Dead Reckoning

Non-Fiction - True Crime
445 Pages
Reviewed on 11/13/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

Dead Reckoning by Caitlin Rother is a true-crime story. Tom and Jackie Hawks are retired, enjoying life on the ocean on their yacht named the Well Deserved. The time has come to sell it and move back to Arizona and one couple seems interested in buying it – Skylar Deleon and his wife Jennifer, one child and another on the way. A sea trial is arranged and nobody ever hears from the Hawks again. Shortly after, the Deleons make an attempt to get the money from the Hawks' bank accounts and that, together with reports from family and friends, prompt the police to begin an investigation. A third body surfaces, linked to the Deleons, along with a strange motive – Skylar used to be called Johnny but is after gender reassignment surgery. The murder of the Hawks couple was meant to give them access to the money they needed to clear their debts and get Skylar his surgery but things very often don’t go to plan. This is an updated edition with lots of new material and the latest developments. Sentenced to death for three murders, Skylar has undergone the transition to a woman using hormones and has been placed in a women’s prison – perhaps the biggest insult of all to the families of the victims.

In Dead Reckoning, Caitlin Rother has written a very detailed account of the investigation into the Hawks' murders. There is a lot of back story about both the victims and the perpetrators although I was very surprised that the victims' stories didn’t come out until the end. However, it was an enjoyable story and it held my attention all the way through. Clearly a lot of research and investigation have gone into this highly detailed account of a heinous crime and it was a gripping book. The addition of the photos was a nice touch, giving us faces to the names and adding even more hard reality to what made for a compelling look into the minds of murderers. Readers are also given a good insight into gender reassignment and the impact it can have on life in prison and the victims' families. Good story, ideal for any fan of true crime.