Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
Before Sookie heads to work, she watches a few minutes of a new vampire makeover show on TV with Amelia. Is that important, no, but it sounds delightful and we should all want to watch it. Sookie asks if Amelia is going out with Dawson that night, yes, they're going to come by Merlotte's, and if she's stopped dating Pam, also yes, but we're sad about it. Then Sookie plucks from Amelia's head that tonight is the night. Not a proposal from Dawson or anything like that, but it is the night that the Weres and shifters are going to reveal themselves to the world.
TVs are on around Merlotte's and when a special bulletin breaks in to the sports or whatever else is always on in a bar, Sam and Dawson prepare themselves. As the cute, dainty representative from Alcide's werewolf pack transforms live on TV, Sam and Dawson shift, too. Bill is also in the bar, along with Clancy, another of Eric's cohort, and they stand ready to stop anything bad from happening after the reveal, but luckily, nothing too terrible happens. Arlene does spew hatred and quit, but really, she's not a big loss. Sam goofily hides his nose and whimpers after she leaves which gets a laugh and breaks the tension. After the excitement dies down and Sam and Dawson shift back, however, Sam gets a call from his stepdad. He shot Sam's mom after she shifted and now she's headed to the hospital. Sam leaves the bar in Sookie's hands.
Sookie goes home that night, sees she has a phone message but decides to go to bed and call whoever that was back later. The next day and first up as acting manager, Sookie calls a few former barmaids to replace Arlene and ends up having to ask Tanya to help. After Amelia and Octavia bewitched her to stop bothering Sookie, she actually hasn't been too bad and is happy to help out. While at Merlotte's, Eric's day man, Bobby, comes in with a velvet wrapped bundle and instructs Sookie to give it to Eric that night at Fangtasia. She takes it without question and leaves for the vampire bar after her shift at Merlotte's.
Victor, King Felipe's second in command, is in Eric's office when Sookie arrives. She passed by Pam on her way in who was shocked that she didn't open the package and told her to hand it to Eric in a meaningful way, so she awkwardly presents it to him. It's the knife from the wedding ceremony Eric performed in Rhodes at the vampire summit, and now, with this handing over of the knife, Sookie and Eric are apparently engaged or married or something equally important to vampires. Victor was there to discuss a request that Quinn made to see Sookie, but now that Sookie is whatever she is to Eric, the request is denied. Sookie is pretty pissed that she's accidentally married to Eric, but she can't help feeling peaceful and loving to him, most likely because of their blood bond.
The next day, bright and early, two FBI agents, Weiss and Lattesta, arrive at Sookie's house. They are interested in what she and Barry the Bellboy did after the explosion at the Pyramid of Gizeh, but Sookie pretends she doesn't know Barry and that she's just good at finding things. Sure Sookie. Yeah. Luckily before the agents can pester Sookie too much about her abilities, which they believe to be psychic, there's a phone call from Merlotte's. Sookie's got to get there right away, and the FBI agents had better go too. Someone's been crucified in the parking lot.
Sookie arrives on the scene and is distraught to see that the crucifixion victim is her unfaithful sister-in-law Crystal, who is partially-panthered. Sookie calls Sam to let him know, and he says his mom is doing better and will fully recover, so he'll head back soon. Everyone around either thinks that Crystal was murdered because she was a panther, or they think Jason is responsible and some don't even blame him because of how shitty she was, but Sookie knows he didn't do it. He wouldn't hurt Crystal, and more importantly, he wouldn't hurt his unborn child.
Sookie has to stay at Merlotte's during the investigation. She suggests they call Calvin because he needs to know and also because he can help. While the investigation is happening, Sookie reads newspapers she's had in her car and learns that not everyone is happy about shifters and Weres being out because they feel betrayed. Jason shows up a little bit later and says he didn't do it and then Calvin comes but can't get a good sniff on who killed Crystal.
Back at the house, Sookie talks to Octavia. She's feeling really bad about still being at Sookie's house and taking advantage of her generosity. She offers to do an Ectoplasmic Reconstruction to find out who killed Crystal, but the parking lot of Merlotte's would be a lot of ground to cover and that might not even be where she died, so it probably wouldn't work anyway. Merlotte's is still closed and Sookie really wants to talk to someone about her terrible day, so she goes to see Eric at Fangtasia. She plans to tell him off about the surprise knife wedding, but instead they have a good long chat about how Eric became a vampire and about his wife and children. It's a very meaningful story, and it's a surprise that Eric shared that with Sookie. They also talk about her not wanting to work for the FBI because she just wants to be her own person and do her own things.
