Dead Reckoning: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine HarrisDead Reckoning: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris

Dead Reckoning: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel

byCharlaine Harris

Hardcover | May 3, 2011

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New in the #1 New York Times bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series-the basis for HBO®'s True Blood!

With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his "child" Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows...
Charlaine Harris writes both fantasies and mysteries. She lives in southern Arkansas with her family.
Title:Dead Reckoning: A Sookie Stackhouse NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.34 × 6.25 × 1.32 inPublished:May 3, 2011Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0441020313

ISBN - 13:9780441020317


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazeballs Every book just keeps getting better and better. Can't wait to see who's in store next for Miss Sookie Stackhouse.
Date published: 2015-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dead Reck..... If you like True Blood, you will like this book! A must read!
Date published: 2014-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dead Reck..... loved it
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Dead reckoning I love these books
Date published: 2013-07-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from DEAD RECKONING A 3.5 book. It had lots of action and some suspense. And I love the Sookie scene in Bills house.
Date published: 2013-07-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from DEAD RECKONING Worst preview glad I got to read the acknowledgements and dedications.
Date published: 2013-05-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Supersexy viking vampire I reaally enjoy the fact that she and Eric have found each other, just hopes it stays that way :-)
Date published: 2013-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dead Reckoning Loved it...glad to see the Fairy storyline answered. Thanks Charlaine for another great Sookie adventure.
Date published: 2013-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great ending! Really enjoyed this book! Like all of the others, a nice easy read.
Date published: 2012-12-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I appreciate the day-to-day stuff 3.5 stars Summary for the 11th book in the series... Trying to do this without spoilers: Sookie has someone who wants her dead, some of her supernatural family is staying with her and she is learning more about her great-uncle, and Eric is in a political “battle”. Those are probably the main plotlines in this one. I'm still liking the series. It's funny because, though I like that the day-to-day stuff continues (for instance, Sookie has a baby shower planned for a friend, also Merlotte's is struggling) while Sookie is trying to avoid being murdered – in so many other books, any day-to-day stuff just gets set aside – I have to admit that it doesn't make for as exciting a book as if the entire story focused on Sookie's survival. I'm still liking it, though, and I do appreciate the day-to-day stuff still happening.
Date published: 2012-12-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from okay Sookie Stackhouse, small-town barmaid, is in the midst of trouble again. Sam's bar Merlotte's is fire-bombed and although the police think it is because of a back-lash against shifters, Sookie is not so sure. Eric, her vampire boyfriend, comes running to help because of their blood bond. Sookie is very uneasy about this blood bond and asks Amelia, a witch, to help her break the bond. In the meantime, Dermot and Claude, Sookie's fairy kin help her to clean out the attic. Sam suggests an antique dealer who can help her sell the unwanted furniture. While the dealer is inspecting the pieces he finds a secret drawer which reveals a velvet pouch with a cluviel dor, a fairy talisman. Lots of action and trouble in this book. I have not felt right about Eric for the last several books and this just keeps proving me right. Eric is not the man for Sookie. Also can Sookie not even pick friends right. What is it with Amelia and her actions? Does this mean if a girl always picks the 'bad' guy she also picks 'bad' friends?
Date published: 2012-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from True Fan I love all the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. This is book #11 and I cannot wait for the next one. I also watch True Blood on HBO which is the television series based on these books. I am what you would call a true fan. If you are not a true fan, that's fine. But don't hate.
Date published: 2012-05-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Colossal waste of time and money I am sooooo disappointed with this book!! If you have a hard time falling asleep...fret no more.. read two pages of this book and you will be sleeping like a baby. We wait 8 books for Eric and Sookie to get together because they have so much passion between the two of them and then when it finally happens it's an absolute bore! I don't think that I will waste my money when the next book comes out. I loved this series but now I am absolutely disapointed :(
Date published: 2011-09-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from More of the Same but Still Fun to Read Sookie Stackhouse is back yet again! Now that the vamps and shifters are public knowledge, she's married to Eric and still working away at her favourite bar and grill – Merlotte's. Life should be pretty good right? Well it would be, except that people aren't reacting well to the shifters big reveal, so Sookie's loved one's are constantly getting threatened. And Eric hasn't been around to much, since him and Pam starting plotting the death of there new leader. So in order to get things back to “normal” Sookie sets out to help in anyway that she can and ends up tangled in a mess she may not be cut out for. I didn't want to give to much away in my synopsis above but I have to say, when you take out the more specific details, Dead Reckoning sounds strikingly like a lot of other Sookie Stackhouse novels. That's not to say it wasn't a fun read, just a little repetitive. It's filled with the usual – Sookie, a naive young barmaid, gets in over her head and gets tangled up in a complicated mess. I generally enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse novels. They're a nice light read, with some fun characters and some steamy scenes. This one was no different. As always I love the quirkiness of some of the characters – particularly Pam. I LOVE Pam. I did find, however, that the plot felt a little forced. Many of the same situations have already been encountered by Sookie in one way or another. Even Sookie and Eric are beginning to lose their luster. I used to love them as a couple but now it seems that he's not around more often than he's there. It's hard to write a review of the 11th book in a series. It was a still a fun read, so if you're already a fan, definitely pick it up, you'll enjoy it. It's worth continuing on. If you haven't read any of the Sookie books, however, this book shouldn't be your motivation to start. This review was originally posted at Christa's Hooked on Books --
Date published: 2011-08-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved It As usual another amazing book in this series, I can't wait for the next one!
