all was well with them after that. Apparently the bar patrons, Andy included, mistook the thugs’ comment about being there for “the blonde” to mean that they had followed Lily Leeds, who also has blonde hair, to Merlotte’s, which allowed Sookie to go home without further questioning from local law enforcement.
|Debbie again, but close enough|
Sookie knows now that not only does Sandra Pelt dislike her—even hate her, but that she’s gunning for her, and not only is she gunning for her, but she isn’t willing to let any grass grow under her feet; she wants Sookie dead like yesterday. For those who need a primer on why Sandra Pelt hates Sookie Stackhouse so, Sookie was forced to kill Sandra’s adopted sister, Debbie, after Debbie broke into Sookie’s house with a gun, in an angry, jealous rage, after Alcide Herveaux abjured her. This wasn’t the first time Debbie Pelt had tried to kill Sookie. She attacked her hours before she broke into Sookie’s house during the witch war, and before that, Debbie threw Sookie into a car trunk with a blood deprived Bill, who eventually raped Sookie and nearly drained her before he regained his senses. Debbie did all of this because she was jealous of Sookie and Alcide, despite the fact that her relationship with Alcide was on-again-off-again, and despite the fact that Debbie was engaged for a portion of these attacks on Sookie. When Debbie showed up at Sookie’s house after the witch war, wielding a gun, Eric jumped in front of Sookie and took the bullet for her, giving Sookie time to grab the rifle she borrowed from Jason’s house and shoot Debbie in the head. Eric then buried Debbie’s body on the outskirts of Sookie’s property and hid her car somewhere else. Debbie and Sandra’s parents promised Sookie, Quinn, and Eric that they would keep Sandra in check, and told them that they accepted [albeit grudgingly] that Sookie had shot and killed Debbie Pelt justifiably, being that Debbie had attacked Sookie first, with the intent of killing her. Unfortunately, not long afterward, the Pelts died in a car accident, leaving Sandra to go about trying to kill Sookie.
Meanwhile, at home, Sookie is given a bag and a piece of paper which were hidden in a hidden compartment in a desk she had sold to Splendide. Sookie reads the letter which is from Gran, which describes the item inside of the drawstring bag, which is called a cluvial dor. It is a mystical item that gives the one receiving it as a gift [of love] one wish. The wish can be as big or as small as the receiver wishes—the only stipulation being that it MUST be used in love i.e. in the service of or to otherwise benefit someone the receiver loves. Gran may or may not have fully believed in this magic and never told Sookie, either out of shame or because she never thought Sookie was ready to hear about it—and her affair with Finton, but Sookie, being more familiar with magic, knows it’s for real and immediately enlists Amelia’s help in figuring out more about the cluvial dor. Sookie ruminates on the possibility that Gran could’ve used the cluvial for to save herself when Rene Leniere murdered her. Sookie hides the cluvial dor in her vanity, disguising it as a powder compact and telling no one about it—least of all her fae roommates.
Donald Calloway (the co-owner of Splendide) ends up finding out that the cluvial dor is valuable and wants to steal it back from Sookie. Sookie ends up killing Donald Calloway in self-defense, and Mr. Cotaliades and Diantha help her to cover it up and dispose of his body, giving her an alibi.
Sookie wonders why Eric has been in such a mood and ends up finding out, through Pam’s insistence, that Eric’s maker, Apius Livius Ocala, had made up a binding contract to pair Eric with Frida, the queen of Oklahoma. Eric has been covering up the fact that he’s been talking to Frida, and that this is basically a done deal. Sookie is hurt, and in the meantime, she enlists Amelia and Bob’s help in breaking the magical blood bond between her and Eric, which enrages Eric, since she didn’t consult him before doing so. Apparently, the blood bond was the thing which was offering Sookie the most protection—even more so than their marriage.
Sandra then ends up coming to Merlotte’s herself and freaks tf out on Sookie and is promptly arrested by Bud Dearborne, who can frequently be found at Merlotte’s, holding court and having dinner. Terry subdues Sandra with a baseball bat to the head and his PTSD goes hog wild. Terry is taken to the ER.
Sookie finds her door hanging open when she gets home from work one day not too much later. A were then downs a tree behind her car to trap her, so she gets out of her car, flings her milk jug at the were and runs over to Bills, where she doffs her clothes and shoes, shakes the rain off of her, grabs Bill’s spare key and enters his house. Despite the rain and darkness, it isn’t nightfall yet, and Bill is still dead for the day. Sookie finds his sleeping area and enters it to hide with him. Bill wakes up and falls back to sleep a few times and Sookie hushes him. Once Bill wakes up and sees Sookie naked, he jokes that he wonders whether she concocted this scenario just to be naked around Bill and potentially have sex with him. Sookie isn’t pleased about this and she puts on what she thinks is a table cloth, only to find out that it’s Bill’s late Aunt Edwina’s favorite shawl. Sookie and Bill finally head back to Sookie’s house and they find Dermot injured and bleeding from a head wound, having been attacked by the weres who came looking for Sookie (three guesses as to who hired them). Bill almost eats Dermot and Sookie but is able to leave her house before he does anything too crazy. Sookie calls one of the fae from Hooligans, an elf named Bellanos, who comes to help Dermot. Apparently, the best medicine for Dermot is the blood of the men who attacked him. That pretty much spells the end for them, and Dermot and Bellanos bring the severed head of one of the weres back to Sookie’s house to show her that they took care of the weres who attacked Dermot and tried to attack Sookie. Sookie vomits, but tries to be positive with Dermot and is, of course, glad that he has recovered. Sookie cuts Dermot a little bit of a break on having taken down Amelia’s protection spell (in order to put up an apparently stronger one of his own) since he was attacked and injured because of it.
