Check out our episode here! Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
A couple of weeks have passed since we were last with Sookie. She and Bill are still on the outs, but, even though he cheated on her and planned to leave her to be with his vampire lover, Lorena, she was kind enough to give him back his vampire phone book/scrapbook/database instead of selling it to the highest bidder. He stops by her house one evening to tell her he's going to Peru on the Queen's business and will be gone for two weeks. He hopes they can reconcile when he gets back and tells her that he had no choice but to go to Lorena when she summoned him because she was his maker and he must do as she commands. Well, Sookie staked that bitch and threw her in a swimming pool, so we don't have to worry about her anymore right now. Sookie gives Bill a quick kiss on the cheek and he leaves, hopefully for the entirety of this book.
Now it's New Year's Eve and Sookie is working at Merlotte's. They have a big party and she makes a good amount of tips for the evening, so even though she's working instead of enjoying the festivities with loved ones, it's not so bad. And really, most of her loved ones are at the bar anyway, like her good friend Arlene, her boss/shifter/sometimes crush Sam and her brother Jason and his current girlfriend who, Sookie quickly realizes, is not only a girl but also some kind of Were, but which, she's not really sure. She kind of hints to Jason something about that, but we all know how sweet but dumb Jason is and it takes him a bit for Sookie's clues to sink in.
Sookie finally heads home around two or so in the morning and, on her drive, she sees a shirtless man running down the road. But wait, that's not just any man, it's Eric Northman, stunningly handsome Viking vampire. Sookie pulls over to see just what in the hell is going on, but Eric has no idea because he has no idea his name is even Eric. He has no memories at all. Sookie manages to convince him to get in the car and they drive to her house. Eric is adorably awkward without his memories, very kind and somewhat scared. Sookie welcomes him inside and makes him take off his pants so she can wash them (sure, yeah right, Sookie), leaving him in red bikini briefs, and then washes his feet in a basin and gets him wrapped up in blankets. He doesn't remember anything at all, so she gets him taken care of and shows him to Bill's hidey hole. Instead of getting in, he lays in Sookie's bed in his red panties and holds her hand.
The next day, Jason comes by and Sookie asks him to go buy Eric some clothes. Jason doesn't really know Eric or what he's about, but he goes to the store anyway. While Jason is gone, Eric comes out while Sookie is brushing her hair and borrows the brush to brush his own hair. Sookie wanted to brush his hair, but he did it himself. Sookie contacts Pam and Chow and asks them if they know what the hell is going on and yeah, they do. Eric was attacked by witches. The witches wanted part of Eric's business in Shreveport and decided to, you know, torture that out of him. The witches took his memories and then Pam and Chow tried to fight them and then they disappeared Eric to the road where Sookie found him. And now they have a reward poster out for him. Pam and Chow think that Jason and Sookie are so poor that they'd turn Eric in, but they won't do that. Instead, they decide that Eric should stay hidden with Sookie and Jason steps in and insists that she gets paid a lot for caring for Eric. All the vampires agree.
That night, Sookie catches Eric up on all the vampire gossip and what happened in Jackson with Bill and Lorena and getting staked and all that. The next day, after falling asleep with Eric again, Sookie gets a call from Jason's boss, which is weird, asking where Jason is as if Sookie is his keeper, which is also weird. Jason never misses work, so Sookie goes by his house to see if he's there, hoping that he's just hooked up with some woman or something. His truck is at his house but the door is open which is something he'd never ever do. Detective Alcee is there investigating after Sookie called Sheriff Bud Dearborn. Detective Alcee thinks Sookie is crazy but together they search Jason's property, though he thinks maybe one of the girls that Jason dated last will have some idea where he is, or that, you know, he’s shacked up with one of them. Then they find a spot on the deck over the pond that may or may not be blood. Uh oh. This can't be good.
The next day, Sookie wants to go to Shreveport to see if Carla Rodriguez, a girl who recently dated Jason, or maybe Pam or Chow have seen him, except they're not up yet, but she can't just sit around worrying all day. As she drives off, she is passed on the road by Tara Thornton, who we last saw dating Franklin the Vampire and dirty dancing with Sookie at Club Dead. She’s in a fancy new car and has a beautiful woman, who is also a supe, with her. Tara is concerned about Jason, and Sookie, trying to think of anything to help her find her brother, asks if Tara knows any witches. Maybe local witches will know something about the Shreveport witches who messed with Eric’s mind or if maybe they’re involved with Jason’s disappearance, too. Tara suggests Sookie talk to Holly or Danielle that also work at Merlotte’s. They’re Wiccan, so they might have some ideas. Before leaving, Sookie is properly introduced to the supe with Tara. Her name is Claudine and, though Sookie has no idea what she is, she knows she is very interested in all the supernatural people in Bon Temps.