Date published: 2011-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! I am new to the Sookie Stackhouse series. After reading the first book, I couldn't wait to start the next. I read all eleven books plus the book of short stories in one week. I found that as the series progressed, the books simply got better and better. For those who watch True Blood - the books (other than the first) are very different from the show. The books are a must-read in my opinion. As always, the books are so much better than a television series or movie could ever show. As for "Dead Reckoning" specifically, I really liked it. I was sad to see it end knowing that I'd have to wait for the next in the series to be written! This book was full of everything: strong, interesting characters; excitement and surprises; drama, intrigue and romance; and it pulled you through several emotional stages right along with the main character. What I found most surprising was Harris's imaginative scope; I was reading and wondering where she finds all of her ideas. She seems to continuously come up with new, fresh, interesting twists for her readers with each book. I easily rate this book at 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone interested in this genre. I am looking forward to Charlaine Harris' next installment in the Sookie Stackhouse saga! I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out for Sookie and Eric.
Date published: 2011-08-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Did not like it.!! I loved her previous books but her last two are well BORING!! It takes forever to get to the point and when it does it's like Really that's it? There's no WOW to it at all. Very disappointing.
Date published: 2011-07-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Where's the Wow? Dead Reckoning, the latest Sookie book, continues not long from where Dead in the Family left off, and while I found it an enjoyable read, I still can't say that I was wowed by it like I have been previous installments. The story opens with a bang, literally, when Merlottes is fire-bombed. Unfortunately, Harris isn't able to keep the momentum going. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty going on here: firebombs; psycho-killers that have it in for Sookie on the loose; Victor's (the recently appointed Regent of Louisiana) machinations; scheming fairy relatives - we seem to have the whole gambit of romantic, political and economic issues. It was all entertaining and a treat to re-enter Sookie's world. I just can't say that I had that overwhelming 'wow' feeling when I finally closed the last page of the book. With only two installments left (I read somewhere that she plans to end the series at book 13), Harris has her work cut out for her to really amp up the Wow factor for the series finale. 2011-029
Date published: 2011-07-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from not as good as the previous books I did like the book and I like Charlaine Harris as an author but I think there is a reason her three other series' end between 4-8 books long. The Sookie Stackhouse plot is wearing thing, as the franchise has gained popularity I get the feeling that it's now more about making money then turning out quality books. The previous books in the series were longer, more exciting, and more unique.
Date published: 2011-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another great Sookie adventure! I have to say, I don't much care for True Blood, but I love the Sookie Stackhouse books! Much of the fun comes from the dialogue Charlaine Harris writes and the rest comes from the characters and great mythology. For followers of the story, this is a continuation of Sookie's adventures. A few mysteries are solved and a few new ones come up, setting us up for the next book. The one thing that bugged me was that Sookie didn't think of the obvious use for her cluviel dor, but I expect that will be addressed soon enough. Great series!
Date published: 2011-07-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from On, and on, and on, and on.... This book just won't end!! I am very saddened to say I am very dissapointed with this book and as a person who gives most books raving reviews, that is saying something. It seemed like the first quarter of the book went on and on about sookies hair!!! Really? Filler much? The sex scene was way under par, cheesy, tacky, and it just didn't fit in with what I'm used to reading from CH. I have been reading this book since the day it came out and I normally finish books in a couple if days. I am still not done! The not reason I am going to continue to torture my poor brain with this book is because I can not stand to leave a book unread and I want to continue to read a hopefully better book next year. I feel CH slacked with this book. No emotion, no excitement, just flat and boring. Hopefully she looks at some of these reviews and does a double take on how she wrote this book.
Date published: 2011-06-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Back to where we started? I guess I had a big enough break between the books coming out that I appreciated this one a little more than the last. However, Harris seems to really be pulling a PC Cast and every book seems to change Sookie's world as we know it. What started out as vampires has extended to weres, shapeshifters, witches, and fae. The fae to me seem the most out of place though they've become a very dominant part of the recent books. In this book there's a person out to kill sookie again, not even someone new, just recycling an old plot: Sandra Pelts sister. Been there, done that. Sookie has a wish. Wouldnt it be interesting if she wished for Jason to become human again? or for that matter Bill or Eric? I feel like this book really went full circle and just brought us all back to the same start we've been looping in for several books now. I think Harris jumped ship on the vamps too soon and a lot of these other plot arcs just aren't as good, interesting, or believable. it's not BAD. If you're a fan I would certainly continue to read it if not for only curiosity sake... but don't expect anything TOO amazing...w e're really beating a dead horse.
