Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dead Reckoning by Caitlin Rother

Tom and Jackie Hawkes, both divorced, met and married. With a happy family life and a love for boating, the southern Californian couple had nothing but the rest of their lives to look forward to...until they ended up tied to their own boat's anchor and thrown overboard alive.

This is the story of how this loving couple's lives tragically intersected with those of Skylar and Jennifer Deleon's. Skylar, a former child star, was charismatic and charming. He doted on his pregnant wife who, along with her family, seemed to return the sentiment. Jennifer, raised as a "good Christian girl" was excited to begin a family with her husband. They seemed like a young couple with nothing but the rest of their lives to look forward to...until they met the Hawkes'.

It's not really how these two couples meet and interact that is the crux of this book. It's more a story of deception, double lives, and the power of denial. It's the story of how one man can manipulate those around him to see what he wants them to see.

But Jennifer isn't a complete victim in Skylar's deceit. Although an unlikely accomplice, Jennifer is more complicit in the Hawkes' deaths than many people might believe. Was she also deceived by Skylar? Or was she just a depraved as he?

Rother explores Skylar and Jennifer's chemistry and how two people with very different upbringings can come together in a toxic way. She also delves into Skylar's past, his family, and the fringe activities he kept secret so well, until the Hawkes' death started unraveling it all.

If you're a true-crime fan, this is a solid read. It's fascinating to learn how truly depraved people can be. And knowing these events occurred in my neck of the woods made the events even more surreal. A solid recommend.

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