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Dead Reckoning (Pinnacle True Crime) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"Well researched and a quick, engrossing read, this should be popular with true
crime readers, especially the Ann Rule crowd." --Library Journal, Starred Review

"True crime triumph for Caitlin Rother. . .a grim and bloody tale that directs our attention to the often-shocking complexities of the human animal and the sordid depths to which he may descend. Rother, who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize during her tenure at the Union-Tribune, tells it well, thereby solidifying her star status in the field of true crime." --The San Diego Union-Tribune

"One of the best true crime books for 2011. . .readers will find themselves anxiously turning each page. . .I strongly recommend it." --True Crime Book Reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Pinnacle True Crime
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; 1 edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786022175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786022175
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Her debut crime novel, NAKED ADDICTION, was released in November 2014 by WildBlue Press. NAKED unveils a lethal confluence of sex, drugs and the murder of young beauty school entrepreneurs that oozes into the wealthy beach community of La Jolla. Undercover narcotics detective Ken Goode confronts his own demons as he investigates these homicides, which are complicated by a drug ring, an escort service, a seductive witness, and fears that his missing sister could be the next murder victim.

Her next release will be THEN NO ONE CAN HAVE HER, a story of blood money, sex addiction, manipulation and murder in a small mountain town in Arizona, and a roller coaster ride to justice. This complex legal tale involves a deep love gone wrong between Carol Kennedy, a peaceful, loving mother of two, artist and therapist, and her "soulmate" ex-husband Steve DeMocker, an investment broker. DeMocker's family believes he was wrongly convicted for Carol's murder, which occurred just 35 days after their divorce was finalized. (Kensington/Pinnacle, November 2015)

Rother's latest book is I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU, about the murder of multimillionaire entrepreneur Bill McLaughlin in Newport Beach, Calif., by his femme fatale fiancee, Nanette Johnston Packard, and her NFL-linebacker lover, Eric Naposki. (Kensington, January 2014)

BODY PARTS, the story of Wayne Adam Ford, a serial killer who did the rare deed of turning himself in before he could kill again. (Re-released by Kensington in October 2013))

Rother's most controversial true crime book is LOST GIRLS, a behind the scenes account of the rape and murder of San Diego area teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois by sexual predator John Gardner (Kensington, July 2012).

Her NYT bestseller MY LIFE, DELETED, is an inspirational memoir of former NFL player Scott Bolzan, who is rebuilding his life after suffering a brain injury and losing his entire long-term memory. She co-authored the book with Scott and his wife Joan. (HarperOne, October 2011)

The updated POISONED LOVE (December 2011) adds 20 pages of new developments in the Kristin Rossum case, in which the beautiful San Diego toxicologist was convicted of poisoning her husband with powerful narcotics she stole from her lab at the county Medical Examiner's Office, then staging a suicide scene by sprinkling red rose petals over her husband's body. (Kensington, December 2011)

Before writing books full-time, Rother worked for nearly 20 years as an investigative reporter for daily newspapers, covering issues ranging from addiction, suicide, mental illness and murder to politics and corruption at City Hall and in Congress. She now writes books full-time, teaches writing and works as a book doctor, writing coach, publishing/research/promotions consultant, speaker and event planner.

Rother was a Pulitzer-nominated staff writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune, and also has been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, The Daily Beast and Huffington Post. Her dozens of media appearances as a crime expert include Nancy Grace, the Jay Thomas Show, "Women Who Kill" on E!, the "Snapped" series on the Oxygen Network, numerous shows on Investigation Discovery, "On the Record" with Greta Van Susteren, C-SPAN, and radio and TV shows on various PBS affiliates.