The next day, Andy Bellefleur calls and tells Sookie she can open Merlotte's back up, but luckily, Sam makes it back in time to do that, so Sookie gets to go home. Before she leaves, she tells Sam that she's surprise knife married to Eric, thinking it’ll be kind of funny but he gets mad at her for being stupid. Seriously? How was she supposed to know giving Eric a knife would mean that they're vampire married? She leaves in a huff and goes to see Tara. Tara makes Sookie feel better about her situation with Eric, after all, he's never done anything to hurt her and has always taken care of her and helped her when she needed it. That makes Sookie feel much better, and so does the fact that Tara reveals she is pregnant. At home, an old man named Louis calls for Octavia. After their phone call, Octavia is very emotional and lets Sookie and Amelia know that Louis is her old flame who she couldn't find after Katrina.
At work later, Sam’s still a little angry about the knife marriage, and he gets even more upset because Eric’s day man Bobby is there to deliver an envelope to Sookie from Eric, but he obviously doesn’t like her or having to do her bidding. Sam thinks it’s bad for Sookie to have another person on her list that doesn’t like her. Big deal! No one likes her! Well, that’s not necessarily true. Niall is there and he likes her quite a bit. They have a chat about the FBI agents who are also there at the bar and about Crystal’s death. He says he’ll help figure out what happened to her, but that he’s been preoccupied with something else that’s been going on. He leaves Merlotte’s with a warning to Sookie that if she should encounter any fairies other than himself, Claudine or Claude, she should call him immediately.
After Niall leaves, Weiss and Lattesta talk to Sookie about him a little, but then Sookie has to get back to work. Later, she reads their minds and discovers that Weiss thinks that Sookie has a gift and Lattesta really thinks he’d be doing Sookie a great service if he were to get her out of this little backwater town, and that if she really could do what he thinks she can, his career would skyrocket. What would that be like for Sookie though? Since she’s telepathic and not psychic, it would certainly be difficult for her to be in the right place at the right time to overhear someone thinking about whatever evil deed the FBI is interested in them for. There probably would be some good she could do in the world, but she really doesn’t want to leave Bon Temps.
When Sookie gets home later, there's another car outside. It's Louis and he's come to take Octavia home to New Orleans with him. Sookie and Amelia are excited that they’ll have the house to themselves again and have a nice chat about Octavia and her man, who is definitely a warlock or something, living their best lives down in New Orleans. As she goes to bed, Sookie remembers the envelope that Bobby brought to her at Merlotte’s so she gets it out and opens it up. Inside, she’s pleasantly surprised to find a very saucy photograph of Eric. It’s very nearly the exact picture he used for his Mr. January pose from the Fantasia calendar they put out, but he’s very much more naked, which Sookie quite enjoys.
The next morning, Andy Bellefleur and the FBI agents come by to see Sookie. They’ve discovered Crystal’s time of death and for some reason ask her questions about Dawson, who didn’t have anything to do with it. Talk then shifts to him being a werewolf and how long Sookie has known of the existence of were-creatures. She tells Andy that he’s known about them, too, ever since that time back in Dead as a Doornail when they were searching for that person who kept shooting random people and they made Sookie pretend to have had sex with Dawson because he was in werewolf form and got shot then turned back into a naked man. They talk about the idea that Crystal’s death was a hate crime and Sookie says she’ll listen in at the bar and will let them know if she hears anything new.
After Andy and the FBI leave, Sookie has her house to herself for the first time in a long time. She puts on a bikini even though it's January and sits out in the sun for a bit, but then Diantha pops up. She tells Sookie that Mr. Cataliades wants to warn her about other fairies and how they killed her grandfather Fintan and that she needs to be wary, which is pretty much the same advice Niall gave her, so she’s feeling extra nervous now. After Diantha leaves, Sookie decides to call Claude and Claudine to get more information. They meet for lunch at the mall, Claudine putting away an exceptional amount of Chick-fil-A, and Sookie learns a little about her extended fairy family.
Not many of the other fairies like humans as much as Niall does. Another member of the fairy royal family, Breandan believes that any humans with fairy blood are taking magic away from actual fairies and that they should all be killed. Some fairies believe as Niall does and some believe as Breandan does, so Sookie should avoid all fairies she doesn't know, especially Dermot, her grandfather Fintan’s twin brother, who happens to look exactly like Jason. Dermot doesn’t like humans and he has always defied Niall, which explains why Niall doesn’t like him very much, and also why he doesn’t like Jason either.