Date published: 2011-05-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from So Dissapointed. So disappointed. Period. I was looking forward to this book for months. I am a big fan of the series and have sadly found that they are getting worse as they continue. I have loved Sookie’s character and spark and in this book I did not feel any of that, she felt like a shell of her former self. She doesn’t seem to fight for what she wants and her character has left me wanting for more. Her actions and the actions of those around her just don’t seem to be organic or justified. I don’t even want to go into the forced feeling of the deterioration of Eric and Sookie’s relationship. In the book it does not seem like they are even dating due to the complete lack of any real communication between the two characters. This would be fine if it felt true to their nature. For me her writing style has fallen flat. Her previous books have felt like a full season and this book felt like barely an episode. I will of course finish reading the series but I am hoping that CH will read what her fans have written and will take the message to heart. I want to love the final books and I am holding out in the hope that I will be surprised.
Date published: 2011-05-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not Enough We've been waiting, and some say suffering through HBO to get at this new story, and I'm sorry to say, while I enjoyed the little tale, it just wasn't enough. Very little was accomplished in this book, except setting up what could be major plot lines in forthcoming books. Everything happened too quickly, and I feel as though nothing was resolved. Will I buy the next installment, of course I will, I'll take any dose of my favorite Vampires, but that's all this was, a dose. It could have been so much greater.
Date published: 2011-05-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Who wrote this? Dead Reckoning is the 11th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Sookie is married to area sheriff Eric Northman. Not married in the traditional sense but Blood Bonded vampire style. Eric has been acting differently and has been arguing with Pam. Pam is trying to tell Sookie something but Eric won't allow it. There is a big secret he is holding. He also wants to kill Victor, the Regent of Louisiana as he is making everyone miserable. Sookie is still living with her fae family Dermott and Claude and we get more information about the fae lifestyle and we get to know more about how Sookie came to be and why she's part fae. Well this book was good. It was better than the previous two. This book answered many unanswered question but also left us with a pretty big unanswered question when we finally find out what Eric's big secret is. I find myself less and less interested in these characters. The first 9 books I could not put down. I feel the characters are loosing their chemistry with each other. Especially Eric and Sookie. They were the reason I loved the series so much. I feel that this series needs to end soon because as a reader feel it's just dragging now. I find she is now writing these characters as she sees them from True Blood. I really love True Blood as it's own series, but I don't love what it's done to my Sookie books. I have often thought that the last 2 books seem to be written by another author. It just feels like Harris has lost the “Sookie” voice and “Sookie tone” to her books. Sookie was a lot more crass, swearing a lot and it felt so much like a screenplay. I didn’t feel like the same writer at all. I think Mrs. Harris is overextended and you can see it with the last few books and short stories. I will continue with this series to see it to it’s conclusion just because I’ve invested hours and hours into this series.
Date published: 2011-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sookie is always great... But this really feels like an "in-between" book. Though seemingly insignificant, many events in the book feel like a build up to future things in future books. My predictions? Eric will become king of some place or other. Sookie will be tempted by Bill, only to end up with Sam in the end. At some point, someone might kidnap Hunter, but all will end well. My gut tells me that there are plenty of books to come. Sure, this isn't the best Sookie book out of the lot, but only one can hold that title, right?
Date published: 2011-05-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Sookie needs to be done! Don't get me wrong, I've loved these novels and the HBO show, True Blood. I just think it is time to put Sookie and friends to rest, in book form at least. I think Charlaine Harris is believing, as long as the show is a hit, her books will continue to be as well, and I am sure this has sold lots already. There is no story left though!!! I have to agree with another lady, Eric's character and his interactions with Sookie are beyond dead! Please Ms. Harris, wrap it all up in the next book, since you didn't with this one!!!
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Slighty disappointed I'm a big fan of these book and have been since number one but I'm starting to get the feeling that we are running out of plot and that maybe its time for Sookie to get some rest.
Date published: 2011-05-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was ok, I guess it was another filler book but I'll take what I can get. Where do I even begin? I guess my major complaint with the book would be what's happening between Eric and Sookie. I loved Eric's character in previous books and find that he has lost his spark and the relationship between the two of them (which I have been patiently awaiting) is mediocre at best. In fact, I have never been a fan of Bill but I find in this book Bill and Eric's characters are almost reversed.....Charlaine what have you done to Eric?!!! A lot was left open, so you know there is more to come, which as always I am excited about but I almost feel let down after patiently waiting through so many books for it to start, could Eric and Sookie's relationship be coming to an end so soon???? On another note, typically these things don't bother me but I swear Charlaine Harris is awaiting grand children! I would normally never pick up on such a thing but why on earth was everything pregnant in this book? The air was pregnant, the anticipation was pregnant, geez half the women were pregnant. Maybe that was sookie's word of the day (I really miss those)....did anyone else notice this trend?LOL
Date published: 2011-05-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from yawn Expected better. The last two books have been very disappointing... a lot of randomness and fillers without the juicy bits. But of course I will still read on and hope for the best.
