Dead In the Family by Charlaine Harris
Several weeks have passed since the end of the Fairy War and Sookie's wounds are healing, her exterior ones more so than the interior, thanks to Eric's blood. Many were lost in the war, but Sookie feels Dawson's and Claudia's most deeply. Amelia, her witch roommate and Dawson's girlfriend, has decided to move back to New Orleans since she's lost Dawson and Sookie understands. As she's leaving, Amelia asks Sookie if she loves Eric, and she does, but she doesn't know if it's because of the blood bond. Enough! Even though Amelia will be facing punishment from her coven after turning Bob into a cat for a while, she offers to ask Octavia if there's anything Sookie can do to break the bond.
Claude comes to visit Sookie and he brings with him a note from Niall, written on fairy corpse flesh, telling her he's gotten rid of the FBI for her. Well that's nice! Claude sticks around for a bit, wanting to spend time with another fairy after losing Claudine and find out how she died. Sookie explains that it was Breandan who killed her and Bill who killed him. She worries that Claude is going to exact some kind of vengeance on her, but he leaves peacefully.
A few days later, Sookie spends the night with Eric and he explains why he couldn't save her when she was being tortured by the fairies. Victor claimed to not remember that King Felipe had promised Sookie protection and when Eric tried to go to her, he chained him with silver and told him he couldn't take a side in the fairy war. It's confusing why Victor would claim such a thing and we all want him to die at this point, so it's great when Sookie suggests it to Eric.
A little bit later, Sookie eats dinner with Jason and his girlfriend Michele. They talk a little about Eric being sheriff and about Jason not coming out with the other panthers after all the shifters revealed themselves and a little about the fairy war and how they've hopefully all gone back to Faery, except for Claude because he's still here. Before Sookie leaves, Jason asks if he can come pick up a table that's in Sookie's attic and she says that's fine. She finally feels like herself again after weeks of suffering after being tortured.
At Merlotte's, Sam notices Sookie smiling again for the first time in a while, which is sweet. Sookie picks up that Sam is probably dating someone and she's glad he's happy. Things seem to be back to normal, for the most part, though Sam tells Sookie she should go visit Bill. After work, Sookie crosses the cemetery and goes to his house. Bill is still suffering from silver poisoning after being bitten by one of the torturers in the fairy war and is not healing well and is very depressed. Sookie finds out that if Bill had been able to drink from his maker, Lorena, who Sookie murdered several books ago, he would already be healed. Sookie asks if drinking from a sibling vampire would work similarly but Bill doesn't know and refuses to contact his vampire sister. As Sookie leaves, Bill asks if she loves Eric, yes, and if she'll give him a kiss. The proximity to her fairy blood helps him feel better.
Alcide calls Sookie a little bit later to see if his pack can use her land for their full moon nights because there are fishermen on his land that Hamilton, another wolf and longtime Herveaux family friend, said Alcide's dad used to let use their land all the time. Finding this suspicious, Sookie agrees, so soon, all the wolves come over. Alcide comes to the door when they all arrive and introduces Jannalynn, who disposed of the bodies after the were war, Annabelle, who is his girlfriend, Ham, a family friend and Basim, his new second in command. Then they go off and hunt. The next morning, Basim tells Sookie that he scented at least one fairy on the property and a vampire and also, he found a body. Well... The body is Debbie Pelt, but the fairy? Maybe it's Claude, but if not, who could it be?
A little later, Claude comes by and asks to live with Sookie for awhile. He's sad about losing his sister and lacking the company of another fairy. After checking in on Amelia and finding out she's probably not coming back, Sookie offers to let Claude stay. He confirms he was not the fairy in her woods and that the last portal to Faery was out there, so maybe it hasn't closed all the way and maybe Dermot, Sookie's Uncle and Jason's fairy lookalike, was the one out there. Claude then tells Sookie that Claudine left her all the money in her bank account with her death.
Sookie goes to work where she talks to Holly and Hoyt a little bit and learns that they are getting married soon and Hoyt wants Jason to be his best man. Then Tara comes in and she's miserably pregnant. Both of these things make Sookie want to talk to Eric, so she calls him. He's got to have a meeting with Victor but he'll send Pam to pick her up after work. In the car on the way to Eric's, they have a conversation that continues after their arrival about Victor and how much they want him to die. It seems he wants to take over Louisiana, at least Eric's job or maybe just become king. He's got a few that are loyal to him, but most are loyal to Eric and also King Felipe.
After this, Sookie explains about what's going on with the werewolves and how Basim found what could only be Debbie Pelt's corpse and smelled fairies on her land that aren't Claude. Uh oh! Eric and Pam explain that the government wants to make Weres and shifters register, but geez, that's terrible. Eric offers to send a newly acquired vampire who is good at tracking to her house in a day or two to see if she can figure out who's been wandering in her woods. Sookie and Eric share some non-sex sexy times and they declare their love for one another before Pam drives Sookie back home.