At home later, Sookie decides to do some gardening so she goes to the old tool shed that's been in her family for ages. She gets the old old trowel and gets to work weeding. Someone she doesn't know walks up behind her and says that he'll enjoy killing her for his Lord, so she turns around and trowels him. The trowel is made of iron, so the fairy dies almost instantly. Sookie calls Niall and he and Claude and Claudine's dad Dillon show up. They praise Sookie for killing the fairy, called Murry, and suggest she just hose his remains away and then leave.
Then, as if her day hasn't been bad enough, Quinn shows up even though Eric denied his request to meet with her and even be in the area. He yells at Sookie about how Eric will never give up Fangtasia for her and Bill will never give up his vampire phonebook and Sam will never give up his bar and that basically no one will ever love her and it's not fair that she doesn't expect any of them to give up anything for her but he has to. She gets mad and then Bill shows up and he and Quinn fight with Sookie in the middle. She gets knocked out and wakes up in bed later with Eric. Ooh la la.
Eric asks Sookie if she loves Quinn, or maybe he meant Bill, but either way, no. She wishes she could have had something with Quinn, but then that went south and now, Eric is the only guy she's interested in. She can't really tell if it's the blood bond or what, but she's not going to like anyone else, so they have sex. Lots and lots of sex. In between multiple bangs, they have meaningful and silly conversations, and then Sookie tells Eric about the other fairies and that she killed one. He gets worried and offers to let Sookie stay with him in his house, which he's never offered to anyone but Pam before. She surprises Eric by telling him that she doesn't want to be a kept woman but she appreciates his concern. He leaves and Sookie notices Bill standing outside watching as Eric flies away, but she's not mad at him, surprisingly.
The next day, Jason is outside Sookie's house. He really wants her to find out what happened with Crystal and he also tells her that he's lonely without his BFF Hoyt who is now engaged to Holly and not hanging around Jason as much. Jason's got a new friend, Mel, who is also a panther but who has left Hot Shot, so at least he's still got a friend, but everything would really be better if Sookie could figure out who killed his wife.
After Jason leaves, Sookie checks her messages and finds that Arlene has called, and so has Sam. Arlene's message is that she wants to be friendly with Sookie again. Sam's message is work related, so she calls Sam first and he says that Arlene called him and wants to come back to work, but he's not sure he should let her and he wants Sookie's advice. They decide no, she's not worth it. Even if she's changed her mind about being so terrible about everyone who's not human and a member of the Fellowship of the Sun, she's still pretty awful. Sookie decides to call Arlene back next and see if they can mend their friendship at least a little bit.
Arlene tells Sookie to come by her place in a little bit, but Sookie gets a weird feeling and decides to go over immediately, but parks next door to investigate. Good thing! Arlene has two Fellowship of the Sun guys at her house who plan to crucify Sookie. Oh shit. Did they kill Crystal? No, but they were inspired by her murder. Sookie calls Andy Bellefleur who is with the FBI agents and are now on their way over. After Arlene sends her kids away with a friend, Sookie approaches and reveals she knows what they were planning to do, then Andy and the FBI show up and they have a gunfight. One of the agents is not mortally shot and one of the crucifiers is shot and killed. Andy takes them away.
Sookie gets a phone call later when she’s thinking about how terrible Arlene is and what’s going to happen to her kids. Remy Savoy, her ex-cousin-in-law, has called to see if Sookie can help him with Hunter, her telepathic nephew. She doesn’t want to drag them into any of the terrible things that are currently happening in her life, so she offers to get back in touch with him later. The next time Sookie’s at Merlotte’s, she spends the day trying to figure out who killed Crystal but doesn't come up with anything. Then she is invited to the movies by Amelia and Dawson. Dawson has a buddy, Drake, who looks remarkably like Jason and he wants to get to know Sookie. Amelia has told him lots of stuff about her already, which is terrible because Drake is obviously Dermot, and now he knows pretty much everything about Sookie. Oh great.
Sookie decides to call in her favor with king Felipe and gets Eric to ask for a bodyguard. He ends up sending Bubba, and that's better than nothing. Alcide also gets in contact with Sookie and offers Dawson, which is good because he's already dating Amelia and already around. The next day, however, Sookie wakes to Dawson being violently ill in the bathroom. Someone claiming to be Bill's new girlfriend, aka definitely an evil fairy, tricked him into drinking vampire blood, but instead of him going rage crazy and killing everyone, Dawson was just poisoned instead. Sookie convinces him to go home and says she'll call Jason for daytime protection instead.
Jason and Mel come over and tell Sookie that a crazy guy that looked just like Jason came over to his house, threw Mel against the wall, told Jason that he just did him a favor and then left. Oh shit. Dermot. Sookie then tells Jason everything about their family and the fairies and how Niall is good and Dermot is bad and he's working for a guy who's even worse. Jason and Mel go back to Jason's to get a gun and when Sookie comes to get Jason later, she has a bad feeling. Why would Dermot throw Mel across the room? Oh. Uh oh. Sookie calls Calvin for backup.