Date published: 2011-05-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Much Better than the last one... You've got to love Sookie. Over all this was a good book, would I recommend it? It was much better than Dead in the Family which I found to be slow, not something I expected form a Sookie novel. I would recommend for any one new to the series (1st, where have you been?) that you start from the beginning and see how Sookie became who she is now. You have to appreciate that she has grown and matured a lot over the course of the series. She has a little of her old self still in there but even she makes note of the changes in herself. She's stronger and quicker because of all that has happened. At the same time it wasn't nearly as fast paced as some of the earlier books which I am beginning to really miss when it comes to the series. Some of the story felt like a set up to make sure we get to where Harris wants us to be at the end of book 13, some of it feels as though ideas are running low, but it was nice to see a fair bit of Eric and Pam. I think it's about time that Sookie goes back on a road trip again, was getting tired just reading about all the house cleaning she did in this book. Although this book really makes you wonder one thing...where will Sookie end up at the end of book 13? And with Who? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Overall... better than the last one, but maybe not quite up to par. Lets hope for more next year.
Date published: 2011-05-11

Read from the Book

Table of ContentsTitle PageCopyright PageDedicationAcknowledgements Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14Chapter 15Chapter 16Chapter 17 Ace Books by Charlaine HarrisThe Sookie Stackhouse NovelsDEAD UNTIL DARK LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS CLUB DEAD DEAD TO THE WORLD DEAD AS A DOORNAIL DEFINITELY DEADALL TOGETHER DEAD FROM DEAD TO WORSE DEAD AND GONE DEAD IN THE FAMILY DEAD RECKONING A TOUCH OF DEAD: SOOKIE STACKHOUSE, THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES Ace Anthologies Edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. KelnerMANY BLOODY RETURNS WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE DEATH’S EXCELLENT VACATION Berkley Prime Crime Books by Charlaine HarrisSWEET AND DEADLY A SECRET RAGE The Harper Connelly Mysteries GRAVE SIGHT GRAVE SURPRISE AN ICE COLD GRAVE GRAVE SECRET The Lily Bard Mysteries SHAKESPEARE’S LANDLORD SHAKESPEARE’S CHAMPION SHAKESPEARE’S CHRISTMAS SHAKESPEARE’S TROLLOP SHAKESPEARE’S COUNSELOR The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries REAL MURDERS A BONE TO PICKTHREE BEDROOMS, ONE CORPSE THE JULIUS HOUSE DEAD OVER HEELS A FOOL AND HIS HONEY LAST SCENE ALIVE POPPY DONE TO DEATH Berkley Prime Crime Anthologies Edited by Charlaine Harris CRIMES BY MOONLIGHTTHE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUPPublished by the Penguin GroupPenguin Group (USA) Inc. 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USAPenguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, EnglandPenguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content. All rights reserved.No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Harris, Charlaine.Dead reckoning : a Sookie Stackhouse novel / Charlaine Harris. p. cm.—(Sookie Stackhouse / True blood ; 11)ISBN: 97811015143821. Stackhouse, Sookie (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Vampires—Fiction.3. Werewolves—Fiction. I. Title.PS3558.A6427D433 2011813’.54—dc222010054261 I have to dedicate this book to the memory of my mother. She would not have thought it strange to have an urban fantasy novel dedicated to her. She was my biggest fan and my most faithful reader. There was so much to admire about my mother. I miss her every day.ACKNOWLEDGMENTSI am afraid I’ll skip someone this time around, because I am fortunate enough to have a lot of great help as I work on these books. Let me thank my assistant and best friend, Paula Woldan, first and foremost, for allowing me the peace of mind to work without worry; my friends and readers Toni L. P. Kelner and Dana Cameron, who help me focus on the important aspects of the work at hand; Victoria Koski, who tries to keep the huge world of Sookie in order; and my agent, Joshua Bilmes, and my editor, Ginjer Buchanan, who work so hard to keep my professional train on the tracks. For this book, I had the excellent advice of Ellen Dugan, writer, mother, and witch.Chapter 1The attic had been kept locked until the day after my grandmother died. I’d found her key and opened it that awful day to look for her wedding dress, having the crazy idea she should be buried in it. I’d taken one step inside and then turned and walked out, leaving the door unsecured behind me.Now, two years later, I pushed that door open again. The hinges creaked as ominously as if it were midnight on Halloween instead of a sunny Wednesday morning in late May. The broad floorboards protested under my feet as I stepped over the threshold. There were dark shapes all around me, and a very faint musty odor—the smell of old things long forgotten.When the second story had been added to the original Stackhouse home decades before, the new floor had been divided into bedrooms, but perhaps a third of it had been relegated to storage space after the largest generation of Stackhouses had thinned out. Since Jason and I had come to live with my grandparents after our parents had died, the attic door had been kept locked. Gran hadn’t wanted to clean up after us if we decided the attic was a great place to play.Now I owned the house, and the key was on a ribbon around my neck. There were only three Stackhouse descendants—Jason, me, and my deceased cousin Hadley’s son, a little boy named Hunter.I waved my hand around in the shadowy gloom to find the hanging chain, grasped it, and pulled. An overhead bulb illuminated decades of family castoffs.Cousin Claude and Great-Uncle Dermot stepped in behind me. Dermot exhaled so loudly it was almost a snort. Claude looked grim. I was sure he was regretting his offer to help me clean out the attic. But I wasn’t going to let my cousin off the hook, not when there was another able-bodied male available to help. For now, Dermot went where Claude went, so I had two for the price of one. I couldn’t predict how long the situation would hold. I’d suddenly realized that morning that soon it would be too hot to spend time in the upstairs room. The window unit my friend Amelia had installed in one of the bedrooms kept the living spaces tolerable, but of course we’d never wasted money putting one in the attic.