Sookie heads to the apartment complex where Holly lives. When she gets there, she learns that her son is visiting with his father for a while, so she and Sookie have the apartment to themselves and can chat. Tara gave her a heads up, so she’s ready to talk when Sookie gets there. She explains what she knows about the witches that are in Shreveport. They’re bad, and the leaders, a sister and brother, are ruthless. They’ve had vampire blood, too, which makes them very strong. Some of them are even Weres. Holly says that they’re hiding out in an old business in Shreveport and that when they moved in, they invited all witches in the area to have a sort of summit. Holly wasn’t interested in joining them, but now she’s afraid that they’ll hurt her or her son. Sookie says that won’t happen, then she leaves and heads for Shreveport to see Carla Rodriguez.
The visit with Carla was a bust. Carla hasn’t seen Jason and doesn’t want to be involved with him again. Sookie then heads to Fangtasia with plans to ask the humans that work there if they know anything, but that doesn't really go very well because one of them is dead and the other is in a lot of pain because the witches shortened her leg muscles making her contort in a very uncomfortable way. She says that she'd never tell anyone where Eric is no matter what. Sookie decides to leave Fangtasia and find Alcide. Maybe he will know where Pam and Chow rest for the day and maybe he can get the pack to help track down the witches.
Sookie and Alcide go out to a restaurant and Sookie catches him up on everything that’s happening with the witches and Eric and Jason and suggests that Alcide tell his packmaster since the witches are targeting the local supernatural community. They also talk about Debbie Pelt a little and it turns out, Debbie told Alcide that Sookie and Bill got back together, which is definitely not true and is the reason why Alcide has kept his distance from Sookie and maybe kind of gotten back with Debbie a little bit. Ugh. Debbie. Sookie wonders if Alcide might have been the new love interest in her life if not for Debbie and her lies. Then she starts thinking about having babies with Alcide and whoa… where did that come from. Alcide has given her no indication that he wants to have babies with her. Sookie wishes that Alcide would finally see the truth about Debbie, that she’s a raging bitch, and that he’d find a better woman. Whether that’s her or not… who’s to say.
After they chat at the restaurant, Alcide takes Sookie to the Shreveport packmaster’s house. Colonel Flood listens to Sookie’s tale and then informs them that something odd happened at a planning meeting he had with his higher ups in the pack the night before and this mysterious coven might have something to do with it. He asks them to go see if Adabelle, his second in command, is at her house. It’s possible that she’s gone over to join the coven.
Um. That’s not what happened. Sookie and Alcide stop by Adabelle’s, but they see her mother, who is distraught because her daughter is missing. She asks if they’ll go by the shop that they own, Verena Rose’s Bridal and Formal Shop, to see if Adabelle’s there. Yes. She is, but she’s dead and in pieces. They spot a hand outside in the bushes that may or may not belong to her and the inside is worse. They call the police, and then have to pretend to be getting married to have reason to have come to this shop. After some pretty serious convincing, the detective lets them leave and Alcide takes Sookie back to her car so she can head back to Bon Temps.
When Sookie gets back into town, she runs into Hoyt Fortenberry, Jason’s best friend, at the store and he suggests that maybe Jason has just run off with a girl he met, maybe that one he took to Merlotte’s on New Year’s Eve, Crystal. Sookie asks where she lives and Hoyt says Hotshot, which is an even smaller town than Bon Temps. Sookie decides she’ll give her a call later. Now, she’s got to get back to her house to check on Eric. And boy, does she check on him.
Sookie goes into her old room, where the hidey hole is that Eric’s been staying in during the day, and finds him bare-bottomed putting on jeans. Sookie gets a little overwhelmed with Eric’s buns and his hard nipples and decides she needs to take a cold shower, but conveniently, Eric joins her. They sensually wash each other and then carry their events to the bed. Afterward, Sookie tells Eric about how they met and everything leading up to where they currently are including Sookie’s worry over what happened in Shreveport and her missing brother, then they go at it again, and then maybe again, and then Sookie falls asleep.