Rother, who earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from University of California Berkeley and her master's in journalism from Northwestern University, teaches narrative non-fiction and creative writing, at UCSD Extension and San Diego Writers, Ink. Please visit her website at

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By MoodyBlue on February 15, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the first book on the Hawks murder and felt this was a story that should have been told in greater detail. More information was needed on Skylar Deleon and his wife Jennifer. With "Reckoning" you get that information and more. You find yourself wondering: Was Skylar born a killer or made one? Would either of them have done something like this without ever meeting the other? These questions come up as you read the chilling and scary tale of the murder of one couple, by another couple -- for their boat and life savings. I guarantee you will not be able to put this book down. The author lays out the story in great detail and keeps you interested from start to finish. "Reckoning" plays out like a horror movie where you can't believe what is coming next.

Tom and Jackie Hawks have it all, a great marriage, a loving family and lots of friends - They worked hard and retired on the sea, living on their yacht and sailing to beautiful places. When their first grandchild arrives, they realize they want to be close to their family so they decide to sell their yacht and buy a house. Enter the greedy Skylar and his misfit wife, Jennifer. Skylar and Jennifer want the boat but don't want to actually buy it. They want to steal it, and believe they can get away with it. Deleon tells the Hawks he is a former child actor from a popular children's television show (he appeared in one episode) and has money to invest. After taking his pregnant wife and toddler to meet the Hawks, the Hawks are convinced they are dealing with a decent young family. Later, Skylar returns with two thugs. What you will read is absolutely terrifying. A must read for any true crime fan and definately for the first time reader of the TC genre.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By TJM on February 8, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Just finished reading this book, "Dead Reckoning" and I was absolutely riveted.
I couldn't put it down.
I read it cover to cover over the weekend.
My kids had to yell at me to "put the book down" so I could play with them.
To the author's point at the end, I only wish the book was longer!
Thank you, Ms. Rother for writing this gripping account.
A must read!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By JohnC on February 9, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I Read "Dead Reckoning", in 2.5 evenings. Was facinated. I live in OC and am also a true crime reader. Caitlin did a fascinating job here. Kept it moving and really told the story of these murderers. Will read her other non-fiction in the future.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Federico (Fred) Moramarco VINE VOICE on March 6, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"Dead Reckoning" is a harrowing book to read, but it will be well worth your taking the time to read it. It's a reminder of just how capable of evil some members of the human species are, just in case you need any reminders. Caitlin Rother has written five "true-crime" non-fiction accounts, and each is more distressing than the next, but she has a gift of taking us into the totality of the brutal experience we're reading about, contrasting the heroes and heroines with the villains and monsters she writes about.

I began becoming quasi-addicted to these kinds of true crime chronicles many years ago in the early 80's after I read Joe McGinness's hypnotic account of the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case in which MacDonald, an Army physician, was convicted of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters. It was a horrific crime, but McGinness's weaving of the tale, withholding information, giving it to us a little at a time, until the full monstrosity of the event is exposed, set a new standard for the genre--though that standard was challenged by Janet Malcolm, in her equally mesmerizing "The Journalist and the Murderer," in which she contends that McGinness acted unethically by leading MacDonald to believe the book would be supportive of his innocence.

The relationship between these murderers and the journalists who write about them is, in fact, a problematic interaction.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E.Paige VINE VOICE on September 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Once again, I saw this story on TV and became mildly interested but this book surpasses everything you may have seen on TV concerning Skylar Deleon! This may be one of the strangest killers to come along in a while!!! All I will say about that is adult diapers, Wet and Wild lipgloss, and I'm a Little Teapot. I disagree with the reviewer that said the characters were hard to follow. This writing is clear, concise, and does an excellent job with those little hangers at the end of sections and chapters that TC readers love. She does not insert herself into the story and she has tons of background info on both Skylar and Jennifer. His childhood was one of the saddest I have ever read about and I did feel some sympathy for him as a kid. Jennifer, however, had a perfect childhood and I am not sure what she was doing with the effeminate Skylar in the first place. Definitely worth the price and a great read. Also, I would be remiss and doing no female a favor if I did not mention, you must Google pictures of Ryan Hawks and the rest of the family. Beautiful people touched by a horrible scum worse than any boat barnacle.
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