“How shall we go about this?” Dermot asked. He was blond and Claude was dark; they looked like gorgeous bookends. I’d asked Claude once how old he was, to find he had only the vaguest idea. The fae don’t keep track of time the same way we do, but Claude was at least a century older than me. He was a kid compared to Dermot; my great-uncle thought he was seven hundred years my senior. Not a wrinkle, not a gray hair, not a droop anywhere, on either of them.Since they were much more fairy than me—I was only one-eighth—we all seemed to be about the same age, our late twenties. But that would change in a few years. I would look older than my ancient kin. Though Dermot looked very like my brother, Jason, I’d realized the day before that Jason had crow’s-feet at the corners of his eyes. Dermot might not ever show even that token of aging.Pulling myself back into the here and now, I said, “I suggest we carry things down to the living room. It’s so much brighter down there; it’ll be easier to see what’s worth keeping and what isn’t. After we get everything out of the attic, I can clean it up after you two leave for work.” Claude owned a strip club in Monroe and drove over every day, and Dermot went where Claude went. As always . . .“We’ve got three hours,” Claude said.“Let’s get to work,” I said, my lips curving upward in a bright and cheerful smile. That’s my fallback expression.About an hour later, I was having second thoughts, but it was too late to back out of the task. (Getting to watch Claude and Dermot shirtless made the work a lot more interesting.) My family has lived in this house since there have been Stackhouses in Renard Parish. And that’s been well over a hundred and fifty years. We’ve saved things.The living room began to fill up in a hurry. There were boxes of books, trunks full of clothes, furniture, vases. The Stackhouse family had never been rich, and apparently we’d always thought we could find a use for anything, no matter how battered or broken, if we kept it long enough. Even the two fairies wanted to take a break after maneuvering an incredibly heavy wooden desk down the narrow staircase. We all sat on the front porch. The guys sat on the railing, and I slumped down on the swing.“We could just pile it all in the yard and burn it,” Claude suggested. He wasn’t joking. Claude’s sense of humor was quirky at best, minuscule the rest of the time.“No!” I tried not to sound as irritated as I felt. “I know this stuff is not valuable, but if other Stackhouses thought it ought to be stored up there, I at least owe them the courtesy of having a look at all of it.”“Dearest great-niece,” Dermot said, “I’m afraid Claude has a point. Saying this debris is ‘not valuable’ is being kind.” Once you heard Dermot talk, you knew his resemblance to Jason was strictly superficial.I glowered at the fairies. “Of course to you two most of this would be trash, but to humans it might have some value,” I said. “I may call the theater group in Shreveport to see if they want any of the clothes or furniture.”Claude shrugged. “That’ll get rid of some of it,” he said. “But most of the fabric isn’t even good for rags.” We’d put some boxes out on the porch when the living room began to be impassable, and he poked one with his toe. The label said the contents were curtains, but I could only guess what they’d originally looked like.“You’re right,” I admitted. I pushed with my feet, not too energetically, and swung for a minute. Dermot went in the house and returned with a glass of peach tea with lots of ice in it. He handed it to me silently. I thanked him and stared dismally at all the old things someone had once treasured. “Okay, we’ll start a burn pile,” I said, bowing to common sense. “Round back, where I usually burn the leaves?”Dermot and Claude glared at me.“Okay, right here on the gravel is fine,” I said. The last time my driveway had been graveled, the parking area in front of the house, outlined with landscape timbers, had gotten a fresh load, too. “It’s not like I get a lot of visitors.”By the time Dermot and Claude knocked off to shower and change for work, the parking area contained a substantial mound of useless items waiting for the torch. Stackhouse wives had stored extra sheets and coverlets, and most of them were in the same ragged condition as the curtains. To my deeper regret, many of the books were mildewed and mouse-chewed. I sighed and added them to the pile, though the very idea of burning books made me queasy. But broken furniture, rotted umbrellas, spotted place mats, an ancient leather suitcase with big holes in it . . . no one would ever need these items again.The pictures we’d uncovered—framed, in albums, or loose—we placed in a box in the living room. Documents were sorted into another box. I’d found some old dolls, too. I knew from television that people collected dolls, and perhaps these were worth something. There