Eighteen months ago, Aleut Kate Shugak quit her job investigating sex crimes for the Anchorage DA’s office and retreated to her father’s homestead in a national park in the interior of Alaska. But the world has a way of beating a path to her door, however remote. In the middle of one of the bitterest Decembers in recent memory ex-boss — and ex-lover — Jack Morgan shows up with an FBI agent in tow. A Park ranger with powerful relatives is missing, and now the investigator Jack sent in to look for him is missing, too.
Reluctantly, Kate, along with Mutt, her half-wolf, half-husky sidekick, leaves her wilderness refuge to follow a frozen trail through the Park, twenty thousand square miles of mountain and tundra sparsely populated with hunters, fishermen, trappers, mushers, pilots and homesteaders. Her formidable grandmother and Native chief, Ekaterina Shugak, is — for reasons of her own — against Kate’s investigation; her cousin, Martin, may be Kate’s prime suspect; and the local trooper, Jim Chopin, is more interested in Kate than in her investigation. In the end, the sanctuary she sought after five and a half years in the urban jungles may prove more lethal than anything she left behind in the city streets of Anchorage.
State of suspense: listen to more Alaskan mysteries in the Kate Shugak series.
©2011 Dana Stabenow (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Saw this, the first in the Kate Shugak series, on Audible for $1.99, and snapped it up. Even though I'd read the book long ago I decided to start the series over again and I'm so glad I did. The experience of listening to the story, as opposed to reading it, was great fun. I'd forgotten about Ms. Stabenow's sharp wit and her special talent for painting her people and places into in my mind.
Of course Kate is my favorite character, with Mutt a close second, but each of them leaves an impression. Perhaps the fact that I've read all the books in the series contributes to that -- the feeling that I know them all as old friends with very different strengths.
I really enjoyed Kate's exchanges with Bobbie and with the bar owner, whose name escapes me because I'm having a senior moment. Interesting. Even though I can't remember the name I can see the bar owner's face in my mind's eye. I love the wit, the dry sarcasm, the literary allusions. The crying comes later with this series, but I chuckled and laughed out loud as I listened yesterday. Not gonna tell you where, but, oh Jack!! I'd forgotten that about you!
While I think the narrator did a good job overall, I felt she didn't do justice to the damage Kate's voice had suffered.
Say something about yourself!
This wasn't a bad listen. It was a good quick murder mystery, maybe a little predictable but still fun. I enjoyed the characters and am interested to see how Kate continues in AK. The narrator was great, I haven't been to Alaska, but her accent sounded on par with NatGeo/Discovery shows showcasing Alaskan natives. Worth the listen!
So, I Read This Book Today . . .
When I noticed A Cold Day For Murder was only $1.99 at Audible, I went back to look at my review here on my site. . . and realized, there isn’t a review here. Hum… Being a HUGE lover of Dana Stabenow, I am somewhat flummoxed that I only have a review for Fire and Ice, which is from her Liam Campbell series, reviewed on site. Well, fiddle. There are nearly 950 reviews on Amazon, so my review won’t make that much difference I suppose – and seeing as how I have over 500 reviews on Amazon (yea!) I am not going to go through pages and pages to see if I wrote reviews before I started SIRTBT. So, here is a short review (Me? A Short Review?! Will wonders never cease?)
Kate Shugak is one of my favorite female characters of all time. Tough and determined, she is also damaged and flawed – in other words, a very real, very human character. Kate is Aleut, raised by her grandmother Ekaterina, a former Tribal Council member and still chief. She grew up in The Park, “twenty million acres, almost four times the size of Denali National Park but with less than one percent of the tourists.” Occupied by Native Aleut and a collection of oddballs and “stay away from them or you will get your ass shot – and you might be dinner as well” types, The Park is a wonderland – and a cold, heartless land where the slightest misstep could mean a brutal death.
The story itself has been well described by others, and you get the gist from the summary. What I want to tell you about is the world of Kate and her tribe. The Aleut have suffered for centuries, first at the hands of the Russians, then the Americans, and Stabenow weaves that story in to her narrative – giving you a good idea of just why the tribal members could really care less that a rich little white boy has gone missing – good riddance to the Outsider with the rich and powerful daddy.
What is truly breathtaking about Stabenow’s writing is her descriptive narrative – her true love for her native land shines out through her writing. And being a huge Marguerite Gavin fan, I am always pulled into all of the Kate stories.
Book Two, A Fatal Thaw, is now on Audible, and I can finally add it to my collection! There are 20 books in the series now (Book 11, The Singing of the Dead, is still not available on 271297Audible, but hopefully whatever is keeping it unavailable will be corrected soon.)
I will warn you – if you like the first book, they are like potato chips – you can’t listen to just one!
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (mystery) - A Cold Day for Murder introduces Kate Shugak, a native Alaskan and previous investigator for the Anchorage DA's Office who has retired to a quiet and peaceful life deep in the Alaskan wilderness. She is asked by Jack, her ex lover/boss, to conduct an investigation into the disappearance of two men who were last seen in her area. What follows is the typical murder investigation you've heard many times, but this one is set in Aleut territory with descriptive imagery of crisp winter mornings, snowmobile rides and encounters with wildlife. The investigation is interesting and the conclusion is somewhat unexpected. I enjoyed the author's treatment of the "past" between Jack and Kate.
PERFORMANCE - I have commented about this narrator before. She has a lovely voice, but she seems to lose her place while reading and then tack on the rest of a sentence as an afterthought. It doesn't happen enough to detract from the experience, but you will notice it when it happens.
OVERALL - This is the first book in the series, but it can stand alone. It is short (5 1/2 hours) and enjoyable, but there's nothing special about it except the Alaskan scenery. There is cursing and some violence, but not a lot. I don't plan to continue the series, except maybe an occasional book that may come on sale.
Kate - she's independent and loves the outdoors, yet has needs like everyone else
I liked this book because I really grew to like Kate and I loved hearing about Alaska and the people and the customs - hearing in entertaining ways that were woven into the story. I ended and bought the 2nd in the series so that says something!
It is a great book, any book with Kate in it is a good read
No, I don't think so.
Her characters are interesting only from the anthropological standpoint: they project a clear and crude image of life among Alaskan Indians. The whole story revolves around her main character, but she doesn't pull her weight. So the story drags out, and it doesn't help that Stabenow's style is full of clichés.
I would prefer Jean Smart, a wonderful narrator.
Report Inappropriate Content