On their drive back to Bon Temps, they are flagged down by a car on the side of the road. It's Victor's top two supporters and, well, they're there to kill Sookie and probably Pam, too. They explain that Victor thinks Eric will never be subservient to him, especially since he's got lots of people who are loyal to him and since he's got Sookie with her telepathy, so they're gonna kill her. Well, that doesn't happen. Pam gives Sookie a silver dagger and she kills one while Pam kills the other. It takes surprisingly little time. Eric knows through the bond that something terrible has happened but before he can rush to them, Pam calls and tells him to pretend that he was rushing off somewhere else. If anyone else is keeping an eye on him or them, they'll know that Pam and Sookie killed Victor's goons. Can't have that!
The next day at Merlotte's, Sam says Sookie looks like hell warmed over and they're jokey a little bit, then Tanya comes in for a brief moment to let everyone know that she and Calvin Norris are married, and then she leaves. Kennedy, a new employee who just got out of jail for shooting her boyfriend, comes in then. She's very sweet and pretty and tough and the day passes without incident, except if you count Claude coming in and hitting on Terry Bellefleur. Claude came in to tell Sookie the water heater is out and Terry offers to fix it, then Claude awkwardly flirts with Terry, but everything gets fixed and nothing else is weird. Then Sam offers to take Sookie out to dinner so they can catch up, and it's really cute even though they're both dating other people.
The next day, Sookie gets a phone call while she's in the shower and Claude nakedly gives her the phone. It's Remy Savoy and he'd like to bring Hunter to stay with her overnight while he goes to a funeral so she can help teach the little boy about being a telepath. He will bring him by after Sookie gets off work the next day. Sam ends up taking Sookie to dinner that night and they talk about their relationships a little and about what happened to Sookie about the fairy war. Even though they're not a couple, it's clear that they really care about each other.
Remy drops Hunter off and Sookie really enjoys spending time with the kiddo. While he's there, Eric's vampire tracker Heidi, who may or may not be a spy from Felipe or Victor, comes by and lets Sookie know that she found not one but two corpses on her land, one much fresher than the other, and maybe two fairies. That just can't be good. The rest of the time with Hunter goes pretty smoothly and includes playing with Claude at the park. While they're there, Tara comes by and Claude tells her she's having twins, which is a surprise to everyone! Only a couple of bad things happen during Hunter's visit before his dad picks him up. One is that Lattesta comes by to tell Sookie that the FBI is no longer interested in her but he's mad about it because he thinks she’s a freak and got someone to pay the FBI off on her behalf and the second is that Hunter read a random frazzled mom's mind and then talked to her about it. Whoops! Sookie tries to teach the five year old about privacy and hopefully it sticks.
After Remy picks Hunter up, Sookie sunbathes a little while until Eric wakes up. He snuck in overnight because he felt that Sookie was upset and came to be with her as soon as he could. Before Sookie can tell Eric about the corpse, he tells her about vampire regions and politics and then they have sex and brush hair. Then she starts acting really weird, like her brain is broken. She tries to tell Eric about the corpses and ask questions about what he taught her, and they talk about the werewolf registration, but then she goes completely bonkers. Eric is terribly worried, which is 100% reasonable. His maker, Appius Livius Ocella, is right outside the window.
Appius Livius has come to find Eric because another of his vampire children, Alexei Romanov, a child from old Russian royalty, is unwell. Sookie is bonkers because of the blood bond which connects her not only to Eric but to his maker and sibling as well. Their visit is strained because if Appius Livius says jump, Eric has to say how high. Jason shows up not too long after to retrieve the table from the attic and Sookie convinces him to stay. Jason is immediately taken with Alexei who appears to be a young teenager, though he's at least 100 years old. It's a very weird situation all around.
The weird situation gets weirder when Sookie tells Eric that his tracker found a fresh corpse on her property, so then they call Alcide who comes over with Annabelle and Jannalynn and they all go out together to search for it. After a short dig, they unearth the body of Basim, Alcide's werewolf second. That can't be good. Then Annabelle reveals that not only is she with Alcide, but she was also with Basim, so she and Jannalynn fight and Jannalynn is made second in Basim's stead. Annabelle tells them that she was with Basim when he got a phone call that he didn't want her to know about, and then they decide that someone is trying to set Sookie up and that's why whomever killed Basim put him on her property. The werewolves will have a meeting about this and Sookie and Jason will be in attendance. Eric flies Basim's body off the property because Sookie is sure someone put the body there on purpose, then they all go their separate ways for the night. Sookie calls Pam and Bobby to let them know that Appius Livius is in town, which causes them both to freak out a little.