Sookie lends Sam money to keep Merlotte’s afloat, since it is in a bit of a slump, due to Sam coming out as a shifter and Victor opening Vic’s Redneck Roadhouse. Sam balks at first, but then graciously accepts it. At a later surprise birthday party for Sookie at Merlotte’s, Sam presents Sookie with a certificate stating that she is 1/3 owner of Merlotte’s. Sookie then takes over managerial and ownership duties alongside Sam.
Sookie plans a baby shower for Tara (apparently in addition to Halle and Tara being pregnant, Porsche is pregnant too) for the day after Eric, Sookie and Pam plan to kill Victor. Mr. Cotaliades shows up afterward, having been chased by some hellhounds, and explains his relationship to Sookie, as well as what it means that he’s her sponsor. Sookie is both thankful for this and a little miffed that he waited until now to tell her all of this.
Sookie and Eric go through with their plan to kill Victor, which involves Sookie’s brilliant idea of Bill convincing Bubba to perform for Victor at an exclusive concert just for Victor at Fangtasia, being that Victor is a huge Elvis fan. Sadly, by the time the night of the concert rolls around, Miriam has died. Emanuel attends in honor of his sister Miriam, as do Audrina and Colton. Eric, Pam, Sookie and team succeed in killing Victor, despite the fact that he has replaced the two vampires he sent to kill Pam and Sookie (who Pam and Sookie ended up killing in self-defense, instead) in the last book with a notorious fighter called Akiro. This makes it even more difficult to kill Victor, and ends up causing the goofy, narcissistic human couple Victor swings with and drags around everywhere to become casualties. Sadly, Audrina is killed by Jock the bartender, a Victor loyalist and newly hired Fangtasia bartender, who was hired to replace Felicia, the sweet bartender who was dating Bobby Burnham, Eric’s old daytime man, who were both killed by Alexei killed in the previous book. Thankfully Indira kills Jock.
Sandra Pelt makes another gambit at freedom and at killing Sookie, when she escapes from jail (Bud Dearborn calls Sookie to let her know that Sandra has escaped from the Bon Temps holding cell she was taken to after the second fiasco at Merlotte’s), holding Sam and Janalynne (does anyone else absolutely HATE Janalynne’s name, by the way? Because holy cow, I have a major bias against that monstrosity of a name!) hostage and coaching Sam to spin a story that someone has dropped off a package at the bar and that Sookie should come out and get it. Sookie, knowing by Sam’s voice and general phone presence that something is not right, casually suggests to Sam that he and Janalynne bring the “package” out to her house, so she can open it there. Sam relays this information to Sandra, who is handicapped by her own stupid plan into acquiescing to Sookie’s request, has no choice but to haul her useless behind out to Sookie’s, with Sam and Janalynne in tow, where Sookie is waiting for them with her shotgun. Sookie, who should at this point be simultaneously kissing the boots of AND investing in Binelli stock, shoots Sandra, winging her so that Janalynne can take her out. Janalynne incapacitates Sandra long enough for the three of them to decide if they should kill her. Sookie decides that they should, and Sam agrees, citing the fact that she simply will not stop coming for Sookie if they don’t. Janalynne kills Sandra with hands interlaced and fisted brought down with force onto Sandra’s head, and they dispose of the body somewhat jovially (I mean, who wouldn’t? Sandra and the Pelt sisters have been a thorn in Sookie’s side for years!) in the faerie hole, where the two dimensions still connect in Sookie’s woods, where they immediately hear creatures fighting overeating the corpse (yuck!). Farewell, Sandra!
One character I feel the need to touch on before we say adieu to this week’s #bookreportsunday episode is Mustafa Khan. Mustafa is Eric’s new daytime man and a lone werewolf, wary of joining Alcide’s pack because of bad experiences he’s had in the past. Mustafa Khan has had his name changed to reflect personal growth after a stint in prison. His name was originally Keshawn Johnson, which for some reason makes Sookie and Eric keen to muse on whether or not he was related to/descended from Rashawn, the vampire lieutenant who was beheaded by either Ciabert or Waybert, fighting for the King of Kentucky in his doomed bid for power against Sophie Ann LeClair in the sixth entry in the franchise.
Another notable mention with regard to the plot of this book is Alcide Herveaux, who has, it is worth noting, turned into a complete jackwad. Alcide, at the behest and coaxing of Amelia, who can’t keep her damned mouth shut sometimes, who HATES Eric, Janalynne, who HATES Sookie and would do anything to see her in an uncomfortable or even potentially life-threatening situation, and Claude, who is a total frenemy to just about everyone he knows, turns up in Sookie’s bed the morning after she spent the night at Eric’s, looking “all sexy and rumpled” (that’s a direct quote from the book)” to entice Sookie into a relationship with him, AND, it is worth noting, to entice Sookie into a relationship with the pack, probably as their Shaman. Sookie is nonplussed and a little bit disappointed, as she had hoped that Alcide was a better person than that. Alcide finally listens to Sookie’s many valid complaints and concerns after she has stated and restated them several times, and leaves in a bit of a huff, leaving Sookie to tell her houseguests Amelia, Bob (who is apparently a complete wuss) and Claude, but not Dermot, as he was not involved, to leave.
This book was super jam-packed with information, plot development, and character development, but I feel like I’ve covered the lion’s share of what happened in this entry into the Sookieverse. Let me know if you feel I’ve forgotten anything or if you have any opinions or nuggets you’d like to add. If not, have an amazing day, take care of yourself and be well.