At Jason's, he and Mel are in the backyard shooting guns. Sookie questions Mel about why Dermot threw him across the room and then Jason holds him down while Sookie looks inside his head. What comes out is not good. Mel is in love with Jason and got kicked out of Hot Shot for being unable to procreate because he's gay. While he was at Jason's alone a few days ago, Crystal came by, taunting him. She told him he had to have sex with her so he could go back to Hot Shot and live with Jason, but then she called him a pussy and was really gross about Mel being turned on by Jason's baby in her belly. He slapped her, thought he killed her, and left for a second, but when he came back, Crystal was gone. Calvin and a couple other panthers arrive and hear this confession and, even though Mel didn't actually kill Crystal, they tear him to shreds anyway.
Sookie goes to work after this with plans to meet up with Amelia at Dawson's after she gets off. She manages to make it through the day even though she's a little unfocused and then heads home. Whoops! She was supposed to go to Dawson's, so she turns around and heads that way, nearly an hour late. When she arrives, Amelia's car isn't there and it seems that no one is inside. She calls Amelia. No answer. She calls Dawson. No answer. Panicked, Sookie calls Bill who immediately comes to her aid. While Bill investigates the inside of Dawson's place, Amelia calls back. She's perfectly fine, but went home after Sookie never showed. Then Bill comes out. There's a lot of blood inside and it seems that Dawson has been taken somewhere against his will. They plan to go back to Sookie's and decide what to do from there. Sookie gets home a few minutes before Bill arrives, but as she's walking to her door, she hears someone mumble something and then she's knocked out.
Sookie wakes up in a dilapidated old house with two fairies torturing her. Breandan told them they could do whatever they wanted with her as long as they didn't kill her, and their plan became to torture her long enough for Niall to come to her aid and call off the fairy war to save her. Then Breandan would be able to close off all the portals into Faery since he hates humans so much and then humans and fairies would be forever separated. The two violently torture Sookie until she's ready to die, but then Bill and Niall show up. Niall decapitates one of the fairies and Bill bites the other, but she stabs him with a silver blade and bites him with silver capped teeth before she dies.
Sookie wakes up in Dr. Ludwig's makeshift hospital to find Claudine knitting in the corner. Dr. Ludwig says that Sookie will be fine, which is odd since she's only human, but that Dawson's probably not going to make it and Bill has silver poisoning. Oh no. She's not strong enough to get out of bed on her own, so she and Claudine chat for a little while. She's been in a fight recently and is all scraped up, but she's semi-peacefully knitting now, waiting for Breandan to show up. Sookie asks what she's knitting and it turns out to be a baby sweater. Claudine is pregnant!
Eric arrives not much later and gives Sookie lots of his blood, trying to get her well enough to move because Breandan is on his way and Dr. Ludwig is evacuating her facility. Sookie tells Eric she called out in her mind for him to come save her while she was being tortured, but it was Bill who showed up instead. He's devastated and tells her he'll explain later and she'll understand. Then they go see Bill and Dawson. Bill looks rough and is getting blood from Clancy, another vampire who doesn't much care for Sookie, and Dawson's nearly dead. Unfortunately, Breandan and his evil fairies arrive not too long after. Luckily Sookie somehow still has her purse and inside it are her iron trowel and water guns she bought and filled with lemon juice.
The fairies break down the door. Eric and Bill are armed with iron blades and Sookie has her trowel and lemon gun. Breandan is there and a lady fairy with a mace and some others. They mock Bill and Dawson and then Clancy is maced in the head. Eric begins fighting and Bill throws his knife, then Breandan approaches Sookie and Bill steps in front of her. Then, with his last bit of strength, Dawson grabs Breandan's shirt. Breandan kills him but then Bill stabs Breandan with Sookie's trowel. He dies surprisingly quickly. Sookie sprays another in the face with her lemon gun and Eric kills her, then Niall comes in and declares himself the last fairy prince. The fight is over.
Later, Niall comes to visit Sookie to say goodbye. He has decided to close the doors to Faery, which is funny because that's what Breandan wanted to do and what the whole fairy war was about anyway. Unfortunately, Claudine didn't survive the fight and also unfortunately, Dermot is missing. Hopefully they'll be able to find him before Niall closes the doors for good. Amelia is distraught about Dawson and Sookie is still mending, but she, Bill and Eric survived. As Niall leaves, he tells her that she will be safe and that the vampire loves her. But which one is he talking about?