The next morning, Claude tells Sookie that he saw Dermot, but he didn't do anything bad, so they decide that maybe he's just longing for fairy nearness too. Claude really doesn't know why Dermot would have chosen the wrong side in the fairy war, but it's probably because he's just crazy. Soon, Bud Dearborn, Andy Bellefleur and Alcee Beck arrive. They got an anonymous tip that there is a body on her land. Well... Not anymore! They go look, but obviously find nothing. While they're out in the woods, Sookie reads emails and learns from Hailee, Andy's wife, that Caroline Bellefleur is not long for this world and that all she wants before she dies is to see her family bible again. Hailee asks if Sookie will ask Bill about it because their family lines crossed a ways back. Sookie forwards the email to Bill.
A few days later, Bill is on Sookie's doorstep with the bible and asks if she'll accompany him to see his great great relatives. They visit with Caroline for a few minutes and Bill reveals that he is her great grandfather. She's delighted, but Andy isn't and Portia is just neutral, probably because she and Bill had dated for a little while and she's weirded out. Soon after Bill and Sookie leave, Caroline dies. They have the funeral the next night so Bill can attend, and Sookie's sad to see that he's there walking with a cane. The silver poison is really doing him in. She wonders again why he won't try to contact his vampire sibling and then she just does it herself. She sneaks over to Bill's while he's busy with the Bellefleurs and steals a copy of the vampire directory, finds his sibling and sends her an email.
At work after returning the vampire directory, Sookie is feeling all out of sorts. She's kind of scattered and accidentally picks up on their cook, Antoine's, thoughts and it turns out that he's an informant for the FBI. Weiss and Lattesta found him after Katrina and knew that the shifters we're going to reveal themselves soon and that Sookie was weird, so they sent him to work at Merlotte's and tell them everything that happens, but he's actually come to like and respect Sam and Sookie and doesn't want to help the FBI anymore, so Sam lets him stay on. Sookie and Sam talk about his family and how his mom's doing after getting shot, about a family wedding they're going to go to together even though Sam's got a werewolf girlfriend, Jannalynn, and Sookie feels relieved to have a friend. Things go well for the rest of the day, then when Sookie gets home, she sees Jason sitting on her porch. But where's his truck? Oh no... That's not Jason at all. That's Dermot!!
Dermot is crazy but Sookie realizes he's been put under a spell. Being close together makes him more coherent and he tells Sookie that another fairy, a bad one, is in the woods. Then he disappears. That's not good but she can't really do anything about it, so she goes inside and reads newspapers and learns that Were registration isn't going well. And that two gang members have been killed in Shreveport. She also learns that the pack meeting is the next night, so she calls to tell Eric who asks her to come to Fangtasia. It's been a week since she's heard from Eric because of his maker and she's feeling frustrated by that.
When she arrives at Fangtasia, Sookie finds it off that it's not very busy, but it's obviously because of Appius and Alexei. Alexei thinks he should be free from Appius and he shows Sookie the memory of the murder of his entire family. Yikes. Then members of the Bureau of Vampire Affairs come over to say hello, so Eric asks Appius Livius and Alexei to go to his office. The BVA might soon become the Bureau of Vampire and Supernatural Affairs if the Were registration goes through and so they're visiting the area. When they're gone and Sookie and Eric are alone, Eric tells her that Appius wants to put Alexei down because he's a crazy murderer. They came there in the hopes that Eric could help soothe and teach him, but no. He keeps sneaking out and eating gang members. They don't really know what to do and so Sookie leaves. She acts like Eric is choosing to stay away from her and says if he has time later, maybe he could come see her after the werewolf meeting. It's quite annoying, but then Eric says he's going to see her the day after that no matter what because he loves her and she's his wife.
Sookie goes back home, still sulky, and then someone comes to her door. It's Judith Vardaman, Bill's vampire sister. She tells Sookie Lorena's story and how terrible she was. How she was a prostitute until an untrained vampire saw her kill someone and turned her. How she saw Bill and fell in love with him but he didn't like her. How Lorena turned her when Bill realized she looked like his wife. Eventually Lorena left them alone, but Judith has been terrified that she was going to summon her back at any moment to do terrible things. Sookie tells Judith she killed Lorena and she thanks Sookie, kisses her hand, then runs across the cemetery to be with Bill.