were some old guns, too, and a sword. Where was Antiques Roadshow when you needed it?Later that evening at Merlotte’s, I told my boss Sam about my day. Sam, a compact man who was actually immensely strong, was dusting the bottles behind the bar. We weren’t very busy that night. In fact, business hadn’t been good for the past few weeks. I didn’t know if the slump was due to the chicken processing plant closing or the fact that some people objected to Sam being a shapeshifter. (The two-natured had tried to emulate the successful transition of the vampires, but it hadn’t gone so well.) And there was a new bar, Vic’s Redneck Roadhouse, about ten miles west off the interstate. I’d heard the Redneck Roadhouse held all kinds of wet T-shirt contests, beer pong tournaments, and a promotion called “Bring in a Bubba Night”—crap like that.Popular crap. Crap that raked in the customers.Whatever the reasons, Sam and I had time to talk about attics and antiques.“There’s a store called Splendide in Shreveport,” Sam said. “Both the owners are appraisers. You could give them a call.”“How’d you know that?” Okay, maybe that wasn’t so tactful.“Well, I do know a few things besides tending bar,” Sam said, giving me a sideways look.I had to refill a pitcher of beer for one of my tables. When I returned, I said, “Of course you know all kinds of stuff. I just didn’t know you were into antiques.”“I’m not. But Jannalynn is. Splendide’s her favorite place to shop.”I blinked, trying not to look as disconcerted as I felt. Jannalynn Hopper, who’d been dating Sam for a few weeks now, was so ferocious she’d been named the Long Tooth pack enforcer—though she was only twenty-one and about as big as a seventh grader. It was hard to imagine Jannalynn restoring a vintage picture frame or planning to fit a plantation sideboard into her place in Shreveport. (Come to think of it, I had no idea where she lived. Did Jannalynn actually have a house?)“I sure wouldn’t have guessed that,” I said, making myself smile at Sam. It was my personal opinion that Jannalynn was not good enough for Sam.Of course, I kept that to myself. Glass houses, stones, right? I was dating a vampire whose kill list would top Jannalynn’s for sure, since Eric was over a thousand years old. In one of those awful moments you have at random, I realized that everyone I’d ever dated—though, granted, that was a short list—was a killer.And so was I.I had to shake this off in a hurry, or I’d be in a melancholy funk all evening.“You have a name and phone number for this shop?” I hoped the antiques dealers would agree to come to Bon Temps. I’d have to rent a U-Haul to get all the attic contents to Shreveport.“Yeah, I got it in my office,” Sam said. “I was talking to Brenda, the female half of the partnership, about getting Jannalynn something special for her birthday. It’s coming right up. Brenda—Brenda Hesterman—called this morning to tell me she had a few things for me to look at.”“Maybe we could go see her tomorrow?” I suggested. “I have things piled all over the living room and some out on the front porch, and the good weather won’t last forever.”“Would Jason want any of it?” Sam asked diffidently. “I’m just saying, family stuff.”“He got a piecrust table around a month ago,” I said. “But I guess I should ask him.” I thought about it. The house and its contents were mine, since Gran had left it to me. Hmmmm. Well, first things first. “Let’s ask Ms. Hesterman if she’ll come give a look. If there’s pieces that are worth anything, I can think about it.”“Okay,” Sam said. “Sounds good. Pick you up tomorrow at ten?”That was a little early for me to be up and dressed since I was working the late shift, but I agreed.Sam sounded pleased. “You can tell me what you think about whatever Brenda shows me. It’ll be good to have a woman’s opinion.” He ran a hand over his hair, which (as usual) was a mess. A few weeks ago he’d cut it real short, and now it was in an awkward stage of growing back. Sam’s hair is a pretty color, sort of strawberry blond; but since it’s naturally curly, now that it was growing out it couldn’t seem to pick a direction. I suppressed an urge to whip out a brush and make sense out of it. That was not something an employee should do to her boss’s head.Kennedy Keyes and Danny Prideaux, who worked for Sam parttime as substitute bartender and bouncer, respectively, came in to climb on two of the empty barstools. Kennedy is beautiful. She was first runner-up to Miss Louisiana a few years ago, and she still looks like a beauty pageant queen. Her chestnut hair’s all glossy and thick, and the ends wouldn’t dare to split. Her makeup is meticulous. She has manicures and pedicures on a regular basis. She wouldn’t buy a garment at Wal-Mart if her life depended on it.A few years ago her future, which should have included a country club marriage in the next parish and a big inheritance from her daddy, had been derailed from its path when she’d served time for manslaughter.Along with pretty nearly everyone I knew, I figured her boyfriend had had it coming, after I saw the pictures of her face swelling black-and-blue in her mug shots. But she’d confessed to shooting him when she called 911, and his family had a little clout, so there was no way Kennedy could walk. She’d gotten a light sentence and time off for good behavior, since she’d taught deportment and grooming to the other inmates. Eventually, Kennedy had done her time. When she’d gotten out, she’d rented a little apartment in Bon Temps, where she had an aunt, Marcia Albanese. Sam had offered her a job pretty much right after he met her, and she’d accepted on the spot.“Hey, man,” Danny said to Sam. “Fix us two mojitos?”Sam got the mint out of the refrigerator and set to work. I handed him the sliced limes when he was almost through with the drinks.