A review of Charlaine Harris’s ‘From Dead to Worse’ chapter eighteen


It’s two days later and Sookie is walking on sunshine.

Love that girl.

She’s at Merlotte’s, and she’s waiting on Jason and his work crew. She stops to talk to Alcee Beck’s previously unmentioned cousin Dove, whose sister she went to school with. Jason asks if she can pop in to see Crystal on her way home from work, as he’s going to pick up some chain-link to make a playground for the baby. She agrees, and heads on over after her shift.

The front door was unlocked, as most front doors were during the daytime. The family room was empty.

“Hey, Crystal, it’s Sookie!”

I heard a muffled sound, a moan. It came from the biggest bedroom, the one my parents had used, which lay across the family room and to my right.

Oh, shit, she’s miscarrying again, I thought, and dashed to the closed door. I flung it open so hard it bounced off the wall, but I didn’t pay a bit of attention, because bouncing on the bed were Crystal and Dove Beck.

oh holy shit

I was so shocked, so angry, and so distraught that as they stopped what they were doing and stared up at me, I said the worst thing I could think of. “No wonder you lose all your babies.”

my god i am literally stunned. she is pregnant what the hell

It was really unfortunate that Calvin pulled up behind me and leaped from his truck before it stopped.

“My God, what’s wrong?” he said. “Is Crystal okay?”

she won’t be i get this awful feeling that she won’t be remember there was that promise if they did anything wrong i think it involves physical punishment

maybe they’ll kill her after she gives birth

[Jason]’d known good and well that since he had business in Clarice, Dove and Crystal would probably take the opportunity to have a tryst. He’d planned on me being dutiful and dropping by. It was just too big a coincidence that Calvin had shown up. He must have also told Calvin to check on Crystal. So there was no deniability, and no chance of hushing this up – not since Calvin and I both knew. I had been right to worry about the terms of the marriage, and now I had something entirely new to worry about.

Sookie goes home, feeling pretty stunned and shocked, as I am. That’s…. my god, is Crystal low. Her husband (quite rightly) is pissed off by her not paying the bills, so she decides to fuck one of his employees, in their bed, and while pregnant. Tomorrow night, there’ll be a ceremony to establish and dole out her punishment.

The next night, Sookie drives out to Hotshot.  The whole community has gathered to witness the events.

“We people of the fang and claw are here because one of us broke her vows,” Maryelizabeth read. “At the marriage of Crystal and Jason, werepanthers of this community, they each promised to remain true to their marriage vows, both in the way of the cat and the way of the human. […] Now that Crystal has broken her vows, a fact witnessed by the surrogates, her uncle has offered to take the punishment since Crystal is pregnant.”

I think it possibly says too many things about me that I would have ruled to wait until Crystal has her baby and then dole out the fucking punishment. I would not be willing to stand in for her. She knew what she was doing, she ought to take the punishment.

“Since Calvin takes Crystal place, Sookie, do you choose to take Jason’s place?”

No, why should she? It’s nothing to do with her.

“Either you or Jason has to break Calvin’s finger,” she said simply. “In fact, since Crystal broke the faith completely, you have to break two, at least. More would be better. Jason gets to pick, I guess.”

I think Crystal should get that punishment. She’s pregnant, not an invalid. She’s got enough strength and energy to bounce around on Dove Beck’s dick, I think she can cope with two broken fingers.

I would make a ruthless were-mountain lion.

“If Calvin stands in for Crystal, I want Sookie to stand in for me,” [Jason] told Maryelizabeth. I never thought I could hate my own brother, but at that moment I found out it was possible.

You spineless son of a bitch. What the hell! You’re making your own sister break the hand of your wife’s uncle, because you haven’t the balls to do it yourself?? I’ve never been Jason’s biggest fan, but …. I think I dislike him as intently as I hate Bill, and that’s a lot.

And then Maryelizabeth produced a brick. She held it out to me.

After I’d looked at it for a long minute, I said to Jason, “I don’t want to talk to you again. Ever.” I faced Crystal. “I hope you enjoyed it, bitch,” I said, and I turned as quick as I could and brought the brick down on Calvin’s hand.”

 

 

I am stunned. This may be the finest chapter Ms Harris has ever written. It’s … got so much tension and emotion contained in the pages that it’s sloshing out over the sides. Man, I might need a while to get over that.

Dottie’s video channel, where she reviews romance novels, movies, and the TV show Supernatural.

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