The next day, Sookie sees letters on her doorstep. One is from Mr. Cataliades and Diantha. It's a check for $150000 from Claudine's will. The next is from Bill thanking her for contacting Judith because he's healing now with her help, and inviting her over sometime in the next week so they can all talk together. Claude checks in on Sookie after she reads her letters and she asks him about the other fairy in the woods, but he's evasive in his answers. This tells Sookie that that fairy is not a good guy. When she tries to get more information, Claude leaves. Sookie's in a weird mood, so then she decides to go to church, hoping it will make her feel better. Sam is also there, which is weird, but he knows stuff is going down and riots are happening in other towns because of Weres and shifters and he wants people to remember that he's good. After church, Sookie eats lunch with Tara and JB, then Jason calls about the pack meeting the next night. He's going to pick her up after work.
The next day at Merlotte's, Sam is away doing management things and, wouldn't you know it, a riot happens. Sookie and Kennedy, a new bartender who served time in prison for shooting her boyfriend, manage to get the protestor who came in out of the bar, but oh no, there's a whole group outside in the parking lot. Police are called and the mob is dispersed, but Sam is pretty worried and also pissed off. Sookie suggests he visit the mob's church and tell them that he's a normal guy, but he's not normal and he's not a guy and the fact that she suggested that makes him mad. A reporter comes later to ask about the riot, but it also seems he wants to stir up shit, so Sookie valiantly defends Sam and tells the guy to leave if he's going to cause trouble. Sam appreciates Sookie standing up for him, so they're back on good terms now.
Later, Jason comes to pick Sookie up for the pack meeting. When they arrive at Alcide's, Jannalynn ushers Sookie upstairs to see Alcide who tells her she's going to act as the pack's shaman, and she's like, what? He gives her a drug to drink and tells her that former pack shamans were fine after taking this drug and that this stuff just changes their perception of things. After some back and forth, Sookie downs the drug. Oh boy, does it alter her perception all right... She can see emotions as colors! She's led down to the meeting where she discovers that Ham and his lady friend who joined from the pack that tried to take over in the werewar, Patricia, were responsible for Basim's murder and that Annabelle was only guilty of cheating on Alcide with Basim. But why did Ham kill Basim?
After the wolves ran on Sookie's land, Ham saw Basim talking to a fairy and overheard him trying to convince Basim to hide a body on Sookie's land to frame her for murder and have her sent to prison. Okay. What? Basim was going to do this because the fairy offered a lot of money, which Basim needed to get out of trouble with his former pack. Alcide knew he was in trouble and offered to loan him the money, but he wanted to earn it himself, but then Ham wanted to punish Basim for scheming behind Alcide's back and for also screwing his lady, so he killed him and got Patricia to help bury his body on Sookie's land. Wow, that's convoluted. Sookie and Jason leave before the pack really decides what's to be done with the traitorous Weres, but Sookie thinks they're probably all going to be put to death.
Sookie's feeling weird after the drug and vomits in Alcide's front yard, but then she gets a really bad feeling about something happening with Eric, so she makes Jason take her over to his place. They find the house in a shambles and Eric badly injured. Bobby, the daytime guy, is dead and so is another Fangtasia vampire, Felicia. Pam is also badly hurt, but Appius Livius and Alexei are nowhere to be found. Appius Livius asked Eric to stay behind while he went after Alexei who went completely bonkers and started trying to eat everyone. He tried to find Jason because he liked him so much so he followed his scent from Sookie's to his house, but his girlfriend sent him back to Sookie's and that's where he is now.
Before Sookie and Eric get to her house, Eric feels a horrible wrench in his gut, which can't be good. They arrive and find Claude and another fairy fighting Alexei and Appius Livius gravely injured over to the side. Sookie grabs a silver chain that she's had since she saved Bill all the way back in book one and kind of lassos Alexei long enough for Eric to stake him. He's finally been put out of his misery. Sookie takes the stake and goes to kill Appius, but then the other fairy, Coleman, rushes up and tries to kill Sookie. She gets out of the way just in time for him to miss striking her with his fairy sword and so he accidentally kills Appius Livius instead. Coleman hates Sookie because he was going to have a baby with Claudine but she and their baby died protecting Sookie. After he kills Appius, he gets hit by a knife thrown from out of nowhere, then Eric rushes up and kills him. But who threw the knife?
It was Jason who stepped out of the woods! Oh wait, that's Dermot! He struggles to explain what's going on because he's still under a spell. Sookie figured that it was Coleman who bespelled him, but maybe it was Niall who punished him for going against him long ago. Sookie asks Claude if he knows how humans break fairy spells in children's stories and when she tells him a kiss, they both lean in and kiss Dermot, which actually breaks the spell. Claude takes Dermot inside while Sookie talks to Eric. Eric is kind of bereft without his maker, but now he's finally free! He flies home to take care of Pam but promises that he and Sookie will make up for lost time soon. Sookie goes inside and is shocked when Dermot and Claude want her to climb into bed with them, but she realizes they're fairies and they're family, so she snuggles up with them and they all fall peacefully asleep.