The next day, Sookie gets a call from Sam who checks in on her, then she tells him she’s going to go to Hotshot to talk to Crystal about Jason. Sam warns her in not so many words that the folks in Hotshot are strange. They’re inbred and really, really different. Sookie heads to Crystal’s house and asks if she’s seen Jason and her answers are less than truthful. She says she doesn’t know anything about it and that she has rights and she doesn’t have to talk about it. That’s definitely odd, but then a man comes in and he seems like he’s in charge. His name is Calvin and Sookie thinks he's the packmaster of Hotshot.
Calvin convinces Crystal, who turns out to be his niece, to tell Sookie what she knows. She says she was with Jason the night he went missing and was at his house when he had to come see Sookie. When he got back, he didn't come inside and then she heard something and maybe smelled a shifter but didn't go outside to check because she is too inbred to change when it's not the full moon and she's weak. She says she's pretty sure something carried Jason off into the woods but she doesn't know anything else. Sookie leaves after this and Calvin offers to take care of her now that her brother is missing and explains that the people in Hotshot are looking for outsiders to join them on account of all the inbreeding. Sookie politely declines his invitation and realizes that Crystal was probably trying to get pregnant by Jason and no one seems to have any issue with this. Sookie sees another resident coming out of a shed and then he immediately turns around and goes back inside. She decides that the people in Hotshot must not like strangers, so she leaves and heads back to Bon Temps. Along the way, she thinks about the Weres in that little town trying to breed out and not be Weres anymore at all because they're too weak when they transform and are too weird to be out in public like a normal person.
Back at Merlotte's, Sookie catches Sam up on Hotshot then overhears two police officers, Kevin and Kenya, thinking about getting police dogs in from a neighboring town to sniff out Jason. Then two people come into the bar, Marnie and Mark Stonebrook, though Sookie knows Marnie prefers to be called Hallow because it sounds more spiritual. They are definitely the witches who stole Eric's memories and maybe kidnapped Jason. Holly also happens to be working at the bar this evening and she quickly disappears, hiding from these two. They want to hang up missing posters for Eric and they ask Sam if he knows the vampire. He calls Sookie over and they have a very fake conversation about not having any idea why Eric would ever be in Bon Temps. They say they've heard another vampire lives in the area, referring to Bill, and then ask where he lives. Sookie has to tell them, and they leave shortly thereafter to see if Eric is hiding at Bill's since he's out of town. Sam lets Sookie leave early so she can go make sure Eric is safe and Bill's house isn't ransacked.
Sookie gets home and is met outside by Eric. She tells him he has to hide because the witches are next door but oh no, he can't do that. He puts Sookie on his back and they run across the cemetery to Bill's. They stop not too far away and listen as the witches begin to break in, but stop when they realize someone is nearby and shift into wolves. Eric seemingly disappears by flying into the air and then Dean the dog is there protecting Sookie instead. More wolves show up and there's a massive fight followed by the sound of a wolf getting hit by a car. Eric returns and says he went after the car but they got away.
The Shreveport wolf pack is there, led by Colonel Flood who shifts back into a human. One of his wolves, Maria-Star, was hit by the witches as they sped away. Sookie tells Eric to get her car and together he and Colonel Flood get the injured woman, previously wolf, into the backseat of the car. Sookie takes her to the hospital and makes up a story to the police who meet them there that she found Maria-Star on the side of the road after having been dumped out and hit by someone she can't remember. The story is accepted and Sookie heads back toward Merlotte's to meet up with everyone to discuss what happened. Unfortunately though, Sookie falls asleep on her drive.
Luckily Claudine pops in and wakes her up before anything bad can happen. They get to Merlotte's and are met by a large group of supes, some Sookie knows and others she does not including Colonel Flood and Alcide, Eric and Pam and Sam. There's another vampire, Gerald, and a bunch of other wolves. Claudine is pretty much the center of attention though, especially when she reveals to everyone that she is a fairy. The vampires are particularly drawn to her, but then we finally get an idea of why everyone is here. The wolves want to know about Maria-Star, obviously, and they definitely want to kill the witches since they killed Adabelle and hurt Maria-Star. The vampires are also after the witches because they drained another vampire and threatened to drain another one every day that they don't have Eric. They decide that they want Eric so much because his blood would sell for a lot if they were able to drain him, plus they could take over his businesses and essentially Shreveport.