“What are you all up to tonight?” I asked. “You look mighty pretty, Kennedy.”“I finally lost ten pounds!” she said, and when Sam deposited her glass in front of her, she lifted it to toast with Danny. “To my former figure! May I be on the road to getting it back!”Danny shook his head. He said, “Hey! You don’t need to do anything to look beautiful.” I had to turn away so I wouldn’t say, Aw.w.ww. Danny was one tough guy who couldn’t have grown up in a more different environment than Kennedy—the only experience they’d had in common was jail—but boy, he was carrying a big torch for her. I could feel the heat from where I stood. You didn’t have to be telepathic to see Danny’s devotion.We hadn’t drawn the curtains on the front window yet, and when I realized it was dark outside, I started forward. Though I was looking out from the bright bar to the dark parking lot, there were lights out there, and something was moving . . . moving fast. Toward the bar. I had a slice of a second to think Odd, and then caught the flicker of flame.“Down!” I yelled, but the word hadn’t even gotten all the way out of my mouth when the window shattered and the bottle with its fiery head landed on a table where no one was sitting, breaking the napkin holder and scattering the salt and pepper shakers. Burning napkins flared out from the point of impact to drift down to the floor and the chairs and the people. The table itself was a mass of fire almost instantly.Danny moved faster than I’d ever seen a human move. He swept Kennedy off her stool, flipped up the pass-through, and shoved her down behind the bar. There was a brief logjam as Sam, moving even faster, grabbed the fire extinguisher from the wall and tried to leap through the pass-through to start spraying.I felt heat on my thighs and looked down to see that my apron had been ignited by one of the napkins. I’m ashamed to say that I screamed. Sam swiveled around to spray me and then turned back to the flames. The customers were yelling, dodging flames, running into the passage that led past the bathrooms and Sam’s office through to the back parking lot. One of our perpetual customers, Jane Bodehouse, was bleeding heavily, her hand clapped to her lacerated scalp. She’d been sitting by the window, not her usual place at the bar, so I figured she’d been cut by flying glass. Jane staggered and would have fallen if I hadn’t grabbed her arm.“Go that way,” I yelled in her ear, and shoved her in the right direction. Sam was spraying the biggest flame, aiming at the base of it in the approved manner, but the napkins that had floated away were causing lots of little fires. I grabbed the pitcher of water and the pitcher of tea off the bar and began methodically tracking the flames on the floor. The pitchers were full, and I managed to be pretty effective.One of the window curtains was on fire, and I took three steps, aimed carefully, and tossed the remaining tea. The flame didn’t quite die out. I grabbed a glass of water from a table and got much closer to the fire than I wanted to. Flinching the whole time, I poured the liquid down the steaming curtain. I felt an odd flicker of warmth behind me and smelled something disgusting. A powerful gust of chemicals made a strange sensation against my back. I turned to try to figure out what had happened and saw Sam whirling away with the extinguisher.I found myself looking through the serving hatch into the kitchen. Antoine, the cook, was shutting down all the appliances. Smart. I could hear the fire engine in the distance, but I was too busy looking for yellow flickers to feel much relief. My eyes, streaming with tears from the smoke and the chemicals, were darting around like pinballs as I tried to spot flames, and I was coughing like crazy. Sam had run to retrieve the second extinguisher from his office, and he returned holding it ready. We rocked from side to side on our feet, ready to leap into action to extinguish the next flicker.Neither of us spotted anything else.Sam aimed one more blast at the bottle that had caused the fire, and then he put down the extinguisher. He leaned over to plant his hands on his thighs and inhaled raggedly. He began coughing. After a second, he bent down to the bottle.“Don’t touch it,” I said urgently, and his hand stopped halfway down.“Of course not,” he said, chiding himself, and he straightened up. “Did you see who threw it?”“No,” I said. We were the only people left in the bar. I could hear the fire engine getting closer and closer, so I knew we had only a minute more to talk to each other alone. “Coulda been the same people who’ve been demonstrating out in the parking lot. I don’t know that the church members are into firebombs, though.” Not everyone in the area was pleased to know there were such creatures as werewolves and shapeshifters following the Great Reveal, and the Holy Word Tabernacle in Clarice had been sending its members to demonstrate at Merlotte’s from time to time.“Sookie,” Sam said, “sorry about your hair.”“What about it?” I said, lifting my hand to my head. The shock was setting in now. I had a hard time making my hand mind my directions.“The end of your ponytail got singed,” Sam said. And he sat down very suddenly. That seemed like a good idea.“So that’s what smells so bad,” I said, and collapsed on the floor beside him. We had our backs against the base of the bar, since the stools had gotten scattered in the melee of the rush out the back door. My hair was burned off. I felt tears run down my cheeks. I knew it was stupid, but I couldn’t help it.Sam took my hand and gripped it, and we were still sitting like that when the firefighters rushed in. Even though Merlotte’s is outside the city limits, we got the official town firefighters, not the volunteers.