The meeting continues until the vampires nearly eat Claudine because they're so attracted to her, so Colonel Flood takes her outside and learns more from her. She's been to the witches' coven and knows exactly where they are. Together they make a plan to go to war with them. The wolves will gather up any wiccans who are not involved and then they'll all attack. Debbie walks in after this and sleazes on Alcide, then everyone disperses. Sookie and Eric go home and have sex.
The next day, there's a search party to look for Jason. Detective Alcee checked the blood that was on Jason's deck and it turned out to be panther blood, so they are on the lookout for either Jason or this probably endangered panther. Everyone in town is there, plus Crystal, Calvin and the shed-man, Felton, from Hotshot. They comb through the woods behind Jason's but don't find anything except for a wild razorback. Crystal gets gored by the razorback, then it's shot by another of the search party. Felton halfway shifts at the excitement and he and Calvin carry Crystal away. Still no sign of Jason. When Sookie gets home, she hears a message from Pam on her answering machine. The vampires and Weres and Wiccans are teaming up to attack the witches later that night. But how can Sookie go and help with Jason still missing?
Well, she does end up going. But she and Eric have sex first. But then they leave to meet up with Pam and everyone else for a planning session. On the way, they talk about the potential future that they could have if Eric never got his memories back. He offers to stay with Sookie, to love her, to protect her, but she knows, deep down inside, that that would be a fake Eric. He wouldn’t be his true self anymore and she doesn’t think she could take that away from him. When they arrive, everyone is there, you know, because they were late on account of the sex. The war party includes Pam, Chow, Gerald, Bubba, a couple other vampires, Colonel Flood, Alcide, a few other Weres, several Wiccans and freaking Debbie Pelt. Also Bill lurks out of the shadows, too, apparently returned from Peru. As much as we hate Debbie and Bill, something good comes from them being there, however. Bill reveals to everyone that Debbie took part in his torture while he was kidnapped in Mississippi and she also tried to kill Sookie, which leads to Alcide abjuring her.
Sookie is given a job in the attack. She and Bubba will sneak up to the building where the witches are rumored to be located and Sookie will count the brains to see how many bad witches they will have to face. As they walk toward the building, both Sookie and Bubba begin to smell something strange which Bubba calls stay-away magic. The witches have spelled the area to keep everyone away, but Sookie and Bubba manage to get close enough to the building to count the brains and discover there are fifteen witches inside. She sends Bubba back to Pam to relay that information to her, but then she’s grabbed from behind!
Sookie’s captor is none other than Holly from Merlotte’s. Hallow forced her into helping by telling her that she’d curse her son if she didn’t. Sookie convinces Holly to leave, and as she does, she tells Sookie that she hopes they kill all the witches inside, minus three that are also forced to be there. Sookie was supposed to leave, too, but now with these three innocents inside, she’s having trouble deciding what to do. Then Bill shows up. And freaking Debbie Pelt. Bill told Debbie to stay away, but she wants to prove to Alcide that she’s worthy, so Sookie suggests she shift into her animal form and help rescue the three inside who were forced to be there. She can’t shift though, on account of being abjured, but we do learn that she turns into a fox, which Sookie thinks is fitting.
As the battle draws nearer, Sookie gets an idea and finds Bubba again. She tells him to ask the Wiccans to put a spell on the three inside that they don’t need to kill, and he does. Pam doesn’t like this idea though because Bubba was supposed to break down the door and get everyone inside because, as he’s suffered brain damage, he’s able to enter places that other vampires can’t without invitation. Now Sookie has to go inside and invite all the vampires in. This is not going to go well.
The battle is terrifying. The Wiccans make the non-evil witches glow, so they are able to be rescued, well, two of them are. One was killed before Sookie could get to her. Then the witches do their own spell and fill the room with a thick fog. It’s difficult to see the difference between friend and foe, or to see anything really. Sookie is attacked and released by several witches and Weres, but then the Wiccans make it rain inside, which clears up the fog. As Sookie tries to find her way outside, she’s attacked by a half-shifted Debbie, but then Debbie is grabbed around the throat by a vampire and Sookie gets knocked out of the way by a wolf.
The wolf doesn’t hurt Sookie, so she moves on and finds Pam tackling Hallow to the ground. She’s got her pinned, but then one of her witch friends runs up and begins to drink from Pam, nearly draining her. Sookie, with only a small knife in hand that she found, runs up to attack Pam’s attacker. He was so frenzied from Pam’s blood that when Sookie approached, holding the knife to his neck, he lunged for her and ended up stabbing himself in the throat and dying almost instantly. With Hallow pinned, that pretty much ends the fight and Sookie and her friends appear to have won. Sookie was a little banged up, and Chow and a werewolf were killed, but everyone else on their side seemed to make it out in one piece.
Sookie heads home after the battle to rest and Eric goes with her. When they walk in the kitchen, they are met by freaking Debbie Pelt. She pulls out a gun and shoots, trying to kill Sookie, but Eric steps in front of her and takes the bullet, which is really nothing to him. Sookie reaches over behind her water heater and pulls out a shotgun, pumps it, and shoots Debbie in the chest. Eric takes her body out and buries it somewhere in the woods and then drives her car off somewhere to hide it while Sookie cleans up all the gore.
Sookie falls into an exhausted sleep after all the excitement and wakes up the next afternoon at 4:00. Eric wakes up a little bit later, but when Sookie goes to him, his memories have been restored. He doesn’t remember any of the loving and caring time he spent with Sookie, so she pretends that nothing happened between them. He jokingly asks if they made love, and she cleverly says does that seem likely?. Pam arrives shortly thereafter and, while the vampires are talking, Sookie sneaks out and goes to work.
Merlotte’s isn’t busy because it has started snowing outside. Sam asks if Sookie has gotten any word about Jason, but unfortunately she hasn’t. The witches didn’t have him, the vampires didn’t have him, and Sookie just doesn’t know where he could have gone. After Merlotte’s closes, Sam and Sookie talk about Calvin Norris, who came in earlier in the day. Sam suggests that maybe Sookie should take up with him, but Sookie says, no, she’s not going to take up with a werewolf just because he asks. Uh… Sookie… Calvin and the rest of the Hotshotters aren’t werewolves… they’re werepanthers. WHAT?!
Sookie immediately gets into a flurry because the print found on Jason’s dock was a panther print. She’s shocked that Sam didn’t know that, and then they talk about how Jason dated Crystal who was on the search for him and that Felton, the shed-guy Sookie saw who was also at the search, is in love with her. WHAT. They immediately take off for Hotshot to talk to Calvin because they’re pretty sure that Felton and Crystal had something to do with Jason’s disappearance.
Calvin didn’t know that they found a panther print at Jason’s either, so he, Sam and Sookie head over to Felton’s to question him. Turns out, Felton kidnapped Jason and now has him tied up in his shed, the very same shed that Sookie saw him dart into the first time she was in Hotshot. Jason is there and alive, but he’s been bitten… a lot. It turns out, Felton, jealous of Crystal dating outside the family, took Jason and attempted to turn him so Crystal wouldn’t like him anymore. Now, probably, at the full moon, Jason will no longer be himself, but will turn into a half-man, half-panther sort of creature. Sookie tells Calvin as she and Sam are leaving with Jason that Jason will need his help when the full moon comes and he agrees.
Finally everything is wrapping up. Sookie brings Jason home and is pleased to see she has a check waiting for her in her kitchen from Eric for $50000. She then has to tell the police they can stop searching for Jason. Andy Bellefleur and Alcee Beck come to her house and of course try to tie Jason in with the also recently discovered to no longer be missing-Eric and Maria-Star’s hit and run, but they finally let it go. Sookie takes Jason home afterward and then, when it gets dark, Eric comes by. He is troubled and believes that there is stuff that neither Pam nor Sookie are telling him about his time spent without his memories, but Sookie doesn’t reveal anything to him. They talk a little about why Hallow wanted to take over Shreveport, because her witch parents were imprisoned there and none of the supernaturals helped them get out. Before he can leave, a werewolf comes by asking after freaking Debbie Pelt. The wolf tells Sookie that they have to check if Sookie knows anything about Debbie’s disappearance since no one has seen her since the battle and Sookie was there. Luckily, they don’t suspect Sookie of any wrongdoing, and really, they don’t care that she’s missing at all.