“I don’t think you need the hose,” Sam called. “I think it’s out.” He was anxious to prevent any more damage to the bar.Truman La Salle, the fire chief, said, “You two need first aid?” But his eyes were busy, and his words were almost absentminded.“I’m okay,” I said, after a glance at Sam. “But Jane’s out back with a cut on her head, from the glass. Sam?”“Maybe my right hand got a little burned,” he said, and his mouth compressed as if he was just now feeling the pain. He released my hand to rub his left over his right, and he definitely winced this time.“You need to take care of that,” I advised him. “Burns hurt like the devil.”“Yeah, I’m figuring that out,” he said, his eyes squeezing shut.Bud Dearborn came in as soon as Truman yelled, “Okay!” The sheriff must have been in bed, because he had a thrown-together look and was minus his hat, a reliable part of his wardrobe. Sheriff Dearborn was probably in his late fifties by now, and he showed every minute of it. He’d always looked like a Pekinese. Now he looked like a gray one. He spent a few minutes going around the bar, watching where his feet went, almost sniffing the disarray. Finally he was satisfied and came up to stand in front of me.“What you been up to now?” he asked.“Someone threw a firebomb in the window,” I said. “None of my doing.” I was too shocked to sound angry.“Sam, they aiming for you?” the sheriff asked. He wandered off without waiting for an answer.Sam got up slowly and turned to reach his left hand to me. I gripped it and he pulled. Since Sam’s much stronger than he looks, I was on my feet in a jiffy.Time stood still for a few minutes. I had to think that I was maybe a bit in shock.As Sheriff Dearborn completed his slow and careful circuit of the bar, he arrived back at Sam and me.By then we had another sheriff to deal with.Eric Northman, my boyfriend and the vampire sheriff of Area Five, which included Bon Temps, came through the door so quickly that when Bud and Truman realized he was there, they jumped, and I thought Bud was going to draw his weapon. Eric gripped my shoulders and bent to peer into my face. “Are you hurt?” he demanded.It was like his concern gave me permission to drop my bravery. I felt a tear run down my cheek. Just one. “My apron caught fire, but I think my legs are okay,” I said, making a huge effort to sound calm. “I only lost a little hair. So I didn’t come out of it too bad. Bud, Truman, I can’t remember if you’ve met my boyfriend, Eric Northman from Shreveport.” There were several iffy facts in that sentence.“How’d you know there was trouble here, Mr. Northman?” Truman asked.“Sookie called me on her cell phone,” Eric said. That was a lie, but I didn’t exactly want to explain our blood bond to our fire chief and our sheriff, and Eric would never volunteer any information to humans.One of the most wonderful, and the most appalling, things about Eric loving me was that he didn’t give a shit about anyone else. He ignored the damaged bar, Sam’s burns, and the police and firefighters (who were keeping track of him from the corners of their eyes) still inspecting the building.Eric circled me to evaluate the hair situation. After a long moment, he said, “I’m going to look at your legs. Then we’ll find a doctor and a beautician.” His voice was absolutely cold and steady, but I knew he was volcanically angry. It rolled through the bond between us, just as my fear and shock had alerted him to my danger.“Honey, we have other things to think about,” I said, forcing myself to smile, forcing myself to sound calm. One corner of my brain pictured a pink ambulance screeching to a halt outside to disgorge emergency beauticians with cases of scissors, combs, and hair spray. “Dealing with a little hair damage can wait until tomorrow. It’s a lot more important to find out who did this and why.”Eric glared at Sam as if the attack were Sam’s responsibility. “Yes, his bar is far more important than your safety and well-being,” he said. Sam looked astonished at this rebuke, and the beginnings of anger flickered across his face.“If Sam hadn’t been so quick with the fire extinguisher, we’d all have been in bad shape,” I said, keeping up with the calm and the smiling. “In fact, both the bar and the people in it would have been in a lot more trouble.” I was running out of faux serenity, and of course Eric realized it.“I’m taking you home,” he said.“Not until I talk to her.” Bud showed considerable courage in asserting himself. Eric was scary enough when he was in a good mood, much less when his fangs ran out as they did now. Strong emotion does that to a vamp.“Honey,” I said, holding on to my own temper with an effort. I put my arm around Eric’s waist, and tried again. “Honey, Bud and Truman are in charge here, and they have their rules to follow. I’m okay.” Though I was trembling, which of course he could feel.“You were frightened,” Eric said. I felt his own rage that something had happened to me that he had not been able to prevent. I suppressed a sigh at having to babysit Eric’s emotions when I wanted to be free to have my own nervous breakdown. Vampires are nothing if not possessive when they’ve claimed someone as theirs, but they’re also usually anxious to blend into the human population, not cause any unnecessary waves. This was an overreaction.

Editorial Reviews

“Doesn’t disappoint fans of the southern mind-reading belle who gets mixed up in the world of vampires and magical creatures…It’s the perfect poolside read.”—The Kansas City Star

“This was a fast paced and entertaining read that had me glued to my seat and turning those pages to see just who would show up and what was going to happen next.”—Fresh Fiction